Having recently finished teaching two concurrent ten week Absolute Beginners workshops in Waikanae, and currently covering for another yoga teacher in Otaki, I've realised that I haven't made much time lately for my own yoga practice. And I can feel it!
Not only can I feel it in my body (a bit stiff and less mobile), but I can feel it in my mood (a bit grumpy, overloaded brain, waning motivation). I was wondering why I was feeling out of sorts then realised that I haven't paid enough attention to my own practice. I love teaching, but it is all about my students (which it should be), whereas in my own practice it is all about me. Love that!
Some people really notice the change in season and I think I'm one of those people. The weather changes . . . the days lengthen or shorten, temperature rises and falls, more or less rain and wind and sunshine. Right now, the wind is up, the southerly is blowing, but the sun is shining and the days are longer. And I'm loving it all. I think we are so lucky in our beautiful country to have such distinct seasons.
Instead of making a New Years Resolution, I've decided to make a New Season Resolution part of my life. And my resolution this spring season is to revive my home practice and attend as many other yoga classes as I can each week.
When we take a break from practice, for whatever reason, there is a really noticeable effect on our body and brain. It is not until we begin your practice again that we realise how good it makes us feel ... physically, emotionally, mentally.
In order to have that effect, however, it requires a commitment to practice regularly.
Benefits of Regular Practice
Builds muscle strength and improves flexibility
Improves posture and balance
Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
Protects our spine
Supports our connective tissue
Increases our blood flow and improves bone health
Increases our heart rate, yet reduces our blood pressure
Drains our lymph glands and boosts immunity
Regulates our adrenal glands
Lowers blood sugar and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, yet boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Fully utilises our lungs by taking fewer breaths of greater volume, which is both calming and more efficient.
Boosts our immune system functionality
Helps us focus better by quelling the ‘fluctuations of the mind’ that can cause stress.
Prevents ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation – all of which can be exacerbated by stress.
Relaxes us by encouraging us to slow our breath and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system (calming & restorative).
Helps us sleep deeper
Makes you happier due to significant increases in serotonin levels and decreases in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol.
"These benefits are intensely interwoven. Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system.
This is one of the great lessons of yoga: Everything is connected—your hipbone to your anklebone, you to your community, your community to the world. This interconnection is vital to understanding yoga. This holistic system simultaneously taps into many mechanisms that have additive and even multiplicative effects. This synergy may be the most important way of all that yoga heals."
Join me for practice by heading to the Bookings page and keep your practice alive!