10 – Yoga

This week I went to a yoga class. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try and as the student union hosted a free session as part of destress week I thought now was the perfect time.

A market study from yoga journal in 2008 revealed that over 16 million Americans practice yoga, spending $5.7 billion on equipment each year. The earliest known mention of modern yoga was found in a publication dating back to the third or fourth century, and the activity is a combination of different postures, breathing patterns, and meditation.

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My yoga mat, available here

Past reports have suggested that yoga is beneficial for both a healthy body and a healthy mind, helping alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, arthritis, back and joint pain, stomach problems, diabetes, carpel tunnel syndrome, schizophrenia, and hypertension to name a few.

There’s definitely a few things in there that I could benefit from.

Before I went, I bought myself a yoga mat. It cost me £10 from Argos and I was able to pick it up the next day. It came with a carry strap and I was very pleased with it! I laid it out as soon as I got home and got to work on a few exercises I’d set aside.

It was a little squidgy for my liking, my feet sank into it almost all the way to the floor and I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t as comfortable because of that. Nevertheless, I paid a tenner for it so I can’t complain too much!

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Started off with a stretch and the cat looked confused

It didn’t slide about on the carpet either which was a good start and gave me a really good indication of where my feet and arms needed to be for both exercises and yoga.

The mat also came with a small instruction booklet which contained a guide for how much space you should allow yourself and various yoga poses to try.

The next night I packed up my mat (which my cats also liked by the looks of the small chew marks and missing pieces of foam in one corner!) and headed towards the class.

I didn’t really know what to expect so when we started off with just breathing exercises I thought it would be a nice and easy session but boy was I wrong.

After we’d finished our exercises, the instructor took us through various poses and stretches that she wanted us to do and within 15 minutes my legs were absolutely killing me. Some of the poses we were doing relied on you stretching as close to the ground as you could with your legs in various positions and I ended up using muscles I didn’t even realise I needed.

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An unflattering collection of some of the poses practiced at home.

We cycled through the poses at a reasonable rate, allowing time to do each one on both sides of our body and incorporate twists into as many as possible to stretch out our backs and use as many muscles as possible.

After this torture, we moved onto some of the more ‘traditional’ yoga poses such as the tree and warrior three pose. These are the ones most people think of when you mention yoga and also my worst nightmare.

I cannot balance to save my life so attempting to hold myself in a pose on one leg is not my idea of fun!

Despite my difficulties with a few of the poses, we reached the end of the session and engaged in a group meditation session. We lay on our backs, let go of our thoughts, and I sank into the most blissful feeling of serenity I’ve ever experienced.

The next day I struggled to walk due to extreme pain in my lower back and thighs but yoga is definitely something I’d like to do again. I’ve only practiced a few of the exercises we covered in the session since. but I foresee a lot more yoga in my future.

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