Over six years ago I embarked upon the journey of a lifetime, and I’m still on it. I had always wanted to practice yoga, there was to me a palpable allure, the sense of an ancient wisdom and feeling of wholesomeness that accompanied even the contemplation of it. As fate would have it my first formal class was in a Bikram Yoga studio. Being a beginner I really didn’t know what to expect, which was probably a good thing because I was so inflexible that had I known what was coming I may have run out the door before the class even began!
Back in those days the first half of a class felt like running up the side of a steep mountain, and the second half like running down the other side. And not just any mountain either – I’m taking about a mountain in the tropics (Bikram Yoga is practiced in studios heated to 40 degrees Celsius). Towels are placed over yoga mats, which initially I assumed was for comfort, however the towels have a more practical purpose, by the end of a class they are totally soaked with sweat, as if they had been dipped in a bucket of water.
While to this day I still find myself talking about the heat, and still find that the ultimate flexibility of a hands-on-the-floor standing back bend eludes me there are some important lessons which my yoga practice has taught me which I would like to share with you.
Yoga is really, really good for you. Irrespective of what is going on for you in your life one thing is certain – you will feel better after a class of yoga. Devoting time to your personal well-being is not indulgence; you are building the foundations that will enable you to support others as well.
Change doesn’t happen overnight – it is something you have to keep working at. Some days a class may feel like a walk in the park (if so it probably means you need to try harder) other days it can feel like you are going backwards. It really doesn’t matter how far you can go in each particular posture, just try to always do the best you can.
Once you start don’t ever stop. Make your practice a fundamental part of your life. There really is nothing more important than breathing, and learning how to breathe properly, through all the things that life can throw at you will make it possible to respond from a place of calm and strength no matter what the challenge is.
There are many different kinds of yoga classes to attend in Auckland, and you might like to try a few to see what works best for you before settling into your practice. Here are a few links to get you started on your own journey of a lifetime:
Yoga Ground offer beginners classes in Grey Lynn – www.yogaground.co.nz
Auckland Yoga Academy offers teacher training as well as classes– www.yoga.co.nz
The Loft – www.theloft.org.nz
The Iyengar Yoga Centre – www.yogacentre.co.nz
Yoga Sanctuary – www.yogasanctuary.co.nz
– By Campbell Larsen