Stressed about upcoming deadlines or the already fast-piling lecture notes when it seems as if the next semester started just yesterday? Worried about the winter-blues weight gain that refuses to budge or the sub-zero temperatures which stand steadfast, forcing you to skip your morning run? Have you just started a new job this year and finding all those late nights catching up with you? A constant back-ache or pain nagging at you throughout the day from all your hard work and endeavours from the previous day.
Well, while I might not have the remedy for all of that, I can suggest something that helps!
Now you might be wondering what on earth this is. Yoga that requires stretching and breathing? Yes, my first impression of yoga had been the same. But to what extent can a first impression, a hearsay comment about something accurately describe it? Surely not more than a single chord could say about Beethoven or a coffee bean could say about the freshly brewed cup of coffee it was destined to become ground into? Therefore, putting aside any previous prejudices, I decided to try yoga with an open heart and mind.
In all honesty, it was with some trepidation that I made my way to Foundation on a chilly Monday evening. I had not the faintest idea what to expect. “Vinyasa” is Sanskrit for “movement;” it is progression of different poses which flow effortlessly into one another. You will be guided from one movement to the next, whilst focussing on your breathing to calm your mind, body and ethereal thoughts. Seems simple enough, I thought to myself as I rolled out my yoga mat, poised and ready to begin.
Focussing on my breathing, as we lay in corpse pose, I found it surprisingly hard to breathe and think of nothing except my own stillness especially with a whirlwind of thoughts impinging upon my mind. As we began different poses and I took deep restorative breathes, that is exactly what I began to feel; restored. An ebb of energy that I never knew existed within my tired Monday evening body, began to flow through me. Rejuvenating, restoring and repairing my cells and body. All I can say is that a kind of peace washed over me.
The stillness of the room, the golden aura of light being emanated from the many candles instilled a tranquillity. Incense diffused around the room, filling the room with sweetness. It was as if my senses were suddenly heightened. I could really feel and connect with everything in the room. Even my limbs and my body as I stretched and strained myself into some awkward angles felt in harmony with one another. I made different shapes with my arms and legs, stretching out my back entirely and then suddenly everything felt loose and slack. Any stiffness or soreness left my body. I felt unburdened, exultant even and very content.
Now I know that for some cardio addicts, yoga flow might seem a bit slow-paced, but it can be used as a great recovery. I myself, as a taekwondo athlete found that it did just that and I must admit holding certain poses for a count of three breaths does strengthen your muscles as you contract and hold them. Not just does vinyasa yoga leave you with a sense of calm, energetic yet relaxed body and elated mind but it has a countless number of benefits. Let me name a few if you are still undecided whether to come down here next Monday for your weekly yoga session!
7 Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
- Eases anxiety and depression. It enables you to focus better at work and in daily life.
- Great workout for your entire body not just one muscle group, which means you burn more calories as well as keeping all your joints mobile and healthy.
- A natural detox. It increases your blood flow which helps get rid of toxins, reducing inflammation and any soreness in your muscles or joints.
- Holding yoga poses strengthens your muscles adding more definition which you can proudly flaunt especially in your yoga pants or muscle tank.
- Increases your energy levels making you happier and less fatigued with your daily routine.
- Innumerable health benefits by boosting your immune system. In a 2014 study, International Journal of Yoga, it was reported that regular yoga reduced migraines as well as being improving cardiovascular health which has numerous long-term health advantages such as improvement in cardiovascular disease and cancerous symptoms.
- It is calming and rewarding. Some exercises can be challenging but as you practise them, grasp them and then finally master them I must admit it is a very humbling feeling.
But I am just naming a few benefits of vinyasa yoga, to comprehend its entire affects you will have to come try it for yourself!
Foundation Coffee House offers weekly yoga sessions on Monday evenings from 7-8pm. For only £9 you can hire a yoga mat, embrace the yoga experience as well as treat yourself to a free refreshing cold drink after your workout. So why not come and give it a try? Release all your stresses, tribulations and fire up your motivation to help you shape a fantastic week ahead.
Written by Pooja Vadhva