When I first heard this advice from my yoga instructor, “stay on your own mat,” I wasn’t sure what she meant. Now I have come to love and put into practice that advice. To me it means, don’t compare to, compete with or judge others. Just listen to your body and work on you. This is one of the many mental benefits I have found with yoga.
Yoga is a hidden secret to mental awareness, great physical challenges, injury prevention. I continue to discover new reasons that I am a yogi. I decided to try yoga because I am also a runner and was getting injured and always felt sore. I went to yoga to help my tight, fatigued muscles. In the six years I have practiced, I have had only one injury (plantar fasciitis) and my balance, flexibility and self acceptance has improved. I love it.
As we grow older we loose our flexibility and balance. I admire the seniors in every class I have attended that make an effort to keep their bodies moving. I have learned to breathe through sensation (code for difficult poses), taking my mental focus to a new level. I have used that mental focus in my running, parenting, and life. I have learned to calm down by listening to my breath.
There are many types of yoga and which one do I like the best? All of them. I have my favorite teachers, but I always try something new to learn and challenge myself. Two great sites to educate yourself about different types of yoga are Womens Health magazine and Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal also offers on free online yoga class per week. You can also search on your cable network for yoga classes on the TV. I suggest you just start somewhere. Really all that you need is comfortable clothes and a small space to practice. A yoga mat helps because it prevents slipping. A great place to get an affordable mat is TJ Maxx. Do yoga in bare feet.
Sometimes I will watch an online practice or TV yoga class to see what the instructor is doing before I do the yoga myself. This helps me to focus on the pose we are doing and improve my posture and breathe during the practice.
Yoga is referred to as the “practice” of yoga. This is because you are never done learning or perfect in your pose. We are all practicing. Every yoga class ends with everyone in the class saying the word, “Namaste”. This means “the light in me bows to the light in you” or we are all equal and we all have goodness within. I challenge you to try yoga in any form and appreciate the mental benefits as well as the physical. I would love your questions and feedback. I am not a certified instructor, all of my experience comes from practice. I love to learn and try new things, so please share. Thanks!!
Namaste – Jeanette Hamilton