As today is International Yoga Day, I wanted to reflect on everything that is brilliant about yoga, the benefits that it brings to adults and children and how it has helped me over the years. This is the day to celebrate all things yoga!
Firstly, a little bit about my yoga story. I started doing yoga back in 1998 with the help of a Barbara Currie video and although I have not practised religiously over the years, very often putting my practice on the back-burner when life gets more chaotic, I definitely feel better when I am practising regularly. I have changed my practice over time, adding and taking away elements, sometimes doing it for more spiritual purposes and at others for fitness. I have attended the occasional class at Manchester Buddhist Centre and went every week when I was pregnant, finding it to be of great benefit. Apart from this I have mixed together poses that I have learnt over the years from classes, videos, magazines and books to come to the point that I am at today. I can't stand on my head (and probably never will be able to), nor can I stretch my leg over my head. But this is not what yoga has been about for me. It has been about how much better I feel after stretching my muscles and my soul.
Although I would like to work on my practice and add more meditative elements and some different poses - I am happy with where I am at at the moment. Having been on the back burner for a while yoga is starting to play a bigger part in my everyday life again. It is becoming more of a lifestyle, not just practising it but reading about it either through books or through great magazines like Om Yoga. It is a place where I am happy to be. Now I have shared my own story, I would also like to share some of the benefits that I have found in yoga over the years and why it is so brilliant.
The Benefits of Yoga
NHS Choices - A guide to yoga and its health benefits.
Om Yoga Magazine - Lots of information, articles and advice. From absolute beginners to intermediate.
Yoga: Wikipedia - Lots of information on the history of yoga and different types.
Rachel Brathen - 'Yoga Girl' Rachel Brathen's yoga lifestyle website features her yoga blog, online yoga classes and much more. Her book Yoga Girl is also a great read for those interested in the yoga lifestyle or looking for inspiration.
Gaia: Online yoga classes - A range of yoga videos and guide to poses, as well as articles and more. Suitable for beginners.