Yoga – just a January fad or more to it?

By Antje Schemath
private yoga class

Last little stretch of the last few days in January. This month seems to go on for a long time. But what about all the new year’s resolutions that have been made? Sometimes it can almost feel like some weight off your shoulders when we reach February. We don’t have to think about the new year’s resolutions anymore. Lucky us, we can eat all the food we want again, no more forced “self care” routines that we have been reading for the last 30 days. Anyone taken up Yoga this month? Maybe even signed up for a 30 days intro yoga pass or doing the classic “yoga with adriene” and quitting on day 2,3 or 5? Yeah, the latter is me. For 3 consecutive years, if not longer, I’ve tried to accomplish that. Everyone is doing it, clearly it can’t be that hard to bend and stretch a bit every day expecting to look like one of those unrealistic ‘yogis on social media’ and no, by just buying a sweaty betty legging and a yoga mat from decathlon you are not accomplishing the goal. But honestly you do you. Whatever brings you over the finish line. Spoiler alert: it took me 3 months to finish my “yoga with adriene” January challenge. I persisted, I was determined to finish it but in my own time without any pressure. It was so worth it. Here I am a year later along my own yoga journey so beautiful and intense not even in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the strength it has given me so far. To be honest at the beginning all I wanted was to touch the mat with my damn heels during downward dog. One of the things everyone “should” be able to do, right? Little Secret – don’t bother. Ever seen the same 2 feet? (and no don’t look down on your left and right foot, they don’t count) No? Neither do I. We are beautiful and unique throughout, including our anatomy. Therefore everyone else’s body works slightly differently. Which makes people so interesting otherwise can you imagine us being all like Matt Hancock, disastrous. But let’s not bring politics into the yoga world. Here I am with my yoga mat that now has tea cup stains on it and has been used on and off for the last 9 years. I finally started to dedicate my feelings, my time, my strength and my energy to whenever I’m on this mat.

After my at-home yoga with adriene the next best thing was definitely practising yoga in real life with real people in a studio. After buying a yoga pass at the Float Spa I didn’t lose much time and signed up for my first class. A sound bath. How wonderful, I didn’t need to do much just listen to some sound instruments, easy. Well, I can tell you that it was a very immersive feeling, incredible to watch when you blink your eyes open every now and again and something I would recommend for everyone to experience. Right, what’s next…? Ah Kundalini. A world of its own. Not quite sure what they do but they like to dress in white and sing. While I wasn’t far off from that, joining my very first Kundalini session made me slightly hooked. I enjoyed the chanting very much, obviously not quite getting the words right but even just humming with it seems a nice sensation. ( Fun Fact – humming,chanting, singing etc. stimulates your vagus nerve and can help you to relax faster after stress) the body gets also involved with different movements, I can only say try it for yourself and just go with it. Don’t over google it – general life tip. Week by week I ticked off as many yoga classes I was able to attend. Within my first 4 weeks I realised that every yoga teacher has a slightly different dynamic, some play music during their sessions, some without. One thing they all have in common? They made me feel welcome. My left/ right coordination is notoriously bad and remembering which foot I used first just works ever so often. Anyone else in the same boat? Not gonna lie, when I joined yoga in person classes I was quite nervous about how to use the props, my stomach making noises while everyone else was dozing off, but also I came with a certain ego on my mat. I guess deep down most of us did, especially if we have done some kind of version of yoga beforehand there was a certain expectation that it always

has to be the deepest stretch, the best back bend and all sorts. Mental note – write it down and let go of it. I had to learn this in my first few weeks but once I realised I am the only one putting pressure on myself in certain poses I unlearned that very slowly. That also should be applied to other areas in life. No one cares so you might as well be your most authentic self with all the good, the bad, the ugly. All of our yoga teachers helped me immensely on my yoga journey. You know if its a good studio/environment when you feel safe to just turn up with all your ballast you carry on your shoulders and move your body, cry if you feel like it (I have on many occasions) shake off what you don’t need for the next 60 mins and if you missed a sequence while you are still on the floor and everyone else is up, is that really so bad? No it is not. This past yoga year connected me to muscles I never knew I had, lovely people, more calmness in my life overall and most importantly I can tap into my body, my energy on the day and make it really my session however this may look like. It has opened new doors and closed old ones. When it is raining and cold or you sit on the beach on a lovely summer day it feels a bit hard in the first place to convince yourself to get your bum to the yoga class but it is *always* worth it. My stomach made numerous funny noises during classes but so did others. How nice it is that our bodies feel rested at last. And sometimes I get a little glimpse into the present, the here and now before my mind reminds me my bones aren’t getting any younger!

It might not be the magical quick pill you are after, and if you just want to master your handstand do so, but if you are willing to stick with it and maybe even open yourself a tiny bit to the possibility that “you don’t have to, you can just be” than it will be such a wonderful rollercoaster journey and soon an integrated part of your life. But if you just want to get up, meet your bestie, join the Saturday morning yoga class and drink your oat turmeric chai latte, then good for you. It doesn’t matter what your initial reason is why you are willing to put some time and energy on to the mat for the next 60 mins. Well done you for doing yoga – in a time that is so full of worries & chasing the next big thing. Your body is a fascinating instrument that is craving for movements and love. At the end of the day when we roll out our mats and step our feet on it we are all equal and are part of something beautiful, a smile can go a long way. So why not stick with it for a little bit longer and immerse yourself to a gong bath or go back to basics. Whatever class you choose you will be in knowledgeable, kind hands of amazing yoga teachers.

About the Author:

Antje Schemath

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