What yoga can do for you
PUBLISHED: 06:48 05 June 2020
If you’re tired of feeling anxious, then yoga may be the workout for you
It seems most people are embracing working out at home, with the likes of Joe Wicks and countless other fitness influencers gracing our screens. The focus is usually on HIIT workouts – high intensity interval training – which for the uninitiated to the fitness world can be daunting, exhausting and sometimes painful. Exercise is good for both the body and the mind, and it is something we should all be doing. But there are so many options out there to suit everyone’s individual needs, and one which can help with those who want to bring an element of calm into their lives is yoga.
Yoga is ideal for everyone of all ages and physical abilities: it’s not all about stretching your body into extreme positions. Yoga involves deep breathing, focusing on postures and calming the mind. Each practice can be tailor made specifically for you. It’s not listening to outside noise or competing with anyone else, just focusing on what you need to be calm and anxious-free.
The positive physical and mental benefits of yoga have been weaving their way through history for thousands of years – a personal yoga practice can help you to connect to your inner spirit through breathing exercises, movement and meditation. There are a wide variety of physical benefits to practicing yoga, including increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone as well as improved respiration, energy and vitality – something we could all do with.
Julie Rowland, a Chingford local, has been practicing yoga for 15 years and runs a yoga school called Me Julie Yoga. She believes that in a fast-paced and ever-changing world, the ability to stay in the present moment is vital for our overall wellbeing. Julie, like many other yoga teachers, believes that yoga has a place in helping with mental health, anxiety, depression and mindfulness. “My personal practice has given me the ability to self-regulate my emotions through breath control – something we are all our own masters of – build upon my resilience physically and emotionally through physical postures, and connect to my true self whilst working on aspects of myself through meditation.” Julie showcases all the positive aspects that yoga practice offers through her classes, which she has now taken online due to the current situation. “Regular yoga practice, even 15-30 minutes three times a week, will allow you to bring to your mat whatever you are feeling presently – physically and emotionally, it will give you the space and the freedom to feel a sense of release from past experiences and from future anxieties.
“Drawing on the yamas and niyamas from the ancient vedic scripts (codes of conducts and principles) can help cultivate the ability to build on resilience, patience, compassion and kindness,” Julie explains. “Mindfulness can also be a key component to your practice that can help you to take a step back from your thoughts and feelings and to notice them as just that, and build on the ability to always know you have a still, quiet, calm place to retreat to, no matter what the external circumstances may be. It can also help you come to trust your life path and let go of outcomes.”
With the world trying to adapt to the new normal during lockdown, it is understandable people feel anxious and want to bring a sense of calmness to their world and to cultivate an inner peace, which is why practising yoga can prove useful. “Personal practice can also offer a place of solace and comfort when needed. There is no need for anything other than yourself and a mat.”
After qualifying as a children’s and adult yoga teacher in 2019, Julie is now continuing her yoga journey with studies with The Minded Institute, a personal journey she has embarked on in becoming a yoga therapist. “Yoga transformed my life and my life path, so I encourage people to give it a go,” Julie says. “If you are curious enough, I invite it to transform yours.”
Julie is currently hosting online yoga classes on Zoom. For more information contact her on 07721 604143 or firstname.lastname@example.org