Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ya Gotta Love Yoga

This morning, I took another yoga class at NorthPointe. I didn't have to pay an extra fee for an hour of excellent therapy. I believe an hour of yoga under a good instructor does as much good for my mental well being as an equal amount of psychotherapy could do. Actually, I think the yoga is more beneficial than any other kind of therapy.

I've had several yoga instructors at NorthPointe and they're all good. The leader last week has a great sense of humor and her own unique style. Today's instructor took us through several yoga poses, continually reminding us of the importance of conscientious breathing. She also stressed the benefits of being at peace and content with who we are, where we are and what we are doing.

Immediately after the yoga class, I took a long bike ride. Instead of focusing on speed as I normally do, the state of mind I had created in the class allowed me to pedal at a more relaxed pace and to be satisfied with this less intense workout.

As a result of just coming from the yoga instruction, I remembered to let my shoulders drop down as I cycled instead of letting them rise up and cause addition tension in my neck area. As I cycle, my back is bent forward over the handlebars and my neck is flexed up so my head is in a position in which I can see where I'm going. Today, I frequently checked how my neck was feeling and frequently made shoulder and head movements which temporarily relieved my muscles from their necessary and stressed states.
From now on, I plan to make time at least once a week to enjoy yoga. The 8:00 class on Saturday mornings is actually a perfect time for me. It gets me out of bed at 7:00 and starts my day in the very best way possible.
If you haven't already, I urge you to try yoga. I bet you'll like it. If you'd rather practice yoga on your own, there are books and videos available like those pictured above.


Anonymous said...

Oh I could use this. I am never mindful of relaxing my shoulders, but on the rare occasion I do ... heaven. Thanks for the reminder to take a few minutes and relax. I think I'll try to start working on some better body mechanics. Especially now that the heat is keeping me indoors more.

Shaddy said...

DARKSCULPTURES: It's amazing how much better I feel when I sit up straight instead of slouching, walk with my shoulders back and head up, and just generally pay attention to my body.

I'm glad my post is helpful to you.

Jana said...

Over the years I've tried a few videos and books trying to learn yoga, but not with a lot of success and subsequently not much commitment. I may have to give it another try sometime, with an instructor.

Shaddy said...

JANA: I sure wish you could find a good class in your area. Another reason I like yoga is because there's a lot of stretching in the poses and I need that.

Anonymous said...

I want to do yoga. I signed up for a class the day before I fell down the stairs and still can't attend a session. :( It's been 6 weeks. Enjoy it for both of us!

Anonymous said...

I feel relaxed just reading this. When you wrote about relaxing the shoulders, I instantly felt mine relax.

Wow, I need to try this.

Shaddy said...

DAYNER: I didn't know you fell! Good grief. How did I miss hearing about that?

Gosh. I sure hope you're recovering and will soon be able to do the things you love.

SARIE: Yoga teaches the importance of letting go of excessive stress and being more accepting and non-judgmental of others and ourselves, among many other beneficial mind training skills. I love the way I feel after a class.

Rob said...

I have considered trying this. Having been involved in the martial arts before I become involved in the MARITAL arts .. get it? ... ahem .. I see the benefits of yoga, focusing on calmness and a sense of center and balance.

Do you recommend videos really for those dipping their toes in the water? Or is a person better off just finding an instructor and interviewing them?