Sponsored by: Harmony Yoga – 200, 3160-118 Ave SE, Calgary
Author: Helen Mikuska
How yoga changed my life
Over 20 years ago I decided to try a yoga class, mainly for what I thought at the time, was to improve my flexibility (my hips were so tight). I signed up for a class with this goal in mind, not really knowing what to expect as I hadn’t tried it before. We started the class quietly for a few moments just breathing. I remember thinking to myself, why is the yoga teacher telling us how to breathe; seemed kind of weird. I am the type of person who is always busy doing something, so to sit still for a few moments was something I had never really done before. At that time, I had already been a fitness instructor for 28 years instructing people to move, not sit. From here, yoga asanas or poses were instructed (the physical aspect of yoga) where you hold the poses with correct body alignment with again, a focus on the breath. Umm, this is what I am looking for – flexibility and we certainly did do a lot of stretching. When this portion of the class was over, we were instructed to lie supine on our mats in a resting position called Savasana (Corpse Pose).
In this pose the yoga teacher talked us through a body relaxation (Yoga Nidra), going through each body part and relaxing them, and then a visualization. I had never felt this before, how still and calm my body and mind was. I had no thoughts running through my head. I could feel myself breathing. It was totally something I had never experienced before. When the class was finished, I decided that I really didn’t come to yoga for flexibility but for relaxation. I wanted more of it! As I attended the weekly class, I found myself looking so forward to it each week. It is really hard to explain the feeling of peace that you have and this seemed to carry over into the rest of my week. From this I pursued my studies in yoga and became a yoga teacher, all because of my first yoga class and the effect it had on me. I have been instructing yoga now for 14 years (with over 3,000 hours in training) and own “Harmony Yoga Pilates Studio”. Yoga has become one of my main passions in life. Many people have this image of yoga being only for those who are super-flexible; not true. I am still working with my tight hips. Yes, yoga does increase your flexibility, but it also strengthens your muscles and bones and improves your balance and posture. But yoga can also relieve pain, improve brain function, decrease stress and relax the nervous system. What I have also noticed from yoga over the years that it leads to healthier habits and positive lifestyle changes. Make 2017 your year to discover what yoga can offer you. Open the door, come on in and find a mat. I’ll be waiting for you.