Why is Yoga so Powerful to me?

Someone asked me a question the other day about why I practise yoga. Why I’ve become completely and utterly obsessed by it. And my answer? That it’s so powerful to me on so many levels and I hope (people may disagree!) that it’s made me a better person – stronger, less judgemental, happier, more balanced, more aware. There are three main areas that I’ve seen it impact me the most though:

The Physical
Like pretty much everyone, I originally got into yoga for physical reasons. I could only touch my toes when sat in a squat position, I was always out first in the cereal box game and doing excessive amounts of cardio activity my whole life (running, hockey, tennis) my body probably had the flexibility of the average 60 year old. I knew that doing yoga would help improve the state of my physical body.

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Ashtanga Addiction

I was reading an article yesterday about Ashtanga yoga and why avid Ashtangi Annina Luzie Schmid stopped practising after a number of years, giving her the feeling of reclaiming her life back.

For anyone who doesn’t know Ashtanga it’s a set sequence of yoga and it has 6 series, so basically you can be sure that unless you’re blessed with the bone structure, immense flexibility and strength all combined, you’re never going to complete it by the end of your lifetime. I think that’s part of its allure though – that there is always somewhere for you to progress in your practice. You practice 6 days a week, with full moon and new moon days off (so around 22 days out of 28 days) and it’s an intense and dedicated practice.

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Yin yoga teacher training

This last week I’ve been in Stuttgart on a Yin Yoga and Myosfasical release course, which was so inspiring. Our teacher, Jo Phee, is a student of Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, who popularised this form of yoga and was highly knowledgeable, funny and empowering. For those of you who have never heard of or tried Yin yoga, it’s one of my favourite forms of yoga because you get to lie down on the floor pretty much the whole class.

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Yoga Hacks

Following on from my blog post two weeks ago about how you can incorporate yoga into your daily life when reading, watching television or working on your laptop, here are 10 more ways you can incorporate aspects of yoga into your daily routine.

Top Ten Yoga Hacks:

  • In the bath, when your muscles are a little bit warmer from the water, give your hamstrings a stretch by taking hold of the big toe with your peace fingers and stretching out your leg.

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Bringing Life back to the spine

A lot of yogis have a love/hate relationship with back bending. I say yogis, because if you don’t do yoga, I can’t really imagine the thought of bending backwards tends to cross your mind. But it’s actually something we should all be doing on a regular basis to keep our spines strong and flexible – as the saying goes, “we are only as young as our spine flexible”.

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Return to Mysore

As I left Mysore 5 weeks ago, I was dashing from my final back bending class back home to shower, before jumping in a cab to the airport. I rarely get sad leaving a place, more grateful that I’ve been there and ready for the next stop, however leaving Mysore felt like a tug on my heart. As the cab driver hit a traffic jam and the timings to catch my flight were becoming extremely tight, in my head I was just thinking ‘oh well if I miss it I can just turn straight back round and stay in Mysore’.

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Ayurvedic Yoga Massage

I am now officially a certified Ayurvedic yoga masseuse after spending two weeks of intense training in Mysore. I originally took the course to give me something to do during the day whilst I was in practising Ashtanga, whilst also thinking it would be a good way to learn a little bit more about the body from a hands on perspective. I wasn’t really thinking that it would necessarily be something I’d actually want to pursue afterwards but things may well have changed…

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Becoming a masseuse in Mysore

I can’t believe how quickly time is flying in Mysore – I’ve been here two weeks already and really don’t want to think about leaving.

Every day I wake up at 6am and slowly wander down to my yoga practice, which I do for two hours. It’s literally the most intense practice I’ve ever done – even though I’m doing exactly the same sequence as I would at home the teacher’s adjustments means you have a completely new understanding of how each posture is meant to feel and the heat here means I have more flexibility so I’m able to go much deeper. I literally finish the class barely able to walk back up the hill to my room, but every day I’ve had the biggest smile on my face afterwards and am seeing so much progression.

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The colours in the local market 
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