How Yoga Changed My Life

I remember my first yoga class at my local gym, I was fifteen. I thought yoga was all about bending, touching your toes, getting into different positions - in essence, a fancy word for a stretch. Oh how wrong I was!
However, at that point in my life I wanted a 'gym body.' Yoga got pushed aside and I trained to the point of exhaustion. I ended up in a bad place, physically and mentally.

I look back at that time and just wish I could tell myself life isn't about having abs like Jessica Ennis or a bum like Kim K. It's not about taking the perfect angled picture for Instagram or trying to compete with the latest bikini pic that so-and-so just posted. It's all about you, accepting who and what you are. Which is where yoga comes in to play.

Yoga has had a huge benefit on all aspects of my life, mentally, physically, spiritually, socially etc.
"How?" you ask, "Aren't you just bending over doing some pose named after an animal?" Yes, don't get me wrong, this is partly what you do in yoga however, the poses are about 30% of the practice. The rest happens in your mind, both on and off the mat. "It's not about touching your toes it's what you learn on the way down."

Yoga is a form of meditation; you move with the breath. You are the breath, expressing yourself in a flow of movement.
Meditation - now you're picturing someone sat on a cushion, omming for hours with their thumb and index finger touching. Don't get me wrong, people do meditate like that but it's been westernised to fit in with our culture. Take mindfulness for example, a stem of meditation that you can carry out literally through anything, anywhere. So why not give it a go, you've got nothing to lose. Plus, who wouldn't want to take part in an exercise that has many benefits to the mind, body and spirit?

Yoga is for ANYONE. You don't have to be flexible. That's like saying I can't swim so I'm not taking swimming lessons. Where's the logic?
Practicing yoga can increase your flexibility and strength and improve your balance and posture. You can be whatever shape or size to start yoga. That's another thing, you do yoga and yes it may help tone you  or in my case make your bum peachy  but that's not the drive. The drive, for me, is to be the best person I can be. And that's not to get in the 'best shape', because who gives a damn what shape you are? Who cares if you have wobbly bits? Your body is such an amazing thing and I wish people would begin to see that. All I want is to be happy and find peace.
I'm at a stage in my life now where I'd much prefer to be complimented on my state of happiness, my positivity and mental strength rather than my body looking fit, toned, or slim.

Through my yoga practice, I found myself. So cliche but it's true, without yoga I wouldn't be where I am today. I've learnt an awful lot about myself and enlightened myself to the purpose, essentially of what matters and what doesn't in life. I do believe however, this is only the start of my spiritual journey and that excites me greatly.

Which is why, I have enrolled onto a yoga teacher training course next year. To share my love for yoga and to potentially change all of your lives!


Lucy Steel

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