We all have our beliefs but also our disbeliefs, those things that you refuse to accept as true because you’ve never experienced them and, no matter what others say, you refuse to shift your stance. I’m as guilty as the next person. Take yoga for example. I never believed that yoga could be beneficial even though people are always proclaiming the advantages of its practice. Just the placebo effect, my cynical brain told me, and it was certainly cynicism that I was feeling when I set off for my first yoga class. I mean, how could a little bit of stretching into peculiar positions followed by lying down on a scuffed and smelly floor help the body, let alone the mind? It was the high impact stuff that made the difference, not balancing on your hands and feet whilst pushing your bottom into the air. But I was curious to see what all the fuss was about, so off I went at the end of a really overloaded, stressful week, irritated that I had allowed myself to be sucked in to spending my time on this when I could be ploughing through my to-do list or catching up on the sleep I’d lost to a string of late nights spent trying to get through my workload. Clenched teeth, raised heart rate, psyched up with nervous anxiety, brought down by exhaustion, I really didn’t have the time for this.
Ninety minutes later, I walked out – did I say walked? I mean floated. Ninety minutes later, I floated out, my body light but paradoxically strong, a relaxation hormone coursing through my veins transporting well-being around my body, and my mind refusing to focus on the problems that had been consuming me all week. It just couldn’t locate them, they’d faded into insignificance, all importance washed away like writing in the sand. Relaxed yet strong, peaceful yet energised, mind empty yet sharp and ready, I felt overwhelming contentment, receptiveness, openness, acceptance. How could a bit of stretching and relaxing have brought me to this? I don’t know but it had.
So if you have ever thought of trying yoga but have held back for whatever reason, then find a class and give it a go. I had thought that I didn’t have time for yoga in my busy-busy, rush-rush life but now I don’t have time not to experience its extraordinary power. Yoga doesn’t take up your time, it gives you more: more time, more contentment, more vitality.