My best friend is a yogi. I think it’s yogini for a female practitioner but I’ve never paid attention. Whenever I say the word ‘yogi,’ I think of those little tubs of yoghurt filled with sugar I would give to my kids to pretend I was feeding them fruit. ‘Does Saysay want mommy to give him a ‘ickle yogi?!’
My best friend takes her yoginess seriously. She runs yoga retreats and travels around Africa practicing, teaching and posting loads of pictures of people lying around looking spent on mats. Usually there are palm trees and sunsets and blue blue water and it all looks rather heavenly.
My first impression of yoga was that it was simply good for stretching after proper exercise. Basically I didn’t take it too seriously. I’d much preferred compounding my muscles and my body with weights and never really made time to stretch, let alone for dedicating my time to concentrating on breathing. How boring?!
Now, in my 40s, I’ve noticed that all that exercise without good stretching left me with injuries and almost permanent damage to my knees, my lower back and my shoulders. I knew I needed to be more supple and flexible if I wanted to still walk and be happy as an old lady. So I took it up again. Oh my goodness, how things have changed! Yoga is the new strong! There are oodles of seriously cardio intensive practices available that would put avid gym goers to shame! Tons of apps! Millions of teachers! All types of bodies in impossible positions, smiling happily in multi coloured tights! Where dafuq have I been all this time? I completely missed the yoga revolution!
So I started again, slowly. It was oh so good for my body; instead of limping out of bed, I was once again upright. My flexibility increased at the rate of knots. My knee stopped hurting. I was able to run again, and to do weights and cardio at gym without pain. I thank yoga for it all!
The more you practice yoga though, the more you start realizing that it’s not just about the body, your mind feels better too; I’ve often felt very calm after a session, with a feeling of satisfaction, I could feel my body thanking me for the twists and stretches and contortions. If Sudoku makes your brain work smarter, then yoga makes your body work and feel better.
I like to mix it up and cross train and I dedicate days of the week for full yoga sessions or I do a shorter session at gym, right after a weights workout. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made and my body looks and feels amazing.
So I call up my best friend and I say to her hey babe you’re gonna love this: I’m totally into yoga now! You can come visit and we can do it together and I won’t moan and groan anymore! And she says: great! Only… I’m more into meditation now, and I haven’t really done a lot of yoga practice lately. In fact I’ve been sitting in this one position for the past 30 minutes – she sends me a pic of her feet, heels touching, her toes splayed open dramatically. You should try it sometime, she says.
Jayzus woman, I’ve only just mastered Crow, give me a sec, will ya?!
No matter where you are in your yoga journey, you’re doing the right thing by practicing. Happy International Yoga Day!