The gift that keeps on giving...
The ancient practice of yoga has gained a lot of gravitas in recent years but 20 years ago when I started my ‘yoga journey’ there were only a few places where yoga was taught. Fast forward 20 years now and you’ll probably find that yoga ‘havens’ are almost outnumbering coffee shops! 😉 Not sure if that is necessarily a good thing as, more often than not with any boom or fad, quantity can be at the expense of quality - and that is sadly what I’ve observed in some places. It shouldn’t deter you from delving into the world of yoga though if that’s what your soul desires, just do your due diligence.
I suspect it will be a while before we can return to yoga studios due to the current restraints, so now is a good time to explore the many styles of yoga and find out which ones resonate with you the most.
Whilst there are many ‘online’ yoga class offerings, especially now given the lockdown restrictions, I personally prefer the physical classes to the online ones simply because the spirit of a likeminded community is better conveyed in person than on a screen. We’re hard-wired for connection and joining a yoga community is of immense benefit. There is ample research showing that social isolation has a detrimental effect on our overall health - a problem we’ve been facing well before the pandemic hit - which perhaps explains the increased demand for yoga in recent months.
By and large people associate yoga with contorted yoga poses but this ancient practice has so much more to offer. That’s why I call it the gift that keeps on giving because there are many ‘layers’ to be explored and enjoyed. Depending on your curiosity and dedication.
I consider myself a seasoned yoga practitioner but the learning still continues for me 20 years on and my practice keeps evolving. So, look forward to a journey of endless exploration and benefits.
Our current situation is rife with uncertainty, fear and concern and, as such our mind has a tendency to run ‘wild’. Yoga is like a treasure trove which offers antidotes for all sorts.
For example, one such antidote for you to try out yourselves is simple alternate nostril breathing (Analoma Viloma), which is described below, a simple practice to aid your inner peace:
Sit in a comfortable position (e.g. cross-legged on the floor with your spine upright or if you have mobility problems on a chair), close your eyes, seal your lips and bring you attention inwards. Connect with your breath.
Rest your left hand on your knee, palm facing upwards and fold your right hand in Vishnu mudra (i.e. fold your index and middle fingers, your thumb, index and little fingers are extended) holding your palm in front of your face.
Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril for a count of 4. Close your left nostril with your ring finger.
Lift your thumb and exhale through your right nostril for a count of 8. Then inhale through the same nostril for a count of 4.
Close your right nostril with your thumb and lift your fingers to exhale through your left nostril to a count of 8. Repeat 10 times before relaxing.