Why I do the Yoga thing - A Rebel's Guide to Yoga
So, I wanted to write about why I use Yoga and what it means to me. After I all, I wrote about and advocated it in Become Your Own Champion, I follow countless Yogi's on social media and yes...I got to Yoga!
Before I went to yoga, I didn't really get the 'thing' about it, it had become the trendy and 'in' thing to do, which to me meant it was probably not something I should do.
After I left the dance world behind a lifetime ago, I stayed away from anything such as yoga and Pilates - wanting to do something completely different. However, after 20 years of battling scoliosis, spending hundreds of hours with heat patches attached to my back, practically buying shares in ibuprofen and spending a lot of free time sitting against hot radiators, fate dictated I must try yoga.
I'd had a particularly bad bout of scoliosis pain 4 years ago, partly thanks to excessive stress from nearly being made redundant and seemingly no other prospects despite sacrificing my free time and health to push myself to become a Chartered Surveyor (but I digress...). I ended up near paralyzed on my bed for 8 days - the only time I've ever needed a sick note for work - hardly able to walk. The doctor told me the usual thing - that its likely to be pain from scoliosis and after nearly 18 years of having this, the answer is that it doesn't go away but physiotherapy can help slightly and aside from that I needed high potency pain killers.
I didn't have money to spend on a private physiotherapist because I was likely to be made redundant or be downgraded again (i.e. have my salary slashed forcibly again due to restructures). So I waited weeks to be given an NHS physiotherapist - and spent weeks seeing said physiotherapist facedown on a hospital bed trying to get the muscles relaxed enough so that I might be able to walk without crying through sheer pain. That kind of thing I'd had for years but seeing how visibly stressed I was with 1,000 things going through my head at any one time, he suggested I go to yoga and Pilates to strengthen the muscles in my back.
So, I did ...and 4 years later I'm still going to yoga and Pilates at least 1-2 times a week. So as a yoga convert, here's my take on yoga:
- It can help stop the chunnering in your mind and constant churn of negative thoughts
- If I miss a session I feel far angrier, stressed and sad than normal
- With scoliosis, sometimes your back just 'goes' with no warning, so it can sometimes feel like 4 steps backwards to go 1 step forwards
- You get to meet some really nice people of different ages
- You can go at your own pace - it's not a competition
- You don't need to get dressed up like a gym buddy
- Men can be really, really good at yoga
- It really does help with stress
- You get better
- It brings back a love of movement
So that's my précis of yoga and I'm planning to train to be a teacher in a couple of years, mainly for fun. Go try it.