When I was first diagnosed with RA I started going to hot yoga in London. I loved it. I was really into it to the point where I was structuring my whole day around the practice. I did at least two “monthly challenges” at the time, where you try to attend a class every day for one full month. One time I did all 30 or 31 days and the second time I only missed one or two days. I was really proud of myself. I felt so good. I looked better. I was calmer and emotionally more stable.
Then I moved to Toronto, started working two jobs and I barely had time for sleep, let alone do yoga. Well at least that is what I told myself. I tried getting back into it once but that didn’t really take. This past week (two years later) I was feeling really out of shape and just overall lethargic. I think it’s just the changing of the seasons to be honest. I finally decided that I had to get back to it. It’s so strange how often we don’t do things that we know would make us feel better…That might be a good idea for another post…
I have done two classes so far and have bought a monthly unlimited pass and plan to go four of five times per week for the next four weeks and go from there. It is really good exercise for any type of arthritis and since I tend to have more flare ups during the winter months I am hoping that this will prevent their onset.
More important than the physical aspect, however, is the emotional/mental side of it. How often do we take even half an hour out of our days to really focus on the internal? To keep a steady focus, to relax the mind and set intentions? I know that I never do. This is a way for me to force myself to do it and I welcome it. My mind has definitely been acting like a little monkey bouncing around all over the place lately. It is time to get him to sit still, even if it is for short periods of time at the start.
The classes that I go to (Moksha Yoga) are a series of postures that are completed in every class, in the same order, with very little variation. Sometimes I get bored with this, but that is kind of the whole point. It becomes about inner focus and cultivating a meditative mental state, rather than “switching it up” like one would do at the gym for example. The other great thing about repeating the postures every time is that it becomes very easy to track progress. I can tell I am getting stronger and more flexible as I go, which I would not be able to see as much if I was doing different things every time.
Overall yoga makes me a better person. I take better care of myself, am less stressed, am more compassionate and feel like things fall into place more easily and more, well, perfectly. I was at an amazing state in my life last time I dedicated myself to the practice and I am hoping to get back on that path this time around. I don’t think it will be hard. Leaving the first class I had done in two years on Friday night, I almost felt like crying. My heart was welcoming me home. It sounds cheesy but if you have ever felt like your soul is waking up and in a state of bliss, I think you know what I am talking about. At least I hope you do, because it is a wonderful feeling.
Namaste (the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you).