Guest Blog by Shauna McMorrow Aurora Yoga Studio
Since covid hit in 2020, we have started to embrace self-care in a more genuine way. Self-care could be lighting a few candles, switching off our phones, journalling. It is also getting movement into each day, and to this end, yoga has seen a surge in popularity as an exercise that benefits both body and mind. Many people are still wary of taking it up, despite all of it’s benefits.
As a yoga teacher, people often tell me-
‘If I got down on the floor I wouldn’t get back up again…
I’m not flexible enough…
I’m too old…
I have too many injuries to do yoga’…
If any of these sound familiar to you, keep reading, and let me see if I can change your mind!
People can be scared to try yoga because social media often portrays it as an exercise only for slim young yogis who can do handstands, sit in the splits, or meditate for hours. But the reality is very different. For myself, I’m still working towards handstands. I don’t practice every day. My meditation practice is currently a few slow breaths before I get out of bed in the morning and maybe once or twice again throughout the day if I’m feeling stressed. There’s not many yogis who get to the stage where they can turn themselves into a human pretzel- and that’s ok. You don’t need to be flexible to do yoga- you gain flexibility as you go. The benefits from the basic poses will keep the average person mobile, strong and flexible- physically and mentally. You don’t even need to use a mat to access yoga- chair yoga offers variations for most poses. Since I began teaching, I have worked with many different ages and abilities because I believe it should be taught to everybody- from children in primary and secondary schools, to adults on mats or seated.
I believe yoga teaches us:
1. Our bodies are designed to feel good.
They evolved over thousands of years to become excellent at movement.
We’re not meant to wake up in the morning with aches and pains or go through our days holding our hips, our backs and whatever else might be hurting!
Modern life has reduced our movements to the same few postures throughout the day- in a vehicle, stuck at a desk or on a chair, even how we relax on the sofa in the evening. So it is up to each of us to find ways to move that benefit us. This is especially important for adults. Pain in your body is a not a normal thing once you hit your 20s or 30s!
2. Your body is capable of more than you think.
You just need to give yourself time and be consistent with your practice.
However stiff and sore your body is when you begin, once you form that consistent routine- even just once a week- you will start to surprise yourself!
If you’re carrying long term injuries or conditions, there is still space for you in the yoga world. You may just need more time to work out how to move your body in a way that will help you to feel good.
3. There is place for every body in yoga. As you journey through life, your yoga style will change- from strong classes based on difficult poses, to gentle classes that focus on your breath. And every yoga class you try will give different results, so don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ and try different teachers, until you find the one for you.
These days, we have so many brilliant ways to look after our bodies, both inside and out. Yoga is one of the many ways to do this. You can even level up your home practice by using salt lamps and candles, or help yourself to relax at the end of a class with a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue beside your head as you lie back and relax. So stop thinking you are too inflexible/ old/ injured and give it a go. You may just surprise yourself!
Shauna- Aurora Yoga Studio