I absolutely love hearing from YOU!
There is nothing that helps my learning and development as a yoga teacher more than getting to know what you struggle with, not just your physical struggles or what you’re faced with on the yoga mat, but what you encounter off the mat, and how you might find a way to work around these road blocks. When I received the email below from Stephanie about her yoga journey, I just had to share it cause I knew it was something that so many of us wrestle with, myself included!
“The hardest thing about yoga is not flipping yourself upside down, holding yourself in complicated twists or bending over backwards. The true challenge is commitment. Committing to the pose, committing to the breath, and even just committing to showing up to the mat every time.
As someone who has struggled with ongoing body issues for years, exercise has always felt like a punishment. It has never been something that I approached to look after my body or mind, but instead to alter the way I look to myself and others. This just isn’t sustainable. Time and time again I’ve failed to commit, to see things through and feel positive about changes I had made – because I was doing it for the wrong reasons.
This attitude has held me back from truly exploring my yoga practice for years. It has always been an interest of mine, but it never fit within my preconceived notions of what exercise should be. I never seemed to be able to fully allow myself to ope up to the complete experience that yoga has to offer.
Then halfway through 2015, after an extremely challenging year in my personal life, I quit the gym I never attended, and came along to an open class at Yoga in Motion. I tried my hardest to leave all my assumptions at the door and allow myself to take whatever the class threw my way. I walked out of there sweaty, shaky and exhausted.
But more importantly, I was completely and totally invigorated. It was an entirely different feeling to any class I’d ever taken before. After speaking with Krystle and deciding I should take myself right back to the basics, I signed up for the 6 week beginners course. I learnt something new every week, and cringed when I thought about how I had been practicing before! It’s incredible the difference that is made by focusing on tiny adjustments and alignments to open yourself up to each and every pose – even simply standing in mountain pose requires careful awareness of where your body is in space.
This was where my practice stayed for a while, each week learning new things and pushing my limits a little further each time. There was only so much I could do at this level of commitment though. As much as I wanted to practice daily, everything else took priority and I reached a point where I wasn’t progressing as much as I really wanted to.
Then in early 2016, I took the plunge and signed up for the unlimited membership. I did everything I could to bring (some days drag) myself to the mat each day – and the change was mind blowing. In weeks I managed to push through restrictions and limitations that I had struggled with for months, and my mind and body has never felt so full of life and energy. The physical benefits have been endless, from walking taller, feeling stronger, sleeping better and the list really does go on. But more importantly, I have never felt prouder of myself. And the simple difference has been that feeling of commitment. Committing to turning up, committing to pushing past or respecting the limitations of my body (sometimes modifying is just as hard as trying to follow the rest of the class!) and committing to truly love and care for my body in an active and positive way.
The other difference is the fundamental importance of true direction in a yoga class. Krystle pays careful attention to each and every student during practice, never allowing anyone to push too hard (or take it too easy!). She understands the needs and differences of every body, not only ensuring everyone approaches the practice correctly, but that they understand why. The knowledge, passion and dedication that Krystle has for doing yoga and doing it right, is what brings me back in to the studio day after day. She has genuinely made such a difference in my life because of it.
Anyone can do yoga. Simply lying on the floor breathing deeply is a yoga practice. The challenge is committing. This looks different for everyone, and for every individual body. The benefits, though, are endless. Whether you’re working through an injury, trying to complement other fitness practices, have mobility issues or simply need to find a way to de-stress and take care of your mental health, committing to yoga might just be the best thing you ever do for your body and mind.”