In my 20s I was playing volleyball and beach volley professionally in Greece. My life was fast and there was continuous pressure to perform. My body sustained injuries that could only be half-fixed through surgeries. As a result, I ended up with three knee surgeries and more recently, two big toe surgeries.
The good ol' days
But sports wasn't all bad. I was living an exciting life, I was travelling while meeting new interesting people, I was on TV and signing autographs and I was making good money. It was intense. However, all this came to an end at the peek of my athletic career when I decided to retire and have my first daughter.
For years I was trying very hard to keep my body moving. I have always loved going to the gym and lifting weights and I have muscle memory. But growing older, I needed to find a way to be gentle and kind to my body and offer it a milder way of exercising.
I started with pilates and I loved the dynamic nature of the practice. Yoga was always my second choice for some reason and I was dipping in and out of practising yoga in a class environment.
I now know that yoga is so much more than what we practise on the mat. It's philosophy, meditation, pranayama (breathing), a way of life, and not just asanas (poses). Of course I had no idea back then that yoga would be such a big and integral piece of my life today.
That depth scared me initially. I didn't think I was worthy of learning how to practise yoga while looking inwards. I wanted to be a 'visitor' and not a 'host'. Until I found the teacher that motivated me to dive deeper into the practise of yoga by creating a warm, inspiring place where I could feel the effect of yoga in my body. I have spoken about Kirsty in another blog, you can read that story here.
So my body was welcoming yoga, but what about my soul? Well, that was still a work in progress. I decided to enrol to my 200-hour yoga teacher training thinking I know enough about yoga and I want the rest of the world - ok, at least the people around me - to know about its benefits. I am impressed with how I have improved my mental and physical health through yoga. You can read about some of yoga's benefits here if you want to know more
I won't say things like 'yoga has saved me' or 'it changed my life' because this power always lies within me. I made a conscious choice to start practising and studying yoga and changed my life towards the better. Adopting a regular yoga practice is a way of life. Incorporating the yoga philosophy in your daily life is a choice. You will be able to discover yourself and look deep into who you are and what you are looking for. I can promise you that if you do make that choice, you will not regret it.
"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." The Bhagavad Gita
P.S. Next free yoga class coming up next Saturday at 11.15 (BST) so please contact me here for the link if you want to join. Donations are always welcome here and you can see my services, including a SPECIAL OFFER, here. Namaste.