Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Day 128 - Yoga

“Yoga is a system of philosophy that originated in India 5,000 years ago. The Sanskrit word yoga is translated as 'union' between mind, body and spirit.

In the West, the most widely taught form of yoga is Hatha Yoga with classes offering students exercises to stretch and flex the body, develop breath awareness, relaxation and sometimes meditation.

Asanas (yoga postures) strengthen and tone the body and improve the flow of energy - regulating physical systems of the body and breath, and stilling the mind for meditation.

The objective in asana work is not how far you can stretch or contort your body, but to combine stability (stira) with ease/relaxation (sukha). Simple breathing techniques are also taught to develop awareness and relaxation of the breath.

Yoga offers a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit, which can provide us with the ‘tools’ to cope with the challenges of daily life. Yoga can also complement medical science and therapy for specific conditions.”*


Yoga has become a bit too much of a trend in the past few years for my liking, but the health benefits associated with it cannot really be put into question.

My sister has spoken highly about yoga and suggests I give it a go. I can barely reach my knees when my legs are straight, and thought that a yoga class would no doubt be a challenge.

I further realized this in class, when the sixty year old woman next to me was hugging her toes as her left leg casually rested around her neck, whilst I - nearly forty years her junior - was struggling to reach my ankles.

Despite these difficulties, the first lesson proved to be a success. Today I went to the second class, this time taught by a young Indian fellow.

During the unwinding session at the end of the class, we were told to imagine our bodies gently floating upwards, towards the ceiling, and beyond, over the rooftops and towards the sky.

I find it hard as it is to relax and unwind, and the teacher’s strong Delhi accent today made it no easier to take the whole class very seriously. He told us to drift away and defy gravity... “And now you see a green parrot coming towards you” - that did it. I bit my lip and longed for the class to end so I could snigger at myself in the changing rooms.

The yoga classes have therefore been entertaining, and certainly useful. No improvement on the headache front, but at least I know I am doing something healthy for both the body and the mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment