As much as I want to champion everyone developing the confidence to start practicing Yoga at home, the other day, I was reminded of how important and beneficial actually going to a class can be.
I was back at my usual, favourite class over in Ashford, and we were doing the usual mixture of evil/fun joint activation and isolation, strength building and mobility.
As I was being led through these sequences, which challenged the brain and the body, I realised how much I could connect with sensation, and with my body in a way that is almost impossible when you are guiding yourself through your practice.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that you get something very special from a personal practice which is valuable in its own way. But while you are being guided by someone else who has skilfully planned a practice to target specific areas, and increase your understanding of your own body, you are then able to place your full attention on experiencing that in full. The sensations, the mental reactions, and perhaps resistance.
The element of surprise is really useful here, as you don’t necessarily know what’s coming next your mind isn’t skipping forward in anticipation and I find that’s the point when I find myself doing something that I didn’t realise I was capable of.
And the sense of laughter and play, and the energy in the room from the other people around you shouldn’t be discounted.
For some people that’s what holds them back from coming along to a class - the fear of the other students, knowing all the moves, being able to do it all effortlessly. But it’s not necessarily the case. There are lots of classes out there that aren’t like that.
What occurred to me as I left the class is how much value there is to a Yoga class. For such a small investment (between £5-£10) you are able to gain so much.
Learn tools to manage stress
Downregulation of the nervous system
Develop your awareness of yourself, your body, your mind and its fluctuations.
A place to laugh
To focus attention and ease the constant chatter in the mind
These are all things that one could pay an awful lot of money for through different types of therapy. And in this one humble place, the yoga class we have access, if we choose to explore it, to all of those things. So, why not give it a try?
Take control and get out there to soak up what is on offer. You can leave the stuff that doesn’t resonate with you – you don’t have to be into chanting, or be super bendy.
If you are keen to get to a Yoga class here is my current schedule for next term. I offer a £30 pass for 6 classes which can be used across all of these venues. Or you can drop into class for £7.
I am teaming up with my good friend Kate, of Kate's Yoga Free Flow to bring you a NEW Monday morning Yoga class starting next week, I'd love to hear from you if you are interested!
Wishing you a peaceful and happy week ahead.
Frances Robertson-Ritchie, Yoga teacher and hypnotherapist