Are you interested in starting something new? Why not try a Yoga class out? Our teacher, John Bedwell, who was featured in the Kentishtowner earlier this year, gives us an insight into his life and explains how he found his way to Yoga.
Sometimes I miss being young. I remember in my 20s being able to eat and drink whatever I wanted without a second thought for how it affected the apparatus that carries my head around. I could go for months without exercising, except the occasional embarrassing ‘dance’ on Saturday night after a few too many beers.
Yet around the time I hit 30 my body started whispering to my head: “enough is enough, shows over: we can’t carry on like this”. Whether it was fate or coincidence, I do not know, but on a trip to India that same year I encountered yoga. All beginnings are difficult and like most people at most activities I was absolutely rubbish. For the first few months I could hardly balance on one leg; I couldn’t hold a position for longer than 30 seconds without breaking into a painful sweat; I couldn’t even touch my toes.
But I persevered. I kept going because after every yoga session I felt something I still find difficult to explain; something that feels like a mixture of physical calm and mental serenity. Unlike sport or going to the gym, yoga is not competitive, nor does your body take a beating. Instead, I might describe yoga as ‘swimming with and within yourself’ – the only exercise I have known that strengthens and relaxes your body and mind in equal measure.
Sadly, like vegetarianism, therapy or Pink Floyd, Yoga has a stigma attached to it: many people have an image of fake hippies, covered in flowers, bending themselves in half and proclaiming that: ‘Yeah man, now I understand – now I can truly see’. Well this cliché, like most clichés, is a myth. In fact, most people I have seen, met, and admired doing yoga are just like you and me. They work hard, live in a city, enjoy the bad things in life, and realise they are far from perfect.
Yoga is not the answer to everything, but it is wonderfully challenging and enlightening if you approach it with conviction. Just try it, at least once, and maybe you’ll find it can unlock doors you never knew existed…