Passion for Movement
I’ve always enjoyed physical activity. I was a very active child. I liked jumping rope, running up and down the streets, climbing walls and trees, riding a bike, and swimming. At a certain point in my childhood, I was enchanted by gymnastics, but I never went beyond doing cartwheels. It was only early in my adult life though, that I began to feel attracted to yoga. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to start practicing this mindful movement until my early forties.
Right in my first yoga class, one thing caught my attention: the students. I noticed that the group of classmates was very diverse. It was a large group of people from all genders and age groups. Some ladies, most likely in their seventies, were extremely flexible and could take the poses very easily. Anyone who has tried yoga knows that it looks easy, but it’s not. As a beginner, I had a hard time with some of the poses. I couldn’t even do some of the basic ones.
The desire to grow old like those ladies in my class was decisive for me to continue practicing. I’d like to be in my seventies, eighties, and even nineties just like them: strong and flexible! In addition, I began noticing tension knots in my back less frequently. Since my early twenties, I was annoyed by those knots very often. On one occasion the pain was so intense that woke me up in the middle of the night. The tenderness from back knots usually radiates to a larger area and limbs. With yoga practice, mine began to disappear. I haven’t had one in a long while.
As I kept practicing consistently, I noticed improvements in my flexibility, muscle tone, emotional state, and even in focus. The difference between the benefits of regular physical activity and mindfulness movement is huge. Yoga is considered by some as dynamic meditation or meditative movement. Since it combines meditation, breathing, and movement in one practice it brings a wide array of health benefits.
After ten years of practice, I can say with certainty that yoga is my favorite way to move my body. I’m far from being an advanced yogi but, I keep doing my best and noticing progress every day. Each pose I master is an achievement. For those who value being challenged, there is always a new pose to master, a new challenge to be faced. I love running, biking, swimming, climbing, hiking, and paddling as well but, yoga is my thing. When I’m practicing, I feel connected to my inner self, the universe, and the divine. It fills my soul with joy.
I’ve been fortunate enough to find good yoga studios and wonderful teachers along my way. I’m currently attending The Yoga Mix studio which has a group of the best teachers I’ve had so far. It’s a small and cozy studio with a friendly and welcoming crowd. Amanda Hatcher, owner and amazing teacher, offers different yoga modalities at different levels. I love Hot Hatha which is super challenging. Hatha in Sanskrit means strength and this practice focuses on balancing body and mind. Hot Power and its Vinyasas is another class I love. If I want to stretch and relax, I have several other good Gentle Yoga options there.
Yogis, as yoga practitioners are called, claim that yoga is soothing and improves overall well-being. Science is now backing up not only these but several other benefits.
After analyzing dozens of studies, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found evidence that practicing yoga is beneficial for some health conditions like depression, anxiety, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. It also helps improve sleep, neck and back pain, balance, and menopausal symptoms besides relieving overall stress.
Yoga – A Mindfulness Movement
Other forms of mindfulness movement, like Tai Chi, are likely to have similar benefits to yoga. However, for me, yoga is perfect. I keep encouraging my kids to try it because I regret not having started younger. As my so amazing and dear teacher Amanda Myers always says: every hour of yoga gives us an extra 16 days of life expectancy. The sooner you start the better!
Regardless of the kind of physical activity that pleases you, the most important thing is that you find ways to move your body! Have fun doing it. Ideally, it should be good for your body and your soul. Include whatever this activity is in your routine and flood your body with the endorphins it deserves!
Remember: Good is what makes you feel well!
To read more about the benefits of physical activity read my blog post – 10 ways to Take Care of Your Health without Spending Money.