I’v tried yoga before, however it was always halfheartedly. Part of it was because I thought of it as exercise, and the other part – though I didn’t know it at the time – was because I hadn’t found the right style of yoga for me. Once I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) I started to consider yoga being part of my lifestyle. Since making that lifestyle commitment, I have practiced for months at a time, however I have moved every six months for the last four years, so it still has been very difficult to practice regularly. Over the last 2 years practicing yoga has been something I’ve really enjoyed and I find it really easy to get to my mat. Every time I fall out of practice, I think that I missed yoga or wonder when I’ll next start; then when I start again and I’m in class, we start moving through poses and it hits me, just how much I needed it and that feeling reminds me how much I love it. When we moved to Auckland in December, it was top of my priority list to find a yoga studio and by April I had started.
I’m not an advanced yogi by any stretch of the imagination but I am where I need to be right now in my practice. It means that I can still be ambitious about where I’d like to take my practice, but I don’t have to beat myself up that I’m not there yet. It means that I can smile as I fall out of balancing postures that just the day before I was able to hold. It means that I can try a new pose, have zero expectation to nail it first go, and just be excited that I was able to figure out how the heck to get into that position.
Yoga has meant that I’m not being as hard on myself and as a result on others. It also has given me back my confidence with movement and strength after getting my RA, and for that reason alone, I will continue to dedicate 1 out 24 hrs a day at getting on the mat.