Why do yoga?

I’m not super-stretchy. Or super-strong. Or super-anything. I do yoga because it makes me feel better and I teach yoga because I love it.

Just as you have to use your muscles to keep them strong, you need to explore your range of movement to retain or improve it. I experienced yoga before children (BC) and after children (AC). When I did yoga BC, I thought it was interesting and fun, and it complemented the running, cycling and swimming I already did.

When I returned to yoga AC, I was a crunching, clicking , exhausted shell, riddled with headaches and shoulder pain. The first time I lay on my mat and started to follow the teacher’s instructions, it felt like she’d tailored the class just for me. She didn’t even know I was planning to come to her class. (Thank you, Tracy Gaillie.)

I didn’t know I’d been shallow breathing – probably most of my life. Yoga taught me to breathe properly, enabling me to be less stressed and less in pain. It taught me to think about my body from the inside out, and to feel gratitude and compassion towards my body, which after all works jolly hard just doing stuff all the time. Yoga showed me ways to help myself, without always reaching for the painkillers. It taught me to be mindful.

There are plenty of different ways to find wellbeing. Yoga is just one way. But if you practise regularly, year in year out, yoga doesn’t become less effective, or require larger doses; it simply continues to be useful and to become ever more meaningful.

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