Yoga For The Uninitiated

You’ve been up all night preparing for your meeting. You’ve been up since dawn washing your son’s sports kit and baking a cake for your daughter’s pre-school fundraiser. You get stuck in traffic and arrive stressed and late for your meeting then just as you’re about to leave the office your boss gives you a project with a deadline of yesterday. Sound familiar? Most of us feel like we’re scurrying on a hamster’s wheel 24/7 with no time to breathe.

Everything we do is at speed, even the way we talk and write has speeded up, think of the symbols used in text messaging now being used in emails, in exams and even in conversation! When we do find time for exercise what do we choose? Some high energy exercise class that will get us fast results or a quick jog round the block a week before our summer holiday! Seems we’re living off speed and thriving on adrenaline. But too much adrenaline lowers the immune system and drains your energy, so how do we slow down? Have you ever thought of yoga? Too slow, it’s not proper exercise, it’s not fast enough for me! If you have ever said this kind of statement you’ve probably not tried the right king of yoga!

Yoga – fitness for life

Yoga comes in many forms – Hatha being the traditional type of yoga we are most familiar with, Ashtanga or Power yoga is high paced and fast moving, Birkam yoga is performed in a hot, humid room and is very intense. I would defy anyone to take part in an ashtanga or birkam yoga class and say that yoga is for those that don’t like proper exercise! You will sweat and breathe as deeply as you would in a heavy session at the gym! The added benefit is that it will not only strengthen your body, you will greatly increase your flexibility. We all will lose flexibility as we age and we lose our muscle mass, around 3-5% per decade after the age of 30 and our bone density will lower, especially for women after the menopause.

All this leads this leads to fatigue, weakness, reduced activity and stiffness. The best way to slow down the loss in every area is to exercise to maintain your strength, balance and flexibility. What exercise can you safely continue throughout your life that will improve strength, balance and flexibility? Yoga! It ticks all the boxes and if you have ever seen someone in their 80’s who does yoga on a regular basis you will notice they walk tall and confidently like they did when they were in their 20’s. It’s the best anti-aging routine you can add into your life and will give you definite results greater than the latest, expensive pot of wonder cream!

Wherever you lay your mat…..

Another benefit of yoga is it can be done anywhere. You can attend a class to gain knowledge of the moves under the careful eye of your instructor, however there are some great DVD’s on the market that work for anyone at any level. Once you get to know your yoga poses then you can create your own routine, even 10 minutes a day can help you stretch and wake up energised for the day ahead. You can also continue your routine wherever you are in the world. Your transfer to Gatwick is booked, your passport and tickets are in your bag, you are off on holiday somewhere so remote they don’t have a gym but you don’t need one!

The knowledge you have built up by practising yoga means you’ll never need to visit a gym again if you don’t want to! Throw down your mat or towel and away you go, continuing your physical development and maintenance through your love of yoga for the rest of your life.

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