The 80s led me into aerobics which helped keep my body in shape after bearing 3 children. The 90s, however, found me facing 40 and dealing with a herniated disc and subsequent back surgery. My exercise regime had dwindled down to walking the dog. I knew I needed to do something more physical for my health but I couldn't seem to find the energy any more. I had purchased a few yoga video tapes, but not being a self-motivated person, they soon got lost on the shelf. Then one auspicious day I saw an ad in the local paper for yoga classes.
Yoga Means UnionOur instructor's enthusiasm for yoga was immediately apparent. Sylvia explained to us that she would be teaching us the B.K.S. Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga. What this meant was that we would be paying attention to the smallest details as we created space in our bodies and paid attention to where the energy was flowing. Yoga means union, and this style of yoga gives attention to not only body but mind and spirit as well.
Yoga PropsWe use a variety of props in class which help beginners learn to do the poses, or asana's, properly. We use blocks, blankets, straps, chairs and sandbags to help ease our inflexible bodies into each pose. We may start out the class by sitting in virasana which is much more than just sitting on your feet! We are taught a very specific way to come into the pose, paying attention to the position of our feet, the muscles in our legs and the position of our spine and how we hold our shoulders and head. This pose leads to others which stretch and strengthen various parts of the body.
Another basic pose which is the basis for all standing poses is tadasana or mountain pose. To the casual observer this may look like standing up straight with good posture. But as with all of the poses, the position of each muscle, the lengthening of the spine and creating space in the body brings in energy and balance. There are challenging poses to stretch and strengthen, poses for balance and poise, and guidance into breathing awareness and relaxation. The hour and a half class goes by quickly but the effects of yoga stay with you for a long time. My 42-year-old body sings by the time class is over.
Yoga Classes Good for the Undisciplined Yoga StudentMy only regret is not having a personal yoga trainer to guide me every day. Left on my own I still haven't disciplined myself to take the time from my busy schedule for a daily yoga program at home. I have, however, learned to incorporate a stretch here and and pose there throughout my day. I look forward to my weekly yoga class with great anticipation and I know that yoga is something I will enjoy doing for the rest of my life.
Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life - B.K.S. Iyengar