As part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy there will be a free yoga session every morning at 10.15am. I have a bit of a ‘soft spot’ for yoga so this is a pretty ideal part of the programme for me so I thought I would write a little blog post to give my take on it.
Yes, I am a contemporary dancer and I find yoga to be an incredibly valuable and fulfilling part of my training, but please don’t assume that I am by any means highly skilled or knowledgeable about it. As a dancer who uses a wheelchair I must admit that prior to ‘wheeling in’ to my first every yoga class four years ago, I too was guilty of wrongly assuming that yoga was mainly about extreme stretches and getting your body into crazy positions. However, I am pleased to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Here are some of the key aspects from that first yoga class that have stayed with me:
- A yoga class is NOT a competitive environment.
- Practicing yoga is about working WITH your own body and getting to know how YOUR body works.
- The class is a time set aside to focus on you – in that moment.
- ‘Letting go’ of everything else.
- Finding versions of the postures that work for your body. Using the key principles of each posture to make any necessary adaptations.
Practising yoga aims to find a way of uniting mind, body and spirit. But alongside this, yoga is undoubtedly an unbeatable form of physical exercise that works and challenges the body. Finding your own physical journey through the postures to develop core stability, muscle tone, strength and flexibility.
There are many forms and ways of practising yoga; including Hatha, Ashtanga, Scaravelli, Vinyasa. I cannot pretend to have any theoretical knowledge of the different practices, but what I do know is the type of yoga practice that works for me and my body. And that is the best advice I can give you, find what works for you. Whether you want/need slow, calming, gentle stretches, or a more dynamic fast-paced yoga class that will contribute to your cardio fitness, there will be something for you.