Flexing it for Mental Health Awareness Month and Spring Rejuvenation!
If there was ever anything that ever spoke to my soul – it would be Yoga!
Its calming and gentle voice called to me ever since high school when ADSL was the best internet connection, and my reference source was a dog-eared photocopy stack of papers held together by a rubber band.
It’s been a long-standing relationship between me and yoga and nothing can give me a high-on-life quite like yoga can!
It helps me rejuvenate and enter the realms of mental wellness, which is why I decided to write about it this May in consideration of spring rejuvenation and mental health awareness month.
If yoga is not your ‘jam’... I get it, but it’s worth trying out at least once in your life – who knows you may just fall in love with it!
Yoga is like dating:
Before I knew which kind of yoga I really liked and vibed with, I tried many styles and many classes till I found a fit that was right for me. If one style does not work for you, it does not mean that the next will. Yoga styles include Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Yin, and Restorative yoga, as well as hot yoga and shot yoga. There's something here for everyone... Find what resonates with you!
Yoga has direction:
The direction towards your goals, i.e. what do you want to achieve? Increased flexibility in body and/or mind? Do you want to reduce stress and find your Zen? Do you want to build physical strength? Improve your mindfulness? Do you want to reach Instagram yogi status? Do you want to become a guru and share your learning? Find your direction and goal and then find a practice which aligns with it.
Yoga and you can go shopping:
For venues and classes, instructors and mediums that is… (not to mention the many cute yoga outfits you get to buy). Visit different yoga studios or try online classes to experience various instructors, teaching styles, and atmospheres. Many studios offer trial classes or discounted packages for beginners, which can give you a taste of different practices – this helped me immensely till I found a place to settle.
Yoga makes for great conversation:
Talk to friends, family, or colleagues who practice yoga. Ask for recommendations on teachers or studios they enjoy. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights and help you find a practice that suits your preferences. Plus, once you start your practice, it will be great fun to celebrate your milestones!
Me, Myself, and Yoga:
Your mindset is one of the most important components of yoga. It’s the quiet, calm, and absolute control that really keeps me going. I've learned to isolate muscle groups and relax or tense them, feel the stretch, and listen to what my body is telling me. I've learnt to breathe and regulate my heart rate and pressure, as well as to create peace around me and within my space – which is the most important takeaway for me! Weight loss and glowing skin are further benefits.
I know that for me yoga is my refuge, outlet, and instant mood lift – which just happens to have scores of health benefits tacked to it! A cautionary tale – it’s highly addictive!
I can’t caution you enough to please practice with a certified professional – done wrong, you can sustain a lifelong injury – which is counterproductive, especially if you turn to yoga as a form of rehabilitation for injury.
It’s not a competition; it’s you and your body exploring boundaries and growing better together. There are also times when a pose you nailed last week is causing you trouble this week. Your body changes every day; be patient. Also, because of physical limitations, there are some poses that I just can’t do – and that is okay – I am still a yogi! Live in the now. Be gentle with yourself.
Stay motivated – before and after photos are how I love to journal how far I've come and how I know how to adjust my sails to get me where I'm going! Plus, it’s fun!
Yoga is a journey! So be patient, take your time, and enjoy the road along the way. Stay open-minded, listen to your intuition, and enjoy the process of discovering what works best for your mind, body, and spirit.
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Written by Tatum De Souza