I suffer from a number of conditions such as Hypermobility Syndrome, Spondylitis and other forms of ‘itis’ that basically mean inflammation. I also suffer with a lot of stress, which goes hand-in-hand being a single mum. I manage the pain with a cocktail of drugs and most importantly exercise, which I also find incredibly de-stressing. However, recently things have been getting on top of me and it’s been suggested by a number of people that I give Yoga a try.
Now I have to admit I don’t know much about Yoga, but what I do know is that it originates from India, is a discipline that involves techniques using exercising, breathing and meditation and means to ‘join together as one’.
As an impatient person one that’s ‘always on the go’, I was convinced I would find a class a bit dull. Also truth be told I’m slightly intimated by the ‘head-standing brigade’, when I can’t even do a roly-poly. Still as millions of people claim it’s changed their lives, I decided to book in a class with Renate Mullins, instructor and owner of Step Into Yoga to see the benefits for myself.
The class was mixed sex and most noted was kept to a minimum of 12 participants. Our layout was not in horizontal rows, but formed as a circle, which Renate explained enabled ‘equal and non-judgmental’ atmosphere. It also meant Renate could keep an eye on our posture. There was no need for equipment as everything was supplied from mats, cushions to blankets.
We started off with some gentle stretching, whilst learning about the 7 ‘chakra’ colours, each one indicating how we felt in mind, body and spirit. The main body of the class was spent focusing and mastering some well-known yoga poses such as ‘down dog and mountain pose’. Renate gave variable levels and her hands on approach, felt more like one-on-one personal training. I was discretely asked to make tiny adjustments such as applying more pressure to my thumb, something that had a huge impact on my arm muscles, and changing my foot to a slight angle, thus allowing a deeper stretch. I was surprised to find myself slightly out of breath and working harder than my normal weights session. The session concluded with some relaxation, cocooned in soft blankets and comforted with lavender eye bags. As the chanting music drifted over me, I am not ashamed to say that a tear slipped from under the eye mask, as I felt my whole body being healed of anxiety.
My conclusion is this. I review many classes and a good class boils down to one thing, a good instructor and this is the reason why I will be returning. I had not only worked my muscles, but also worked my ‘parasympathetic nervous system’, the one needed to reduce anxiety. I had, as Renate quoted been given some ‘YogaMagic’!
I asked Renate a few questions on behalf of readers wanting to try a class:-
What are the main benefits of Yoga?
It creates balance on all levels (physical, mental & emotional) in the body! Yoga is a practice and philosophy that believes that happiness is our natural state!
Who is Yoga suitable for?
It’s for everyone, in different forms depending on health issues!
Is special equipment or clothing needed for Yoga?
No just comfy clothing, I disagree with the expensive Yoga Fashion!
Can Yoga help with weight loss?
Not as such however, it will help you change your mindset towards yourself and with that your eating habits can change to the better.
Do I need to be flexible to do Yoga?
No, you attend Yoga classes to become flexible and build inner strength. Similarly it’s by no means just for women, men get as many benefits out of it as women do!
I’ve read many top sports professionals use Yoga as part of their stretching and strengthening programs. Can it help build muscle?
Yes and with that “core-strength”, which isn’t the muscle you usually address when at a gym. A lot of athletes have found Yoga a great way to balance their workouts.
Yoga seems full of people who can do ‘headstands and sit cross-legged’, is this true?
Yes those are there, and then there are so many more people who don’t stand on their head or sit happily cross-legged for hours. Yoga creates balance in the body on all levels (physical, mental & emotional) and that happens wherever you are on your Yoga journey!
Renate runs a number of classes from ‘Pregnancy, Mums & Babies, Tots, Kids, Adults and Seniors. Details can be found at www.stepintoyoga.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices start from £7 per session but quote Askmolly for a free trial session.
As with all new exercise consult your doctor first if you have any health conditions.
Whilst you don’t need any special equipment, comfy clothing is a must. I love Boody Organic Bamboo Eco Wear new into the UK, born in Australia. Each item is made from bamboo yarn with a small amount of nylon, creating a fabric that’s hypoallergenic, odour free, sweat free, blocks UV rays, stretchy and soft! Prices start at a reasonable £13.95 for tops! www.boody.co.uk
Whilst I wore gym socks and many members went barefoot, these ‘Yoga Toe Sock’s bridge the gap between the both. Like gloves for the feet, they ensure you don’t slip and are perfect for many of the exercises that require balance! £12.50 www.sockshop.co.uk
Stay hydrated with the Zingo Water Bottle £10 www.root7.com. This great gadget allows for easy fruit infusions and can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Ideal for anyone wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
For Beauty/Lifestyle queries contact Molly@askmollybeauty.com