Updated: Nov 12
If, and when I roll out my yoga mat in the morning, or at any time when the mood takes me… I look down at it and think…. It’s the same mat I the same place on the floor, but I never know where the next minutes will take me. My body will probably be tight, aching from the events the day before, biking, running, perhaps a hard week of classes or simply gardening, or maybe I am a bit wired, something on my mind I can’t shake, and I need a bit of downtime or release. I don’t know how long I will practice, perhaps I have 10 minutes or maybe 30 if I squeeze other tasks. The duration is determined by how soon I can get into the flow and how it feels for me.
I do know that simply rolling the mat out is a start to feeling better, either physically, emotionally, or mentally as the practice ahead will address all areas. It is more subtle and more powerful than running, or cycling, for me, both of which themselves are a great means of mindfulness and movement, plus it is in the warmth and little effort to roll a mat down to get started.
The connection I feel physically through the yoga movement is profound, I never cease to find a new sensation in the body, these postures are known to me, and I practice and teach regularly, but each day is different as the mind and body change each day.
I also know that, by the end, I will feel better. My body will be alive, tired, yet rejuvenated. My joints will be mobile, any of the aches and pains though joint degradation and inflammation will have retired in the background, dormant until another day. I will feel taller, probably physically and metaphorically, with a newfound confidence in myself and about the day, or challenges ahead.
Sometimes it really grabs me, and I will simply continue, freestyling, repeating, creating new movements and positions, this is the beauty of the yoga I teach and love, vinyasa flow. When the breath is used to control and regulate movement and the release of tension, it is akin to a dance, and you just get lost into it. The same is for the holds of each posture, tapping into our inner conscience, seeking out the tension and stress in the body and releasing it with a breath, and then feeling the range of movement increase in the joints, knowing that the body is opening, and the inner energies are flowing. You don’t have to be good at yoga, you just need to be compassionate with yourself and explore your own constraints to achieve the benefit.
Other times, when a short session is called for, say 5 minutes, it can still be the best way to spend 5 minutes. A yoga practice is what you make of it, with whatever time you have. Balance on one leg and a few flowing movements will tick most boxes and we can easily adopt some yoga breathwork covertly during the day. Recent studies are showing that exercise snacking is effective at improving health, cardiovascular fitness, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Yoga, for me, is truly a gift. It doesn’t, set out to be anything but a means of personal connection, discovery, reflection, and achievement, on so many levels, and all it takes is an open mind and a rolled-out mat. Enjoy your yoga.