Is yoga right for me?

"I feel very lucky I had the opportunity to spend my holidays together with your yoga practice.

I had 20 lessons during the 30 days of my vacation and I feel that this “concentrated” yoga practice together with Kerry’s knowledge of teaching yoga made the difference, at least for me!

During that period I felt full of energy, had the joy to do many things, generally I experienced more “happiness” than before in every aspect I was seeing life (something like taking anti-depression pills-even though I have never taken but I suppose it must be something like that), I had more “clear” view for many things as if I was looking from another point of view. Sometimes I was feeling more sensitive but not in a “negative” way! Generally, I enjoyed very much every lesson and I found it different every time. I was never bored and I was always expecting for our next lesson!

Of course I don’t “underestimate” the change of my physical status and the fact  that I was feeling like if I had assistance in my effort to stick to my healthier nutrition program! Returning in Athens many people told me I was looking “healthier”!

Hoping to keep all these positive feelings, I’m going to continue doing yoga and I’m looking forward to my future yoga practice!"

All the best!

NAMASTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Katerina

 

Many people take up yoga when some recurring or chronic condition makes  life uncomfortable. I first took it up because I was suffering ( at various times) with shoulder, knee and back problems. I thought that yoga might help. I associated yoga with being supple and flexible but my understanding of it was very superficial. I was very lucky to have landed at the doorstep of some wonderful teachers who have guided my yoga journey.

At one time even coughing could dislocate my arm from my shoulder joint. The orthopedicl specialist who examined me suggested surgery and metal pins. The result would be limited mobility and so I would not have been able to do many of the sports that I enjoyed at the time. It was then that I decided to look at yoga a little more seriously. My shoulder is now absolutely fine with full mobility and I have never had the problem recur. Over the years, yoga has also sorted out chronic lower back problems and even varicose veins and loss of hair! It has made me calmer and more even tempered. I find yoga is an aspect of my life that is constant where all else might be in flux.
 
Yoga’s roots stretch back over 5000 years ago. Stone seals found in the Indus Valley show figures in yoga positions. The first written records of yoga date back to about 200 B.C. in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras consists of 195 concise sayings on how to live our life and covers such areas as ethics, moral behaviour, as well as physical postures, meditation and breathing exercises.
 
The yoga we are familiar with is the physical aspect of this philosophy. Don’t worry though; you don’t have to be involved in yoga philosophy or deep spiritual practice if you take it up. Yoga is suitable whatever your religious background.
 
Although an ancient practise, yoga has much relevance today. It is the perfect antidote to our busy lifestyles and the physical and mental stress that results. Sitting at a desk or in a car for hours every day can lead to back, neck and shoulders problems. It is not just adults who suffer. TVs, computers and electronic games can hold us in unnatural postural positions for long periods of time. Ask the average teenage boy to touch his toes and they will be lucky if they get past their knees. Our bodies were not designed to be kept in sedentary positions for hours. In Asian countries where people still sit cross-legged and squat they are much more flexible in the hips, spine, knees and ankles and therefore suffer fewer of those problems.
 
There is a style of yoga that will be just right for you whatever your age, sex or physical ability. The important thing is that you choose a style of yoga that suits your personality, needs and lifestyle. Find a knowledgeable teacher, sensitive to your needs and who is accredited. Training for teachers varies according to the style of yoga and can vary from a few weeks training to rigourous two or three year training courses.
 
Iyengar yoga is named after its founder who has been elevated to the position of national treasure in India. It can be strong, with great emphasis on alignment and precision in the poses. It also uses props such as blocks, belts and blankets to help with the proper alignment of the body and allows the student to experience the pose. Teachers are trained to assist the student overcome physical difficulties and help them enter the poses in a safe manner.
 
Ashtanga yoga, which is sometimes wrongly referred to as power yoga, is an athletic, flowing style of yoga. The breath is an integral part of this style as you flow from one pose to another in a set sequence of postures. It generates a great deal of body heat and sweat which helps the student enter the postures and also helps detoxify the body.
 
Hatha yoga classes are yoga classes that teach physical postures. All physical yoga is hatha yoga but generally this term refers to classes run by British wheel of yoga trained teachers.
 
Ananda yoga uses gentle poses and is a gentle meditative, inward-looking style of yoga.
 
Sivananda yoga combines physical postures working around 12 basic postures with breathing exercises, relaxation, diet and positive thinking. It can also include meditation and chanting.
 
Vini yoga develops a personal practise that incorporates postures, breathing and meditation as well as ritual and prayer. The amount of each of these aspects changes as a person grows in age and their needs change and grow. Therefore a younger person will practice the physical aspects more strongly, whereas an older student will have the emphasis more on spiritual realization.
 
Yoga can be started at any age. In a ‘beginner’s class’ you will find people ranging from 15 – 70 and from the naturally flexible to the very stiff. Yoga is non-competitive and you practise according to your abilities. The majority of people who practise yoga are women. It can be practised by people of all ages. Click here to see 93 year old Tao Porchon Lynch still practising yoga.
 
There has been much scientific research of the health benefits of yoga. It includes an improvement in the cardio vascular, endocrine, digestive and other systems.   It can benefit women with menstrual problems, menopause and during pregnancy. There is an increasing amount of scientific research on the benefits but the real proof is in the personal experience of those who practise it. 
 
Personally I have experienced real physical and mental benefits. I now no longer suffer from lower back problems and my knees haven’t looked back! I have also gained 2 cms in height because of my improved posture. It has helped me become a calmer person more able to cope with life but it hasn’t come quickly. Yoga is not a quick fix but a lifelong journey, although you will feel great benefits from the very beginning.
 

Kerry Kousiounis

See our Yoga Holidays for 2015
 

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