Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Yoga Found Me, Part 2

Several years after my first formal yoga class I moved to a new city and ended up living right next door to a fitness club with a surprisingly great yoga program.

Yoga instructor Kirsten taught a smooth and steady Ashtanga practice I immediately fell in love with. Walking out the front door of my building, traversing the 25 yards to the club and into class left little room for excuses to miss a class, and I quickly fell into a pattern of attending three or four classes each week.

Learning the difference between dangling my arms toward the vicinity of my toes and actually touching them while engaging my mula bandha and the muscles in my back during my first few forward folds was revelational. I had never been truly in touch with my body before, and the rigorous practice with no music and very little chit chat forced me to hear my own thoughts before transitioning through that realm and into one of simply being present with the sound of my ujjayi breath joining the others in the room as we moved from pose to pose in unison under the direction of our instructor.

I think what drew me into a more consistent practice (other than the sheer convenience of it) was the feeling of being part of a group of people operating in unison, but also being allowed - encouraged, even - to focus inwardly at the same time, to develop a greater sense of mindfulness about how each movement affected sensation in the body.

Elly Haddad is a healthy life-style coordinator, combining her certifications as an Integrative Nutrition Coach and yoga instructor. She's the owner of Elemental Fit and founder of The NashWell Group, both based in Nashville, TN. She helps individuals and groups understand the important influence that diet & lifestyle have on health, happiness, and overall wellbeing. Elly is also a freelance writer and public speaker, conducting workshops and seminars throughout the midwest and southeastern US. She can be contacted directly via email here

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