MOVING, NOT COMPETING
Since about two years, yoga practice has become a part of my life. In a time where I dealt with many deadlines and stress, I discovered yoga as the purest and most honest medicine. Contrary to what many may think, it is absolutely not a sport. You can call football a sport, basketball and even a game of chess, but not yoga. It may include your muscles, make you more flexible and strecheable, but it doesn’t include competition. There is no game you play against anyone, not even yourself. Yoga is a practice and will always remain a practice. It is not even about getting in the most complicated, perfect pose. It is all about breathing, controling your body and creating a balance with your mind and soul. I think yoga is the art of breathing, the religion where you believe in your body, yourself.
I started off at Yoganess in Antwerp, where Claudia thought me the basics of the typical oujahi ocean sound breath and the classical downward-facing-dog pose. Unfortunately, these classes have now moved to Roosendaal in the Netherlands, but I would still like mention them as they were the real starting-point of my yoga initiation. After that I tried the very intense ashtanga flow classed at Yoga Antwerpen. These classes take place in a big room, in a former dance studio. So many people try these out that by the end of a session the windows are covered with fog and every yoga mat is taken.
So, I decided to search for a new personal yoga club again. Somewhere where there is enough space to breathe and the yoga teacher can have a reasonable overview, so he or she can assist the students with their poses. Because, eventhough a pose never needs to be perfect, it does have to be right. You can’t underestimate the importance of placing your neck, back, wrists and other joints in a correct position. So, a teacher with an eye for your breath and your spine, is very important to have, especially when you are still a beginner.
About a month ago, after organising rooftop yoga sessions with a couple of friend, we discovered Living Yoga. In this studio Mounira personally assists you with your breathing, finding your inner self and placing your body into a good position on the mat. She explained me how yoga helped her to get through all kinds of moments in life. It brought love, balance and peace into her mind and so she wanted to start sharing that with others. A class with Mounira is not a work-out session for your body only. She also incorporates moments of meditation for your mind. While teaching you how to breathe and move, she awakens you by offering simple, yet wise and relieving quotes. An advanced yogi may move on to a next level, while she explains the beginning sun salutations for the newbies.
A MOVING HYPE
I was interested in what she thought about the whole hype around yoga lately. The practice has been existing for so many years, but only now in hectic modern times full of impulses, stress and hurry, people seem to have found the way to discover their balance again. But, not everybody sees it as a way of coming to terms with your body and mind. Some people still think it is a sport or only practice to enhance their abs. Some even consider it as a sport to loose weight. I once was so devastated in the beginning, when a couple of friends asked me where I practiced yoga, because they wanted to loose weight around their arms as soon as possible. Well, if you practice sports, eat healthy and do yoga, of course you will loose weight and feel stronger. But yoga is not a diet or alternative to fitness. Yoga is a harmony of mind, body and soul in a soft and gentle practice which can be perfected forever.
ON BECOMING YOUNGER
This brings me to the fact that even chidren should start relaxing and learning some poses when they are starting to become conscious and aware of the need to hurry up in life. If children learn how to breath and relax when they are still young, they will surely able to cope with difficulties, anxiety and panic situations when they are older. They are not supposed to be professional yogis, but teaching them how to relax is definitely a benefit for them when they become older. Mourina aproves of this and even welcomes parents with children if they desire so. And no, don’t start imagining a yoga studio full of screaming babies. It is merely an open invite for people who think their children could become more calm and aware by participating in class.
Yoga is a medicine of the future. It is a practice and a hype on the move, which involves your mind and body and doesn’t have any negative side effects. In a society where doctors subscribe tranquilisers, anti-depressives and chemicals, yoga should be the new drug. You won’t ever suffer from this addiction, but will only get closer to that buddhistic aim of creating the ultimate balance and harmony in and with yourself. The name of the studio Living Yoga is exactly what yoga is: the present and active tense of an action, which will always be on the move.
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