The Benefits of Practising Yoga
… And What It Does For Me
In September 2012 I started on my yoga teacher-training course in London. I would not have known back then just how much it would affect me, how it would be so life changing and important to me.
It’s especially nice to be living here in Brighton, with the sea nearby, and to have a short walk home from class. I have done my practise today as well as a class locally and I’m so incredibly grateful to have yoga in my life.
Why? Because … I am calmer, I am more resilient when things get stressful, I am even more thankful for the little things in life, I cry less and accept more, my body is leaner and stronger overall, and lastly I feel that I know myself a whole lot better because of yoga. I feel truly honoured to be able to teach this wonderful art and ancient practice, so that I can do my best to assist others in a similar way.
I have been active all my life. From loving gymnastics as a little kid to doing my degree in dance, I have been nicknamed ‘a pocket rocket’ many a time. Having been a personal trainer for over five years, I enjoy a mixture of disciplines to keep me feeling happy, strong and slim. Yoga has definitely helped with another passion of mine, kettlebell training. When doing kettlebell swings with a 12kg bell one day, I realised how much stronger I felt in my back and shoulder muscles.
It’s not all peachy and a story of discovering my bliss. At times, going to yoga teacher training has left me feeling open, exposed, vulnerable and in need of hibernating under the duvet with a cup of milky spiced chai. I found that it can stir up things that I didn’t even know were troubling me. Yoga allows you to work through your own ‘baggage’, digest it and come out alive the other side and be grateful for the experience.
It is natural for a group to bond through studying and training together. But there is something much deeper than can be said about the kind of ‘sisterhood’ felt amoungst the group of teacher trainee Yogis. After the first couple of weekends and once we’d had a chance to meet everyone, I came home and said to my boyfriend “I’ve never been in a room with so many nice people all at one time”. At school or other group events, there’s always one with an ego problem, or a performer of the bunch who wants to outshine the rest. However, at yoga training I always felt fully accepted and comfortable in my surroundings. — This is such a good thing because at various points throughout the course, we all needed to have a good cry — a meltdown over the Sanskrit names for poses — or something. On the last day of the course, the group went out for a lovely vegetarian meal in central London. Upon saying goodbye it dawned on me that we would not be together as the same group again. Sure we’ll arrange meet ups, but some will move away, etc. so really, it was the end of an era.
A Mantra in every day life
George Harrison describes a mantra as ‘a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable’. One of my favourite mantras (with lots of syllables!) that I learned from the course was ‘Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu’. This translates as ‘May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all’.