There’s no doubt that exercise is the key to a healthy mind and body. But let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for an energetic workout regime. Perhaps the gentler pace of Yoga could be that happy medium you are looking for?
Melanmag.com contributor, Jodine Williams, was recently commissioned to take some professional shots of Yogi Lee to showcase some of her yoga skills at Hampstead Heath, London and took the opportunity to ask about her love of yoga.
Why did you decide to start practising yoga?
To be honest, I kind of “fell into” yoga. I went to the gym for a body pump class, and when I arrived, I found out my intended class had been cancelled. The only other class on that afternoon, was a dynamic yoga class, and I thought “fine! I’m here now. I may as well just do it!” It was a revelation! After that first class I felt exhilarated. Before I tried yoga, I had always liked my fitness activities to be fast paced, and high energy like H.I.T.T classes, spin classes, running etc. I had the notion that yoga was very slow paced, and was too boring to be enjoyable, or even effective. Thankfully, I was wrong. I’ve been practising yoga for almost two years now.
Where do you actually go to practise?
I tend to do classes at my gym (gymbox), as well as Indaba Yoga, which is a dedicated a yoga studio. Aside from that, I also try to self-practise throughout the week. All in all, although it may vary slightly, I tend to get in a practise at least four times a week.
What are the health benefits?
Goodness, where to start?! The health benefits are endless. Yoga can be closely likened to callisthenics, as the practise involves a lot of body weight movements and balances. As such, it’s a very effective way to build physical strength. But, for myself, the largest benefit wasn’t so much the physical well-being, as the positive influence it’s had on my mental and emotional well-being. I always say that yoga “quietens my mind”, and that is a sentiment I’ve heard repeated by so many other yogis.
Can anyone do it?
Absolutely anyone. The most common concern people have voiced to me with regard to starting yoga is that they feel that they “aren’t flexible enough”. In truth, this doesn’t matter. You start to become flexible through your practise. Flexibility isn’t a prerequisite to starting a regular yoga practise, and it isn’t the end goal either.
What’s your daily yoga routine?
I start my days with a few minutes of visualisation and meditation, as well as some gentle stretching. I also end my day the same way. Aside from that, I make sure I get to a class, or do a proper practise myself at least four times a week.
What changes have you seen in yourself since you started?
Physically, I am the strongest I have ever been. But, the largest change centres on how I feel. Yoga is essentially a meditative practise and I have found a lot of peace on my yoga mat.