Updated: Feb 5
There are so many reasons why people practice yoga and here are a few but before we get to that yoga was never in my vocabulary up until I saw some people practicing it on a beach in Thailand.
In 2006, we embarked on a 6 month back packing trip around the world and our second stop was Thailand. To this day, it is by far the most chilled out place that I have ever visited. Everyone is friendly, they’re all happy and the thing that struck me was they have in Western terms quite a poor lifestyle.
Midway through our stint in Thailand I was relaxing on Ko Phangan beach in a hammock. The sun was shining, I was reading Fast Food nation, which let me tell you, has stopped me going anywhere near any fast-food restaurants even all these years later… Then as I took a little break from the horrors of the book something caught my eye to left of me. There was this group of 5 Thai people, doing really weird things on the sand all in unison. I woke up my partner and said, look at them, and intrigued, we both just lay there watching what they were doing. Completely mesmerised.
The thing that struck me the most was just how happy, relaxed and calm they all were after this hour. I’d seen things about yoga before, my nan used to do it and loved it but I’d always dismissed it instead opting for running, swimming and cycling to get exercise. This hour of watching those five people on the beach made me realise that yoga isn’t about exercise, it’s about finding inner peace through movement.
That moment on the beach and that realisation seemed to stay in my mind, like a bad smell, it just wouldn’t go away. Then roughly two weeks later, when I landed in Malaysia I had enough of being hounded by the beach image and purposely hunted down a bookshop and purchased ‘An Idiot’s Guide To Yoga’.
After reading the book, even with no equipment, I was determined to get the same feeling as those 5 on the beach. I remember doing all kinds of crazy moves, which had me falling over more times than not, my partner thinking I’d lost the plot and having bruises over my arms and legs from smacking into the bunk beds in the hostel.
After just a few weeks I was starting to feel lighter, more uplifted and a lot less stressed. I knew that it was because of the yoga and to make myself keep it up, when we ended up in New Zealand, I bought my first yoga mat, which over 13 years later I still have.
Through the trip I continued to invest my time in yoga and made a plan for getting back to the UK and keeping it up.
First I’d go to the local sports shop and get all the gear; yoga pants, tops, water bottles, yoga blocks, resistance bands – I have everything I needed.
Next I’d go round local gyms to see what they had on offer and try a few of the classes.
Finally I’d have a word with work to make sure that I could commit week-in week-out regardless of my shift patterns because I didn’t want to go back to being stressed out and not having the closeness with my partner again.
The problem was that even though I had this rock-solid plan in my mind it didn’t pan out as I wanted. As with all high-intensity jobs, there were medical emergencies which would completely run through my lunch break and I’d miss that week’s session. Then I’d go through this weird anti-habit forming emotional trip of feeling guilty, feeling there’s no point next week and being frustrated that I couldn’t even commit to this one thing that actually made me feel really good.
If you’ve ever been to a class or gym before, you’ll know that not everyone is actually ‘good people’. Some of the instructors, even though they preach love, self-care and relaxation were seriously stressed out, there just for the money and didn’t seem that interested in helping me even though I was a beginner. After searching and going through 5 different gyms and 10 different classes at studios I finally found one person who cared and was truly invested in my experience and happiness.
Also, unbeknown to me, yoga wasn’t the only thing that was making those 5 Thai people happy. They also have completely different diets, they enjoy what they have, other people are invested in their happiness, they don’t use toxic chemicals in their skincare, home care or anything like that… there was so much that went on behind the scenes and when I discovered all these things as well – that’s when my whole life shifted.
13 years later not only am I still doing yoga, I’ve left the veterinary practice I was at after 19 years and now teach others to have the same level of self-confidence, self-worth and self-respect through EasYoga.
Because of my journey, I now have a truly solid relationship, which I genuinely believe would have not have been the case had I not started putting my health first. I’ve also since been blessed to welcome two wonderful children into the world and spend every single day feeling genuinely happy about everything I have. So that was my story but your story may be different.
You may be thinking How can yoga help me. Well by bringing a simple method of yoga and meditation into your everyday life you can help your body to:
-Relieve Stress (This is a big one) - Improve Breathing - Ease Pain - Improve Circulation - Increase Strength - Increase Endurance - Lower your Heart Rate
- Lengthen Muscles - Increase Flexibility - Improve Concentration - Increase Range of Motion - Enhance Energy - Detox the Body
- Strengthen the Abdomen - Burn Fat - Improve Posture - Build Immune System - Improve Balance
- Help you focus
- Changes your energy
- Boots your Metabolism
- Helps you to become more Mindful
- Soothes your skin
- Gives me some ‘Me Time’
- Hydrates your spine
- Gives you brain power
- Helps you to beat the ‘Blues’
- Frees your feet
- Gets rid of Toxins in the body
- Has Anti-inflammatory properties
If you suffer with any of these then give yoga a try. Even if it gets rid of only 1 of the things you are suffering with then you will start to feel amazing, more upbeat and uplifted.
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