If you know us well you know we talk about Yoga (and Pilates) a lot. And I mean alot alot. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact… we both only really started practising Yoga in 2016, when we moved up to the Gold Coast from Canberra!
If you’d asked us to go to a Yoga class 5 years ago we would have been up for it but we also would have secretly been thinking ‘boring’ and ‘I’m too inflexible for that bendy stuff’ or ‘how will I be able to stop my brain thinking when we do that meditation thing?!’
Now that I’ve completed my Yoga teacher training and had the joy of creating MerryBody, I can tell you 110% Yoga is NOT boring… #fact. And so what, you’re inflexible (I prefer unflexible too but apparently that’s not a word)… that’s why we DO the Yoga. Oh and how will you stop the brain? You won’t. BUT FAR OUT does slowing the thoughts and bringing awareness to the thoughts feel like some kind of magic.
You might also like to read how I lost 8 kilos with Yoga and Pilates (but that’s not what I’m talking about! Even though it’s a win and the ONLY way I’ve ever lost weight and actually kept it off!).
And so now… if you were to come to me with those excuses about why you haven’t tried Yoga I’d say these answers back to you.
I’d also add these…
5 reasons why you should try Yoga… like TODAY!
Yoga is the best way to de-stress and slow down
Life is busy, yes? If you ever feel like you’re forever chasing your to-do list or that there’s just never enough hours in the day (um, like all the time!)… it’s time you got yourself to a yoga class. The whole philosophy behind yoga is that yoga can only happen in the ‘now’. It only exists in the present moment. Which is like ummm, life in general. Life ain’t happening in the past, it ain’t happening in the future… it’s happening NOW.
This knowing and this teaching (and definitely this AHA!) is de-stressing in itself. It’s like oh yeah, how about I just focus on this minute, instead of trying to be two steps ahead all of the time?
PLUS when you spend an hour focusing so intently on your breath, your body will destress itself (this is scientifically proven, when you breathe in and out through your nose, this promotes your parasympathetic nervous system to switch on!). So rather than living your life in fight or flight (like most of us do), yoga allows us to fall into mode: rest and digest. Ahhh. Life never felt so good!
Yoga allows you to live in the present moment and promotes clarity of the mind
As I said above… yoga can only happen in the NOW, the present moment. I’m sure you’ve heard or read about mindfulness somewhere, well THIS is yoga. When you’re trying to balance on one leg it’s pretty hard to think about anything else. Which means… if we’re thinking about the breath and the whole balancing on one leg thing, every other thought slips away. You know those thoughts where you’re running scenarios around and around in your head from the past? Or maybe you’re thinking about what’s for dinner? YES those thoughts do creep back in when you’re practicing yoga but you’re quickly reminded to come back to the present moment when you fall on your face (ok yes, this has happened to me like once… and yes I’m being dramatic) or when you realise you missed the cue for the next pose.
Yoga is all about tuning in to how your body feels in the postures. It’s not about what it looks like AT ALL, this practise again allows you to become present. Like right now, do me a favour… close your eyes and hold out your hands, then try to feel the energy in your hands. Feels like tingles right? And when you focus on your body and how it feels, you allow yourself to become present, your mind clears… and yes… you feel REALLY good.
The more you practise being present and mindful the more clarity of thought you will have. The less ‘stuff’ will bother you. Oh you got the red light… oh well all is well, here I am, it is now. Oh you got a last minute email on a Friday night? Oh well, all is well, I’ll get to that when I get to that.
Yoga releases muscular AND emotional tension
Did you know that when we hold onto emotion (energy IN motion) that it can find spots in the body to become stagnant? If you’ve ever done a yoga class you may have heard your teacher talk about this. I know for me… I ALWAYS talk about the hips and how we need to stretch these out (I’d say daily) to ensure we release the muscles that are tight from sitting all day PLUS all that emotion we accidentally held onto from 2 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 minutes ago. In western society, it’s pretty normal to hold on to our emotions. We hold in our anger, our sadness… heck sometimes even our happiness! This energy needs to go somewhere and quite often it will find a home in the hips!
Maybe for you it’s your shoulders? Or your back? Where ever you might be feeling it just know that it’s usually not JUST your muscles (unless you’ve like run a marathon or something!). It’s usually some form of emotion you haven’t released! I’ve had moments in Yoga classes where I’ve cried, where I’ve felt SO angry and when I’ve burst out laughing for no apparent reason. But the action of stretching out the body and breathing deeply allows this stagnant energy to get moving again. It allows it to be released out of the body leaving you feeling much better than when you walked into the class (or your living room if you’re doing an at home practice!).
Yoga is not a competition
One thing I love about Yoga is that the whole idea behind it is to release the ego. You know that voice in your head that says you’re not good enough/not pretty enough/not flexible enough? It’s also that voice that might say oh I can do that better than them/why am I not like her more?/I wish I was more… ok you get it. And I KNOW we’ve all had these thoughts before.
Yoga doesn’t get rid of the ego all together but does allow your soul, your truth to speak up a little louder. So when these thoughts come back, your soul/your truth speaks up and makes them quiet again. This is Yoga.
This is what we talk a lot about in MerryBody. It’s all about ACCEPTANCE. Even if you want to make a change to your situation, to your body, to your practice we must first ACCEPT where we are at and THEN decide on the action to create the change. Otherwise, we’ll always be grasping for more. More. More. And aren’t we already enough? Aren’t we already whole and complete? The answer is yes. A million yesses.
Yoga isn’t a competition. Not with others and not even with yourself. It’s about showing up with an enthusiasm to do your absolute best for THAT DAY. Remember, Yoga can only happen in the now, so even if we can do a headstand today, just remember that tomorrow might be different. And either way, doing a headstand or NOT doing a headstand doesn’t make you better or worse. It most certainly doesn’t make you a kinder, more loving human, it simply means: cool, you can do a headstand. The goal is to try our best and that’s all we can ever ask ourselves.
Oh, well ain’t that a nice life lesson?
Promotes better posture (perfect for desk workers) PLUS it’s for all ages, sizes and abilities (YOGA IS FOR EVERY BODY!)
I don’t know about you but good posture is such a nice feeling. When you stand up tall, with your shoulders down and relaxed, heart open, life feels like it flows better. We all spend too much time driving, working at our desks and on our phones. We are forever hunching slightly (or a lot) forward. This creates that slumpy posture, rounded slouchy shoulders plus neck and shoulder pain. Ouch.
When we hold our head in a neutral (not slumpy slouchy) position our head weighs about 5 kgs but when we slouch forward 30 degrees it weighs about 20 kgs and then if we slouch 60 degrees it weighs about 30 kgs! If you suffer from neck or back pain, your posture could be the culprit!
Yoga creates GOOD posture. It’s not only about strengthening the muscles to hold us up nice and strong but also about lengthening and opening the muscles to make us feel at ease and comfortable in our posture. The perfect combination I might say!
But probably my all time favourite thing about Yoga is that it doesn’t discriminate against size, shape, age or abilities. We have women and kiddies taking part in our MerryBody program from ages 3 up to 75! How much you weigh means nothing in Yoga, as I said, it’s about showing up and giving your best for that moment, that day, that session. One thing I always like to make sure of is that I give options in all my classes… more difficult and easier options… some days I’ll take the ‘easier’ option, some days the more ‘difficult’. It doesn’t make me a better human, it just means I’m tuning into how I feel today and honoring my body. That’s what MerryBody is all about, learning to accept the body we are in, learning to love the way we move, learning to be grateful for our bodies and the amazing way it takes us on life’s journey.
So if you’re wondering if it’s time to try Yoga? I say YES, yes it is.
Our next round of MerryBody starts soon, and you can read more about it here. It’s a 4 week online Yoga, Pilates and Positive Mindset program to completely change the way you workout… AND the way you feel about yourself.
It will take you from self-hate/self-loathe to self-respect and self-love. I’m beyond excited to welcome you in and share all the Yoga magic with you. And I KNOW Merry Emmy is excited to share all the Pilates magic with you!
This is what Maree said (one of our students from MerryBody 1 and 2!)
“I had the best time doing MerryBody 1 and 2. I learned so much more than just doing an amazing Pilates and Yoga workout. Spending time focusing on my mental wellbeing was what I had been missing for so long. Now I can feel joy and gratitude every day, by changing the way I think and finding the positive in every moment. I am perfectly imperfect though and sometimes forget, but it doesn’t take long for me to remember to focus on the now, and to let go of any negative emotions.I feel like I am being a better mother to my 3 gorgeous kids, now that I have spent time on myself and knowing how to let go of stress and negative influences in my life.”
Come join us on this epic journey <3