I’ve always had an interest in yoga. I’m not sure what has drawn me to it, but it’s always been in the back of my mind. I’ve read a lot on how yoga benefits mental health, maybe that’s it. When Oliver started preschool I decided that now was my time so I had a look online and found a local class. My social anxiety nearly stopped me but I went and I loved it. That was just before Easter and I’ve been almost every week since. I’ve also branched out and started practicing at home where possible.
Yoga Benefits – Mind
One of the things that stood out to me during my first session was how relaxed I was after the session. Although I was still a bit anxious, I relaxed enough to be dazed. It was a time to be me. Time for peacefulness. For quiet and focus. Being a mum there is rarely a time to stop and breathe. Focusing on my own well-being felt like a huge step to take.
One of the most unexpected benefits has been the sense of pride when I’m complimented on my form or reach a milestone. A couple of weeks ago my heels touched the mat in downward facing dog for the first time. I’ve also been complimented on my planks and my ‘twistiness’.
Yoga Benefits – Body
I’ve never been the ‘exercising’ type. I’m the one my friends hate because I eat and don’t get fat. The only problem is, I feel how unfit I am compared to them. My body aches, I get tired and if we had to run for a bus they’d be trying to convince the driver to wait for me! I tried the gym at uni, but it just didn’t interest me. I tried the 30 day shred but the high impact of it hurt my knees. Exercise was just not for me.
The gentleness of yoga is really great for me – there’s not too much pressure on my knees and I only get as deep in to a pose as I can. If a pose is too much I can go down to childs pose or relaxation, but each week I’m seeing myself get further and deeper in to the poses.
Despite it being gentle I’ve actually been sweating too and can feel the effects in my body. I’ve had that post workout ache and I feel like I’m generally more physically able.
I haven’t yet seen a change in my body shape, but I’ve no doubt if I were to really push myself and practice more often that I’d see the change.
One of the hugest factors is that I get to do something that is just for me. Being at home with Oliver is amazing, but I never get any time to myself. I never get to just sit quietly with my own thoughts. If Oliver isn’t here I’m constantly thinking about what else I need to do and find it difficult to relax. When I’m doing yoga I am focusing on the poses. Focusing on balance and stretching. Focusing on what’s inside of me and feeling great. Feeling proud of my achievements. Feeling calm and relaxed and being alone in my thoughts.
Since moving down to Hertfordshire to be with R in 2011 I have made a few friends through work. However since moving from Hemel to Welwyn Garden City I’ve finally felt settled enough to really think about ways to make friends. I’ve been trying much more to talk to preschool parents and my yoga class has been amazing. Every week we go to the local cafe for a tea/coffee and chat. I stay there until it’s time to collect Oliver from preschool.