YOGA FOR ALL
I am not a naturally flexible person. I have not always been comfortable bouncing around in yoga leggings – in fact in school I would fake any illness imaginable to escape having to put on lycra cycling shorts and endure any form of physical activity.
If anyone had told me ten years ago that I would one day decide to devote my life, my time, my very early mornings and my heart to yoga and wellness I probably would have sniffed their drink and accused them of extreme inebriation.
Truth is, the visible part of yoga – the Instagrammable, gorgeous, draw droppingly gymnastic part of yoga which we call ‘asana’ – is just the tip of the life-altering iceberg.
Unfortunately it is also often the part which makes the world of yoga – a community dedicated to acceptance, non-competitiveness, peace and appreciation – seem like a daunting and exclusive members club; which is probably why it took me until my early twenties to tentatively tip-toe into a yoga studio.
Fact is: yoga is for EVERYBODY. Even me with my lycra aversion and very inflexible hips. Touching your toes or raising your leg above your head are all just details on the fancy wrapping paper – but it’s the gift within which really matters!
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Whilst discovering yoga at home in the UK, and through exploring the yoga community further on my travels, I have been very lucky to practice at many different studios and meet hundreds of lovely yogis. The main question I am always asked at the beginning of every class is:
‘What type of yoga do you practice?’
This is where I am always reminded of my wonderful teacher Marianne Wells, whose Yoga Teacher Training programme I was so lucky to experience (and which you can read lots more about here). Marianne teaches Really Real Yoga – a way of life beyond ‘asana’ which helps us to forget the limitations and fears of our clouded minds, and open our hearts to the world around us. In her own beautiful words:
“If my heart could do my thinking and my head could truly feel, then I would know what is really real.”
– Marianne Wells
There are hundreds of different forms of yoga asana practice, but fundamentally they all come down to the same intention – to discover your true Self and live honestly and joyfully through playing, nurturing, stretching and forgiving the body and mind.
Of course I like to push myself, I like to work my bones and feel that I am exploring and subtly pushing the limitations of my body. I like to feel healthy and strong. I’m one of those mentalists that enjoys sweating.
But some days I roll out my mat and all I can achieve is sitting on my knees and breathing. I’ve blubbed my way through half an hour of sun salutations on low days, and laughed through a couple of hours of playing with acro yoga with my boyfriend on the best days.
A yoga practice should be just as unique as the yogi – every posture is different for every person. Every day is different from the next. Life is a constant evolving change and yoga helps us to accept the next turn in the road.
So this is the yoga which I practice and endeavour to teach.
Really Real Yoga.
“Yoga allows you to discover a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.”
– B. K. S. Iyengar
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