There’s such a wonderful feeling when you find a yoga class that really works for you. The teacher is great, the class is exactly what you need and you leave feeling amazing. It’s the perfect way to shake off the day; it brings you back to your centre and back to yourself.
Whatever mood or state of mind you were in before you started your practice is uplifted by the time you leave. If it’s a good mood, it’s enhanced. If it’s a bad mood, it dissipates. If your energy levels are low, they increase. If your mind is distracted, you leave focused. And if you’re angry, you leave with a sense of calm.
Not only does your yoga give you a toned and supple body, it uplifts and enhances every mood and state of mind you experience. It’s this simple truth that is the magic of yoga and why for thousands of years it has been, and still remains, a vital part of life around the world. And, it seems more and more people are feeling the benefits. In the West, we have the fastest growing yoga population in the world.
So, how does it work?
Yoga takes the ‘charge’ out of your body and your mind and replaces it with an overall sense of wellbeing. Put simply, yoga meets you where you are.
So really, whether you’re in a good mood or a bad mood, every mood is a good mood to do yoga.
Let me begin by explaining what I mean by ‘charge’?
‘Charge’ is the tension which builds up within us physically, energetically and mentally. It’s this tension which becomes our internal struggle. Essentially, what we resist persists because in pushing it away or grasping at it, we feed the struggle. The charge is the tension itself and also our resistance to it. In yoga practice, we centre ourselves to refocus, or redirect from the charge. Our body moves to its centre of gravity, our energy settles into a calm rhythmical pace and the mind becomes concentrated. Here, we’re no longer feeding the struggle which had created the charge.
As an example. Often when we start yoga, we’re doing two things in the posture. Firstly, we’re trying to do the posture. But at the same time, we’re also fighting our body. It’s actually the struggle in the body that is more tiring than being in the posture itself. As you refine your understanding of alignment your body moves in strength with greater ease, your breath is fluid and your mind is concentrated. Here, the posture becomes easier. You’re no longer struggling with your body so the charge is gone. You’ll notice at this point, you’re getting more energy from your practice than you’re putting in, and you feel energised.
The very same can be said for moods. Sometimes, you’re doing the posture, while also struggling with your mood. If you refocus from your mood to your body and your breath, the charge dissipates. Whether it’s a good or a bad charge, the charge is replaced by your centre. And here you find clarity and the potential to uncover something truly insightful. On many levels – physically, energetically and mentally – the charge is released and you have moved from tension to tone.
How do I work with my charge and not against it?
Centring: Stop feeding the charge
At the beginning of the class you centre yourself in your body. This enables you to settle into the room and leave the rest of your day outside. Of course, this is not always possible. Sometimes, you may be holding one of those moods which you’re unable to leave at the door. And, that’s fine. Acknowledge your mood and use this sight to centre into the mood itself. Now’s the opportunity to settle into yourself and begin to soften your charge.
Limbering: Open more space
The limbering phase of the class is where the muscles and joints of the body are gently worked to open and activate. This releases a little more charge. Here the body opens and so too does the space we’re holding, emotionally and mentally. Essentially, we begin to open up.
Strengthening: Replace tension with tone
The strengthening phase of the class is where your body reaches the peak of its workout. At the same time, this is where your mind is most concentrated on what your body and breath are doing, rather than how you felt at the start of the class.
The strong energy and focus at the peak of the class helps to neutralise the charge physically, energetically and mentally.
Calming Down: See the real you
After the peak comes the calming down phase. Here the postures are gentle. This is where the magic happens for you. Bring to mind the image of an old snow globe. Imagine shaking it and watching the flecks of snow swirl around until they gently settle on the ground. The calming down phase is like this, for the mind. As you settle your body, your mind settles and you receive insight about whatever you brought into the class.
Lower energy is uplifted. Your anger has become calm and you understand why. Your joy is enhanced and you see more connections to it in your life.
Relaxation: Relax into yourself
At this stage, we let go into the body and into the mind and we’re brought to our internal place of rest. This rest gives you the space to integrate the insights you uncovered during your calming down. Each class you uncover and integrate a little more clarity, energy, strength and flexibility.
Embrace your charge! Here’s a list of some of the moods/states of mind and the classes we offer which may help you to find balance:
- Ungrounded to grounded – Stability, Stability Flow and Core Stability
- Anxious to anticipation – Restorative, Restorative Flow and Mindfulness
- Stressed to relaxed – Stability and Restorative
- Fearful to peace – Mindfulness and Restorative
- Low energy to high energy – Core and Flow
- Tired to energised – Core and Flow
- Lazy to active – Flow, Stability Flow, Core Flow and Restorative Flow
- Emotional to feeling – Restorative and Restorative Flow
- Hurt to pleasure – Mindfulness and Insight Meditation
- Heavy to lightness – Flow, Stability Flow, Core Flow and Restorative Flow
- Frustrated to clarity – Mindfulness and Insight Meditation
- Restricted to free – Stability and Flow
- Wound up to settled – Stability and Core
- Sad to happy – Restorative and Restorative Flow
- Angry to calm – Restorative and Restorative Flow
- Depressed to joy – Mindfulness and Insight Meditation
- Mistrust to trust – Restorative and Restorative Flow
- Resentful to accepting – Restorative, Restorative Flow and Meditation
- Uncared for to cared for – Restorative, Restorative Flow and Meditation
- Unloved to loved – Restorative, Restorative Flow and Meditation
- Procrastination to action – Stability, Stability, Stability Flow and Core Stability
- Weak to strong- Stability and Core
- Over-thinking to perceptive – Mindfulness and Insight meditation
- Confused to clarity – Mindfulness or Insight Meditation