I practice yoga a couple of times a week. I started out as a complete beginner with very limited flexibility and I've improved, but it's been a slow and steady practice.
Yoga works for me because it allows me to get out of my head and into my body. I have to concentrate on what I'm doing. Holding my balance, focussing on my breathing, thinking about my posture. These things all allow me to empty my mind and to stop the endless whirl of anxiety because I'm having to think about other things.
When I was first diagnosed with anxiety my GP recommended meditation and at that time I had no idea how to meditate, or even how to begin and, for me, yoga filled that gap. It allowed me to ease into meditation, to get used to connecting with my breathing and emptying my mind. It's also a good form of gentle exercise so on the days where I have no motivation at all, I can usually persuade myself to do something even if it's just a warm up... and that helps.
It's also something I can practice at home, although when I first started I also went to classes as getting the poses right is important to avoid injury. The one mistake I did make in yoga classes..? Looking around. I didn't need to compare myself to the other people in the class. It wasn't useful or helpful, but more importantly, it doesn't matter. Everyone is on their own journey and a yoga mat is a great place for me to remember that I'm not being constantly judged.
My favourite things
These are my favourite products, teachers and all things yoga. I list these things because I use them day in day out and I love them.
In some cases, there are amazon buttons. If you decide that you'd like to buy one of these things and you click that button, I get a small fee from amazon. It costs you nothing, but it does help me to pay for the hosting of this site!
A good yoga mat
A good yoga mat is very important to my practice. It makes me want to roll it out and use it.
Personally, I prefer a thicker mat. I like a little more padding under my knees and hands, especially when I first started as I wasn't very strong so weight bearing was hard for me. I also have wooden floors in my house so there is no extra softeness from having a carpet under the mat.
I chose a 6mm warrior mat and you can see my favourite one on the right here... just click the image if you'd like to buy one.
A great yoga teacher
When I first started practicing yoga, classes were important to me as I wanted to make sure I was learning the correct poses and alignment. I always knew that I wanted to practice at home, but going to classes made it much easier for me to practice at home.
Finding a style of yoga and yoga teacher to suit me made a big difference and I love Mary McLellan. She teaches yoga in a way that makes me work hard but still leaves me feeling utterly blissed out by the end of it.
I've tried several yoga classes now, but having a great teacher that I can occasianally check in with and get pointers makes it easier for me to maintain and improve my practice
I use props in my yoga practice all the time. They help to keep me safe in poses that I would otherwise not be able to hold. When I first started practising I would fall out of triangle pose all of the time, then I started using blocks to steady myself. I've used the blocks to gradually build up my flexibility, strength and balance.
I also love a yoga strap. They are fantastic for helping to stretch out my tight hamstrings and to achieve poses that might otherwise be out of my reach.
You can click on the image on the right if you'd like to buy my favourite blocks.