I started yoga just over a year ago and have consistently attended two classes a week (a huge achievement for me). At first I could not even cross my legs and sit in an upright position. This was so frustrating but my awesome teacher, Utpala, kept reminding me just to do what my body was capable of. This was a point she reinforced at every class and it is one of the main reasons I returned. There was no judgement from me on my yoga performance, no data to analyse and simply, no negativity. I just turned up and allowed my body to do what it could!
As a type A personality with the patience of a gnat, I was never really attracted to the zen approach to exercising. I loved the feeling of exhaustion from intense running or a boxercise class. I knew I had worked hard when I was totally exhausted. Bizarrely enough, I actually get the same endorphin rush from yoga. I always had this idea of yoga being calm, relaxing and a bit boring. How wrong was I!
Where had all my functional movement gone? My body positioning had to be corrected in almost all movements. It was so difficult to hold some of the poses for any length of time. Where had all my strength gone? I could barely hold a pose without my body shaking. It was so challenging at first but I loved how I felt at the end of each session. Over the year my body has become much stronger and leaner. I have gained the inner confidence I’ve been craving since I finished cancer treatment. I feel AMAZING!
Since finishing cancer treatment my energy levels have been at rock bottom. I am no longer able to push it aerobically or anaerobically anymore. I have had to find alternative ways to help make my body feeling strong again. My two forms of consistent exercise at present are walking and yoga. And believe it or not, yoga is actually the more challenging of the two.
Apart from the physiological strength I have gained from yoga, I also feel psychologically stronger. As a cancer survivor, I can sometimes fear the “what if” scenario, however through strengthening my mind and body at yoga, this fear has lessened over the year.
Sometimes I wish I started yoga sooner but I believe it is all about timing and this was the right time for me. If you are reading this blog and are going through a life change, recovery from an illness or just finding life tough, I would highly recommend giving yoga a shot. It can help strengthen the inner you and give you a new perspective on things.
Yoga has taught me three key life lessons
- Appreciate what your body IS capable of doing rather than judging it
- Breathe slowly and deeply into the gut to help relieve stress
- Be present in the moment rather than worrying about the past or the future.