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Therapeutic Yoga Follow-up

I’ve just spent the weekend on a Therapeutic yoga course. The course has introduced me to a clinical approach to yoga exercises, and I spent the weekend practising and teaching therapeutic stretches, breathing exercise, and some mindful meditation techniques.

I decided to go on this course for personal benefit and to be able to share some of the techniques and stretches with my class. Exploring more about yoga has been a real eye-opener for me. Firstly, like many, I’ve seen the images of young, flexible beautiful people, in scenic places, contorted into very difficult and awkward looking postures. You’ve all likely seen the perfectly timed photographs, where the sun is setting behind the sea, and the model looks in a state of unobtainable tranquillity. Well, I will never be that person! But in reality, there are some great stretches which can benefit the body in terms of strengthening, stretching, breathing and mobilisation.

I really feel there is a benefit to adopting some of the relaxation and breathing techniques. I am a very “on the go” type person; normally if I have a bit of time I will fill it with something, and find myself rushing from one thing to the other. I often end up not enjoying those things, because stress levels have built up because I have taken on too much! I’ve realised that I can’t do everything. It takes time, effort, and energy to be a mother, to do my day job, and to run a business. I love these things, but in order to give my best, I also need to take time out for myself, to give me balance insight, and a sense of calm for periods of my day. Mindfulness and meditation is such a great way to take time out, let the mind settle, and just be present in that moment.

It amuses me that human beings were once scratching around in forests, channelling their efforts into basic human needs such as hunting for food, building shelters, and perhaps socialising and raising offspring. Modern life, with all of its technological advances, has left us racing around, planning ahead, multi-tasking, and often living on auto-pilot, and many of us are absorbed in social media. It’s a real sensory overload, and our brains are often overwhelmed.

The body benefits from movement, the mind from being still

We’re certainly getting better at understanding the benefits of exercise, and the importance of our physical well being. But with mental health problems on the rise, isn’t it time we started to think more about helping our minds? Isn’t it time we started “being instead of doing”, and being content with what we already have, all around us, at that moment? If this is something that appeals to you, you might be interested in exploring mindfulness. And for those of you that like evidence-based research, the good news is mindfulness does have evidence to support it! On a final note, for those who say “I’d like to do it but haven’t got time”, I’d challenge that. You have, but you may need to change your way of thinking a little and make that time a priority. This is what I have done. And incidentally, studies have shown that practising mindfulness can make us more productive, so it’s a win-win!