I’m 5 foot 8 inches, a UK size 10, possess footballers calve muscles, rugby players thighs, a small waist and a bottom that in a line up wouldn’t exactly identify as Caucasian…
Although I’m generally pretty comfortable with my figure, I like to exercise for the health benefits and am a strong believer in healthy body, healthy mind. That’s all very well and good, but life can get a little hectic juggling work, friends and family so when it comes to exercise, I can, at times, become a little lazy.
Having done the London Marathon, I’m over running in the cold winter months with hail pelting me in the face until it aches, and although I like the odd game of tennis and a good swim, again, in this current chilly climate neither of these options are particularly viable or appealing.
Yes, I could join a gym but I loathe them. I can’t stand seeing those spaghetti legged men preening like peacocks in the mirror as they hold huge weights aloft in the air, with every vein in their face looking like it’s about to burst. I find them intimidating and a little bit nauseating, as I do those perfect skinny girls who manage to peddle away on the exercise bike for 60 minutes plus, with a face full of makeup and not sweat one drop (I can only be described as a hot, red mess when I tumble off the treadmill after 20 minutes on an incline). I could hire a trainer, but the thought of being screamed at to do sit up after sit up until I vomit leaves me cold. So with all this in mind and feeling sluggish after a Christmas of over indulgence I looked into my options.
I have always enjoyed yoga on a casual basis (you’ll see here one of my life goals is to master a handstand) but last month when I saw an offer at TriYoga to join for 30 days for £40 and attend as many classes as one likes, I knew I had to sign up! The pass was fantastic as it allowed me to try out so many forms of yoga I’d not done before – Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Hot Yoga and my new found favourite Warm Vinyasa Flow.
Many people don’t see yoga as a real exercise, but if done properly they couldn’t be more wrong. Yoga boosts your circulation, increases you flexibility (the more you stretch, the more you’ll stretch!), strengthens your core and increases your energy levels so you are pumped with endorphins ready for the day ahead yet mentally relaxed too. The only way to get a real understanding of it is by actually practicing it and I beg that those of you who laugh at this form of exercise to give it a go, I can assure you you’ll eat your words quicker than I ate my Christmas selection box.
Another myth is that you have to be 21, supple, a size 6 and eat tofu which again I can confirm is not the case at all as it suits any body shape or life stage – kids, teens, pregnancy, middle and advanced years
During my first few classes my body was shaking at times when my weak arms were finding it difficult to hold up my body weight as I’d not practiced properly in a while. I pushed myself however, to go to four classes a week over the month to really get into it. I loved the challenge of pushing myself further each time. I could feel the muscles in my back getting stronger, my posture improved quickly and I also noticed that my flexibility was getting better with each class. In a couple of the women only classes we even did a few kegals – probably too much information for you – but these are so important for us ladies, as strong pelvic muscles will not only help your sex life but make childbirth easier and keep you out of nappies when you’re old!
I thrive on the feeling yoga gives me not only during the practice but after the class too. I love that I have to dedicate time and practice to it and the way it allows me to switch off from the rest of the world for an hour and tune into my own body and mind.
My 30 day pass has now sadly run out, so although I won’t keep to four classes a week, I would certainly like to keep up a weekly practice. Like with most things in life, I’ve learnt through my yoga practice in the last month, that the more I put in, the more I definitely get out and in order to grow and become a better yogi (and person) strength certainly comes from within.
Oh and a friendly reminder for you all. Take a moment out of your day, each and every day, to check you’re not holding tension in your body. Let your shoulders drop. Take your tongue off the roof of your mouth. Unclench your hands and jaw. Take a deep breath in. Exhale.
There we go. Much better.