Why I Love Yoga
I was at a crossroads in my life, embarking unexpectedly upon early retirement and feeling vulnerable when I dipped my first tentative toe into the yoga pool.
From the very first class, I was hooked! My bruised self-image melted away as I struck my very first warrior pose. I felt strong and empowered, capable of anything I set my mind to do! Undoubtedly, my stance was a bit off, my balance a bit wobbly, but I learned quickly that it didn’t matter. This was MY warrior pose, with MY body as it was that day. I wasn’t in competition with anyone, and I was simply doing the best I could with what I had. And that was enough.
As my practice continued with a variety of teachers, I felt nurtured and accepted and learned to accept and honour myself and my body, with all its quirks and limitations as well as its possibilities. The values so highly regarded in the corporate world of my previous life; competition, aggression, ruthlessness,guile, speed, and technology, were all diametrically opposed to yoga’s values; acceptance, unity, serenity, patience, focus, humour, peace, and nature.
Many of the poses are based on nature and animals, and frankly, I just ate it all up! I appreciated allthe poses for what they did for me and how they made me feel; the mountain pose for strength and concentration, the tree pose for beauty, grace, and balance, and (my favourite) the eagle pose, which left me feeling noble and proud, like its namesake.
Some of the poses are a little wacky and appeal to my sense of humour; happy baby, Flashdance, RockStar, Spiderman. And some of the more classic poses just make me laugh in my attempt to get there, or in imagining what I must look like, with one shoulder on the ground, one arm reaching skyward, and my rear end up in the air. I must be quite a sight! And I DON’T CARE! No one is there to judge me, nor do I to judge others.
I learned to challenge myself to try new poses, to modify when I couldn’t quite get there, and to be patient with myself. I learned to believe in myself, because eventually, albeit slowly, I just may achieve that extra inch in the stretch, that extra flexibility in the twist, that moment of perfect balance.
Even in retirement, I have a busy life with tasks and expectations. I still rely on technology (and am a little addicted to it, I confess), have chores, appointments, people to look after, places to go, and still have the need to multi-task. But for that 75 minutes that I am in class, the world melts away, and the only task I have is to focus.
Anyone can do yoga. You only need to know how to do two things; know your left from your right, and most important of all: BREATHE!
Sharron Elkouby is one of the vibrant yogis that is part of our Yoga Tree community. A big thanks to her for sharing her inspiring story!