So I’m really just getting into my yoga journey this semester as I’m enrolled in an intermediate yoga class for a credit I need for graduation. It’s funny because I never had a long-term goal or plan to continue practicing yoga once I’d gotten the physical education requirements for my first degree out of the way. After this past semester in beginning yoga, I realized positive changes in my spirit that I feel a need to continue because they’re shedding positive light on my everyday life and how I interact with those around me.
Right now I am just enjoying the exploration of the types of yoga practice and trying to find what works for me. Last semester our class instructor led us through Kundalini style yoga (http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga) which is the yoga of awareness and can provide a very interesting, but powerful experience. My instructor this semester is taking us through the Ashtanga (http://kpjayi.org/the-practice) style of yoga which focuses on vinyasas, tristhanas, and the six poisons — kama, krodha, moha, lobha, matsarya, and mada.
In comparison I feel as though Kundalini is a more powerful way of getting in tune with your spiritual being/soul. In that style we did more meditating and mantras (chants so to speak). While we did get into poses, there was no flow as there is in Ashtanga. In Ashtanga yoga, there is a set series that is gone through in the same order each session. We do some meditation, but the focus seems more along the lines of strengthening/learning to trust yourself enough to advance your postures within the sequences.
I will say that I love each of these styles of yoga because they have both taught me how to begin accepting myself for who I am and what I am capable of doing. Since my practice began in January I’ve become more positive and optimistic about life’s circumstances and myself in general.
Just a short example of what I mean: In my yoga class yesterday, I didn’t want to experiment during our “yoga fee day” because I let myself become intimidated by the young ladies around me instead of focusing on what my body could handle (we were working on inversions). By the end of class I was so worked up I wanted to cry, but instead of leaving, I decided I would wait until everyone had left to ask my instructor if she would help me work on my head stand. And of course she did! It was difficult, I admit, but I tried and the end result was a two second head stand!
It was such a feat for me as a plus size woman with little arm strength/muscular endurance to do that, yet I trusted my body for all of a couple minutes and I did! So, the yoga lesson of the day is: learn to trust your body. Don’t allow fear to keep you from reaching your potential. You’ll never know how far you can go until you let go of your apprehension and try!