What Yoga Means to Me by
Hi my name is Steve and I am 65 years old but still think I am in my mid-thirties. I am a very typical male ……. Into sport playing football, cricket, athletics, squash, badminton, tennis, skiing, fell-walking, climbing etc but there comes a time when having pulled, broken or stretched body parts beyond their comfort zone it may be time to take up something a little more gentle. This is where my story begins with my wife Linda persuading me to go to a beginner’s yoga course with Grace – Linda’s guru for the last 4/5 years. I made all the usual assumptions – yoga is for older people or people who don’t really want to exercise; yoga isn’t physical enough; yoga is really for women; how many men will be there? However a cold January evening found me attending my very first yoga session accompanied by my wife for moral support! And you know what – it actually wasn’t so bad! By the fourth session my preconceptions were blown away and my mind was made up – this was indeed something I could not only do but actually enjoy.
So my yoga began – right from the start Grace has shown her passion and enthusiasm and always reinforces that yoga is for everyone, the practice is individual and not a competition with the person next to you. You do what you can according to your ability and flexibility. The most surprising thing was that I learned to breathe! We all take breathing for granted but in yoga for me the breathing is as important as the move itself – get the breath right and the move is more achievable.
What yoga has brought to my life is learning to relax –perhaps 40 years late – as looking back on my life with a busy career and raising a family I didn’t realise at the time how stressful that was but yoga gives you the chance to put things into perspective. I would like to think that I am more relaxed and less stressed but Linda may not agree ……. Ha ha! Another learning point from yoga is to open your mind to other aspects of life and not be narrow-minded eg Linda even persuaded me to go to a ballet with her ….. really not my scene but it wasn’t as painful as I expected and actually it was interesting to see how many moves mirror what we try to do in yoga – but they did it so effortlessly!
I now no longer worry how many men will be at yoga – anyway me and a room full of women, how can that be bad?