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14 March 2015

My Love for Yoga

I assume that if you've started reading this blog post, you are into or you would like to try out yoga classes. That's exactly how it all started for me: I kept reading articles from yoga blogs and enjoyed seeing those beautiful words - such as relaxation, mindfulness and savasana - on screen. I also watched YouTube videos that reproduced in a domestic environment Vinyasa flows but on a one-to-one basis and tried to follow clumsily the instructions of the yoga instructor. Despite their great capacities of getting you in the yoga-at-home mood and their professionalism, I still couldn't get into yoga thoroughly. I felt like I was missing human contact and that my poses needed correction; yoga through a screen just didn't function as a real lesson for me.
After a few months of YouTube yoga practice, I decided it was time to go and try a class at my university's yoga society. And man… why hadn't I tried that before? After a one hour and a half lesson which was fairly easy (considering what I would be learning a few months later), I decided I wouldn't stop. I went to the following class, and then the following week. It was so much fun - and it still is. The contact you get in a real class just makes a great difference: it's nothing like internet lessons! The teacher keeps correcting your poses and helps you to learn what yoga is really all about; you can compare yourself to other people and work with them, and you get professional equipment! Instead of using hardcover books and pillows I could finally get hold of mats, bolsters, bricks and ropes, and that clearly had a different result.

This sounds all fun, but yoga is also about hard work. Unlike what most people think, "it's not just about lighting up some candles", in my university instructor's words. Your body needs to work very hard, which is both exhausting and rewarding. At the end of classes you feel stronger and more flexible; you learn how to breathe and listen to your body, besides getting emotionally stronger and content. After more than 15 years of ballet, which I thought was great for my body, I can see that its beauty but in a different way; it's definitely not as healthy as yoga is.

I have now been practicing Iyengar yoga (in class) for five months, and it has been life changing. It has been very beneficial for my health (fingers crossed, I haven't become ill since I've started doing it) and my spiritual wellbeing. If you have never tried it, I suggest you go for a taster session at your local gym or students' union or anywhere else really. Yoga teachers are everywhere in the world, and surely there is a yoga group near wherever you that is waiting for you!

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