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Move smart: yoga

Many people would think that someone like me wouldn’t be interested in yoga. I’m certainly not what would be perceived as a typical yogi. I am a contradiction. As a female engineer, I was always in the minority. There aren’t many of us, and there were even fewer when I decided that’s want I wanted to do when I was 12. However studying and then working in a male-dominated environment didn’t make me do things any differently than I would have done anyway. I’ve always been true to myself.

I didn’t think I was artistic or interested in performing until I discovered ballroom and Latin dancing. I started wearing pink and purple and sparkles much later in life. So for someone like me, discovering yoga was a big revelation. Since I started practicing yoga, I haven’t looked back. It hasn’t changed who I am but improved who I was.

I know that yoga (and indeed life) is a journey not a destination, so I’m always working to improve my yoga practice as well as all aspects of my life. I am careful about the choices I make because every decision directly influences my health and happiness.

In the yoga that I practice and teach, the emphasis is always on correct alignment and allowing the body to exercise within its own limits while maintaining alignment and posture. Yoga is a full body workout and great for people of all ages and abilities. In my yoga classes there are always modifications that can be made for people who have less flexibility or strength while maintaining the challenge and interest for more advanced attendees.

I realised that the way I choose to live my life is very much in line with many of the foundations of the eight limbs of yoga as written about by Patanjali. Patanjali wrote ancient texts offering practical ways to bring peace and contentment into life. The texts are as relevant to modern life as they were when they were written thousands of years ago.

These are the ones that particularly spoke to me, each with a short definition and a few words on how I practice:

Non-violence – loving yourself and others, gentleness and care of the environment.

I’m a bit of a softie really; I don’t even like watching violent TV programmes! I’m almost obsessive about recycling. I enjoy volunteering and putting something back into the community.

Truthfulness – being true to your nature and speaking the truth.

“Speak the truth pleasantly” – from the Bhagavad Gita. There are many ways to put the truth forward...I do try to be pleasant but there is always more I can do. Another part of this for me is not spending time with people who drain my energy and are constantly negative.

Non-stealing – not keeping for yourself when others lack, not stealing another’s time or ideas.

This is not just about stealing physical possessions. I have been subject to people stealing my time and ideas in the past and it is very demoralising. It can be motivated by lack of respect, greed, selfishness. I’m careful not to do this to anyone.

Non-possessiveness – not hoarding, having all you need and feeling no loss.

This is a really tough one but worth working on. I frequently de-clutter and feel so much lighter afterwards.

Contentment – gratitude, feeling no lack, peace.

I’m a genuinely happy person. I laugh a lot and can find humour in many situations.

Burning enthusiasm – every painful experience is an opportunity to let go, discipline.

I don’t regret decisions I have made and paths I have taken in the past; I know these are all learning experiences and make me who I am today.

Deciding to practice yoga is a choice. Yoga helps me to steady my mind and body. It improves my posture. It gives me strength and flexibility. It enables me to breathe consciously. Yoga makes me feel healthier and happier.

I want to share this. That’s why I became a yoga teacher. I hope to help others become healthier and happier by enabling them to practice yoga and take care of their bodies. I really believe that yoga is for everyone. I am committed to help others make smart choices for themselves as well.

My yoga philosophy is:

I will provide an access to yoga to those who want it, to help others become healthier and happier.

Yoga chitta vritti nirodha - yoga calms the thoughts of the mind.

- Patanjali

Now it’s over to you...

Do you practice yoga?

Are you able to maintain a self-practice or do you attend classes?

Did this blog encourage you to take up yoga?

Do you want to take yoga lessons with me?

Do you need help taking this Smart Step?

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