Yoga: I took up yoga through curiosity and now it’s the highlight of my week by Ellie Manners

Ellie in IndiaI took up yoga because I was curious about the way spirituality could be a practical and physical thing and had been reading about it for years, but never tried anything for myself. I was interested in learning to breathe more deeply as I often breathe shallow when I am stressed and noticed a pain developing in my chest. I like many in this modern day, struggle to relax and get anxious which holds me back from getting the best out of my experience of life. I have always loved exercise and stretching and find I can lose myself in an hour of focused exercise which in itself is therapeutic!

I started experimenting with yoga when I went to India to travel but became disillusioned by the countless “gurus” and styles I came across that frankly, were invasive and aggressive and certainly not useful for someone who wants to have a job, relationships, hobbies and not just retreat to an ashram for life. Since starting Nicola’s class I have felt refreshed. This is not just exercise like pilates or working out, but there’s none of the spiritual snobbery I got fed up with before. Nicola is down to earth and expresses herself as both a teacher and a student of yoga. She has an honest approach which is comforting for someone who finds themselves stood on the alien environment of a yoga mat for the first time. The class is an opportunity to take time out for myself and press the pause button to reflect on my week. I think people are looking for an experience of life and not a direct answer. Yoga is not an answer but a tool to help that experience be more fulfilling, juicier!

Yoga doesn’t need to make people feel alienated, excluded or part of a cult! I love the class; I can honestly say it has been a highlight for me of my week since I started coming a few months ago. Nicola is sensitive and disciplined with her teaching and has a warmth that sets the atmosphere for the class.

With the combination of yoga, mindfulness practices and breathing exercises, I am getting better at relaxing and becoming more aware of my body and what I feel on a daily basis. This is useful because it helps you slow down and take a more balanced approach to situations that in the past I would react to negatively. I love that I can already see some benefits and know that at the same time there is so much more to be gained from keeping yoga in my life.  I really believe with yoga, that even an ounce of practice will bring you some benefits, and this motivates me to carry on exploring it. I want to say thank you to Nicola, whose class has been a joy to attend.  It has helped take the threatening aspect of spirituality and yoga away for me. Light and love all!