Self Improvement: Trying Yoga

I’ve gotten a little “soft” lately, as we say here in Ireland. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m fat but my “edges” have “rounded out” a little, and not in a good way.

There are a few things that prevent me from exercising:

  • I have rheumatoid arthritis. For the most part I have it under control and my flare ups seem to be isolated to the early months of the year (February to May), with only the odd day or so in between. Some days I can’t walk, other days I’m like a panther. It leaves me a wee bit disheartened to say the least, and obviously lethargy can take over when you can’t move any of your joints more than about 20%.
  • I work a lot. You’d think I’d be loaded but no. I work in my secretarial job in the Senate 3 days a week. I’m also doing a digital marketing internship, and of course I work as a freelance photographer too. None of these jobs pay me well but they all work me very hard, leaving me tired in both body and mind. There’s just not enough hours in each day.
  • I just finished a Masters which ate up most of my time when I wasn’t working.
  • I live next to a busy road, so going for a run through fumes doesn’t leave you feeling very healthy.

My boyfriend suggested that we go to a Yoga place he saw recently that was €89/month. I absolutely can’t afford that but I kept the idea going in a little carousel in my head for a few weeks. When I got an email about unlimited membership to Yoga Ireland in Ranelagh for €29/month I straight away decided to buy three months worth, which was the max allowed. My boyfriend bought one month and so we tried it last week for the first time.

Roy Griffin was the instructor, and he was very understanding that a lot of people, like ourselves, were completely new to Yoga. He spent about 15 minutes explaining the whole thing to us and helping people to get a grasp of the philosophies to expect. It all seemed a bit wishy washy and even religious for me, but I was more than willing to give it a try. We started with relaxation and went on to do sun salutations, which are much harder than you might think. My wrists are very weak from the arthritis but I definitely felt like they were strengthened from these exercises. Much of the stuff we tried was difficult but not impossible. The class was meant to be 90 minutes long but ended up lasting about an hour longer than that! Great value!

We went again on Monday and we had a different instructor this time. She was different but also very good. I felt she pushed us more physically. I still feel like she pushed us more physically. The pain! Last night we went to Roy again and he was great. He goes into a lot more about mindfulness, awareness, centering etc, and I don’t feel the burn after it quite as much. My body feels great though. Just one week and it feels a thousand times better. If I keep this up I could avoid arthritic flare ups altogether.

It absolutely is a great way to relax and exercise at the same time. As for the spiritual side of it, it’s very individual and internal. I’m not sure that I could subscribe to all of it but the techniques are interesting and effective so I’ll definitely be giving this a proper go for a while.

You never know, it could end up being a big part of my life. We’ll just see.

Be sure to comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

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