photo credit: Stuart F Taylor, Illustrator & Writer, London UK
Often times when you’re feeling down, flat, achy… or in some way in pain or uncomfortable, yoga can help you feel better. Many of us have experienced this ‘change’ yoga brings from the start of the class when you arrive to the end when you relax. Taller, happier, more aligned.
Whether it’s the space to breathe, the “me time” or the physical stretches you need – yoga has got the goods.
“Ahh I feel great. Looser in my body and calmer in my mind.”
Not every time, of course. There are times the mat just holds you (your emotions and feelings) and offers you a break. Not to be in any particular way, but that that you are. I’ve also heard students say:
“I don’t feel good, just a bit better.” or “Well, I’m not disappointed…”
And that’s OK too. It’s OK not to feel great after every yoga session! This cannot be the expectation. Sometimes you will, and sometimes you won’t. Yoga (or anything for that matter) is not a ‘cure all’ or a remedy for all of our aches and pains, illnesses and dis-ease. However, that said, it’s no lie that yoga can help a darn lot of people. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it and more and more studies are emerging offering us proof.
Feel good tool box
So, yoga can be one way to help you feel better. It may be a go-to tool that you use to lift your spirit or take away the soreness in your back. It’s nice to have a tool kit. A mix of things you can do to boost feel-good, and therefore the quality of your life. Everyone’s tool box will look a bit different.
And I’m curious – what do you couple your yoga with to help you feel good? What else contributes to your mental, physical and emotional health?
I asked my students this question, and here’s what they said:
“Apart from yoga, I dance tango (not very well!) and sometimes salsa (also not very well!). For me, dancing is a form of mindfulness. It’s the one thing that takes my mind off everything. A regular dose is more about keeping a healthy mind than a healthy body. It always makes me feel good.” Yoga Student
“In addition to my yoga, I attend outdoor exercise classes on Jesus Green – as well as being physically challenging, I get a simple child-like pleasure from running around in a park getting covered in mud! I also enjoy rock-climbing. I find the feeling of moving over rock meditative and mentally all-consuming – when mind and body are flowing together, there’s nothing like it to clear the head and make me feel good.” Claire Davey, Business Support Officer, OCR, Cambridge
and fellow yoga teacher Nadia Cowlan (Ananda Bliss) too:
“Alongside Yoga, I generally seem to do a lot of gigging and enjoying the little things in life, yep very cliche! I love long walks with my dog ‘Bear’, and also spend time composing. I’m working towards an album of Yoga inspired music at present.” Nadia Cowlan, Yoga Teacher & Compulsive Giggler
Lovely! A real combination. As for me, I like walking and attend a weekly counseling session. Both activities offer a space for me to breathe and process how I feel in a healthy way. The fresh air, I find soothing and talking things through in a contained environment, very therapeutic. Without a doubt, these practices lead to a clearer, calmer mind.
Yoga and … (fill in the gap)
Now, over to you. What practices/activities do you do alongside your yoga that help you feel good? Do share so we can inspire each other in offering our suggestions, as well as acknowledge to ourselves the things that we do in contribution to our health and well-being.