(Pictured here is my yoga student and her dog who tried yoga for the first time here!)
I remember fondly my first yoga class experience. Unknown to me was that at the time I gave myself a “gift” called self-care. It wasn’t the all-over workout nor the teacher who taught but the emotions that came up and a sense that I received something really good. This ( yoga class) was something so much needed by my body and mind and so touching to my spirit I softly cried during savasana at the end of class. This experience was truly what I consider a “self-care” first. What made it so was my emotional and physical place after class was over. I felt nourished and better now than prior to taking a class. Yoga from that point on was my go to for what I would later learn the terminology – holistic self-care – Yoga worked in unison on my innermost self ( thoughts, feelings and emotions and outer physical self (muscles, bones, and connective tissue)
Yoga provides easy access to anyone and can be practiced just as easily in the comfort of your home as in a class setting or elsewhere. More time is best but even 10 minutes is good. LIttle by little over time done consistently will give you access to more flexibility, less stress, better ability to handle and deal with intimate, professional and your own relationship with yourself.
I encourage you on your path and journey to finding a time and taking care of your-self to try a yoga class outside your home or in the comfort of your home. YouTube offers a nice variety of beginner’s easy classes ranging in length from 10 minutes and over 60 minutes. I lead several yoga classes weekly on many levels from private one to one, corporate yoga and group fitness yoga through my local parks and recreation district. My “best students” are to me not those who arrive looking fit and toned nor those who easily master the yoga asanas, but those who simply come as a rookie first timer and show up doing yoga where they are now and returning to class again and again!
Self Care is a holistic process of trying new things related to your physical body, need for rest or relaxation, laughter and innermost thoughts, feelings and mental state.
- Yoga increases physical, emotional and spiritual wellness and brings about a certain peace.
- Yoga, breathing exercises and meditation can reduce stress, promote healing and enhance the quality of life/self-care.
- Yoga encourages the student to slow down and focus on the present which in turns lessens stress and mental chaos and in its place a more open and relaxed mind and mental state
- Research suggests that yoga can produce an invigorating effect on mental and physical energy that improves fitness and reduces fatigue. Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga!
- Bonus:! when practicing yoga, a fundamental emphasis is placed on accepting one’s moment-to-moment experiences creating mindfulness and not forcing the body past comfortable limits. Having this healthy sense of acceptance is especially important for each of us in the day to day of our lives.
With continued practice comes a gradual loosening of the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the bones and joints become more flexible giving a greater range of motion in the body; this is thought to be one reason that yoga is associated with reduced aches and pains. Yoga helps to build muscle mass and/ or maintain muscle strength, which protects from conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and back pain.
A yoga home or anywhere mini practice for you!
Begin seated in a comfortable place. Close your eyes and take a moment to notice how your body is feeling right now without any judgment needed. Quietly scan your thoughts, feelings, and emotions noticing without judgment the quality of your mind. Begin to slowly inhale from deeper in the belly traveling your breath all the way up to the top of your head and softly with equal length exhale the breath back to the belly. Repeat breathing pattern five times or more if you like!
Start on the floor on your hands and knees in a tabletop pose. If you have a mat or large towel or carpet use this for your cat/cow as the floor may be too hard for your knees and hands.
From (table top) Take an inhale through the nose as you flex your spine gently reaching back through your tailbone and forward with a slightly arched /swayed back. Exhaling, press both hands into the floor as you round your spine while moving your chin in the direction of your chest. Repeat this three times or more. Come to sit in an easy crossed legged seat or with legs straight. Pause quietly enjoying any noticed physical opening in your body and a calmer mind!