Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thinking about Yoga? Don’t be intimidated!

Welcome to Yoga Bear's newest blogger (and our official Social Media Coordinator), Katherine! A kundalini yogi, Katherine is originally from England and moved to the US after living and studying in Cairo, Egypt. Katherine currently works for Horizons for Homeless Children, a non profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts.

I was always intimidated by yoga. My impression of a yoga class was always super fit, slim women with all the right clothes and equipment, bending their bodies into shapes I was convinced my body was not built for. There was no way my legs were going to be able to bend past my head!

I spent three years as a boxer when I was at university. As you can imagine, boxing was a challenge and after fighting many tough opponents (as well as experiencing a lot of blood, sweat and tears) and a few nasty hospital visits I decided that it was time to treat my body with more respect. One of my friends suggested going to a yoga class and after a lot of thought I finally agreed – with some trepidation. Why would a boxer be intimidated by yoga?? Well boxers are used to ducking and weaving, but that is about as far as our real flexibility goes!

Despite my reservations, my friend and I went a long to our local community center and enrolled in a six week course of ashtanga yoga. I had no idea what ashtanga meant, or what it would involve, but took the plunge and went in.

My yoga teacher looked nothing like I expected. He was a man, in his sixties, with a big white beard. He wore an old tattered t-shirt and jogging shorts. He was also very very encouraging and supportive (literally and figuratively!). The other students in the class were not size zero super women, but women (and men) from all walks of life, in all different shapes and sizes, and of varying skill levels.

I confess my first lesson was hard – my body could not hold any of the poses and constantly shook - but after one lesson I knew it; I was hooked. At the end of the six weeks my body and mind had changed. I could see that my shoulders had become less bulky and more lean, and I was immeasurably more flexible – I had turned into one of those women who could put their legs behind their head! I also felt a renewed sense of calm, confidence and had a developed a better attitude towards my body – which I am now careful to look after. I have been an avid yoga fan ever since!

1 comment:

lynnsomerstein said...

Ahh, yoga, exhale, it's for everybody... every body. The asanas are delicious appetizers, and for the main course- deep relaxation, yoga nidra, breathwork, meditation.