One of the many benefits of not drinking means I can go to yoga at 9:30am on a Saturday morning – even if I did stay up until 2am the night before. A major part of quitting drinking means there is just more time and energy for everything else. Yoga isn’t about being better than anyone else or wearing the best gym gear, here I share what makes it work for me.
1. Anyone can do it at any level and benefit: in my class there is often a wide range of sizes and abilities – from the pregnant, to the overweight, from disabled (one woman came to class with a broken arm!!!), from young to old (one class was taught by a 60+ year old woman!), to master yogi and everything in between. No one will care or laugh at you because they’re too busy trying to not fall over.
2. I actually like the meditation: Honestly when I used to do yoga-lates (“dynamic yoga-Pilates), as soon as it was time for meditation I would pack up and leave. Who wanted to sit around for ten minutes doing nothing? Back then I also had high anxiety, struggled with my weight, was living a life that I felt was very difficult. I obviously wasn’t open to it but now that I look back I was running from what I needed most.
3. You’re not getting old, you’re muscles are just weak: Before I did yoga I thought I was more active than most – I don’t have a car and I hate public transport so I walk everywhere. So when I started getting sore knees that ached at night and back pain, I assumed it was because I walked too much and it was a sign of old age. An amazing benefit of yoga is the strengthening of all the random muscles all over your body. I would never get this much diversity at the gym as it was easy to do the same routine over and over. Also, most of the poses in yoga class feel too easy to be doing anything. Ha! Anyways my knees (touch wood) have stopped hurting altogether now. It’s that age old advice that you know you should take: don’t let yourself lose muscle mass. Getting older isn’t what makes you feel older, it’s the deterioration of the body through a sedentary life style that comes with playing less in the playground and sitting more at the desk all day.
4. Weight-loss: even though I am Dr Libby’s number one fan and she reiterates that if you exercise in a calm manner doing an activity that focuses on breath you will burn fat instead of sugar, I never thought it would work for me and I thought yoga only benefitted Jennifer Anison and Gweneth Paltrow because they could afford to do it every day with a personal tutor. Although my aim is to increase muscle and peace of mind, not to lose weight, I have noticed a change. This change has come a lot quicker than when I used to rush to the gym and frantically lift weights and pound the treadmill. I used to think if you pushed hard enough, that meant you really wanted it and it would become a reality. When what you want is actually more likely to come true if you let go, trust the universe, and breathe. Dr Libby also says that what you need is what you resist the most – this was also true for me with giving up alcohol and coffee, and trying yoga and meditation.
5. That the learning is never done: Just when you think you have mastered something, there is always more. You’ll not only learn random words and kooky poses, but also that there is peace, poise, patience within you, for you to access at anytime you wish.
Tell me your biggest learnings in the comments below.