Over the past two weeks, we've chatted about what made me wish to be more fit, and how I have changed my eating habits to get there. Today I'm going to share how I discovered yoga and what the benefits of daily practice are.
First, let me begin by saying that many times we're led to something by someone or something that we could never imagine. My finally working up the courage to try yoga (which I had always said I wanted to try but never did) came in a rather roundabout way. The person who led me to yoga isn`t even a real person, he's a character from one of my Venom novels. I kid you not. Dale Christie is the leading man in Twirly Girl, the second Venom novel. It was while doing research for Dale that I found Don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec shaman. Mr. Ruiz wrote a book called The Four Agreements, which is a Toltec wisdom book.
If you haven`t read it, you should. I'm not a religious person at all, but I do consider myself to be spiritual. Reading The Four Agreements helped me step into a better understanding of who I am and how I deal with people and situations in my life. It made me see that stumbling is okay. You can simply do your best tomorrow. I learned how to stop taking everything personally, or at least I am trying to get that down. It's hard but so worthwhile for anyone looking for inner peace. Once I realized that I did not have to be perfect daily, I became free to try new things and risk failing. Once I understood that I could fail at something and not hate myself, I then knew that I could attempt yoga.
Of course, yoga is known as a wonderful way to find serenity. It is also an amazing way to get into shape. For me, making the decision to try yoga was made because of my health issues that prohibit me from jarring workouts. Yoga is calm, serene, and easy on the joints. It sounded like a perfect fit for me, and perhaps for others who cannot partake in rigorous exercise routines.
But just because yoga is a smooth and graceful practice don`t think it won't work your body. It does and then some! Yoga will ask you to push yourself only to the edge, not beyond, as some of these new fad workouts demand you do. In yoga, you set your pace. If you cannot achieve a position one day, you modify for where you are today. Perhaps tomorrow you may be able to balance perfectly in tree pose . . . or perhaps not. Through yoga you learn to be happy with where you are at the moment during today's practice. It is an amazingly peaceful way to live your life.
There are some incredible benefits to yoga for people of all ages. I started out with a DVD aimed at yogis over fifty. After three months, I am now moving onto a beginner's DVD with more advanced poses or postures (asanas). Yoga helps prevent osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and increases flexibility and strength. It reduces stress, aids in better sleep, helps lower blood pressure and increases mental clarity. If done on a regular basis you will begin seeing amazing results in just a month or two. You will begin to feel vital, strong, and more self-assured.
When I began yoga, I had to reach down to grab my leg and place my ankle to my knee. Now, after twelve weeks, I can lift my ankle to my knee with ease! I can see incredible growth in my flexibility and muscle strength. When I started yoga, I was double-stepping stairs as if I were eighty years old. Now I walk up them normally, even with arms filled with grocery bags. My body is happier and more limber than it has been in twenty years. This is only after three months. I cannot wait to see what I can do a year from now!
As you can see, I simply adore yoga. It has lifted me up both physically and spiritually. It can do the same for you, if you are interested in giving it a whirl. You do not have to be a size 4 to take up yoga, nor do you need to buy a pricey gym membership. You don`t have to be flexible to begin doing yoga, nor do you have to be a vegetarian.
All you will need is a mat, some comfortable clothing, a yoga block, a strap, and a DVD from a respected yoga instructor. I am fond of Barbara Benagh's videos. Ms. Benagh has been a yoga instructor for over 40 years and I find her routines easy to understand and learn and are paced perfectly for any newcomer. You can find her DVD's over on Amazon, as well as a wide variety of mats and other yoga goodies.
I hope that the past three Sunday Rambles have given you some insight into where I am and what seems to be working for me. If anyone has any questions about yoga or anything that I've talked about in the Happy New Me (And Maybe You) posts, please feel free to ask! I am no yogi master by any means, but I will gladly help in any way that I can. There are some wonderful online sites to visit for more information about yoga and its benefits to everyone, male and female, old and young. Here's one that I am particularly fond of:
Keep in mind that you are never too old to find a happy new you!
Namaste, my friends.