Some Reasons To Try Yoga… Again.
I would like to believe Yoga is open to everyone; whatever our age, life stage and body type. It has the power to resonate with people in different ways.
However, I often hear of people writing Yoga off after one difficult experience, or dismissing it as something that someone else does without ever trying it. While this might be part of the journey (and it was for me), there is much more to Yoga than there initially seems.
There is plenty of choice out there, especially in the major cities. But with the increasing number of studios, teachers, workshops, retreats and Yoga-infused experiences, it might be confusing to know where to start.
The key is to find out what works for us, be it the physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, or energetic aspect of the practice. To do this requires some experimentation. With different teachers. With different studios. With different spaces. Eventually we might find something we feel most comfortable with.
Once we find it, and even if there are some more difficult experiences along the way, we might then sense something else beginning to percolate in the background. It is hard to define this as it is so individual. But once the entry point is found, the journey can unfold. Here are a few reasons why Yoga might be worth trying… again.
Y — Yoga: Yoga can be about creating space. Many of us live with a sense of having to fulfill commitments to others, be it on a personal, family, social or professional level. We spend a lot of time meeting the needs of others. Yoga is an opportunity to create space for ourselves. To carve out our own little oasis. To come into our breath and body.
Whether it is for five minutes or ninety minutes, whether it is every day or just one day per week, Yoga is a chance to tune in. It is time to be with ourselves and let go of whatever is that we think we need to be doing. It is about letting time stretch out. It can be space for self-care, nourishment and replenishment.
O — Opening: Yoga opens us up. Whether it is through a more fluid and movement-based practice or a more restorative experience, Yoga opens up areas of body where tightness may exist. Energetically, it opens up blockages in the body, making us feel more alive within ourselves and more connected to others and the world we are part of.
Mentally, it helps to dissolve defenses and cuts through the daily chaos. Yoga is an invitation to explore and to experiment with our bodies and minds. This can open us up to the potential for change and the prospect of developing a different relationship to ourselves.
G — Grounding: Whatever might be going in our lives, Yoga gives us the opportunity to ground ourselves in the present moment. With its focus on breath, it helps to slow the mind and be more present in the felt experience, connecting to all of the different sensations we might be feeling in any given moment.
Many of us maintain an external gaze, which often keeps us on the run and chasing life. This can also keep us in a heady space which might make us feel less grounded. Yoga is an opportunity to direct the gaze inwards and connect with our more subtle voices such as those of the heart and intuition.
Even though these voices can be more challenging to connect with, they can help generate a greater sense of awareness and connection to the here and now.
A — Adapting: The Yoga mat can sometimes represent a mirror to our lives. Our natural tendencies, habits and challenges can be exposed during our practice. Our practice can provide a reflection point to our lives. It might show us that we are pushing too hard and moving too quickly. Likewise, it might reflect back our fear of falling and imperfection.
Over time, our practice can help cultivate a deeper understanding about what we need and how we need to look after ourselves. When to move, when to be more passive. When to challenge ourselves, when to be more compassionate and gentle. What to put into the body, and what to put out.
This deeper intuition promotes more fluidity in our lives and harnesses the capacity to adapt to the evolving nature of life.
With this, Yoga provides invaluable tools for dealing with the challenges that life inevitably brings our way.
Clive Fogelman lives in London and currently works as a Yoga and meditation teacher. He is also a qualified Group Work Practitioner with the Institute of Group Analysis. He has an open-minded approach to his work, influenced by his psychotherapeutic and sporting background. He enjoys helping people to cultivate intuition within their bodies, mindful that all individuals are different and continually evolving. Drawing on the parallels between Yoga, meditation and life, the mat becomes a playground for exploration and transformation. Away from teaching, Clive loves writing. He is currently working on a book about his time with cancer and developing a range of children’s books. He also recently developed the Life Sequence, a unique Yoga sequence that takes people on a journey from birth to death combining Yoga, meditation and guided visualizations. You could contact Clive via his website, Facebook or Twitter.