Matthew Munson: I never thought I would like Yoga but…

Matthew has taken up yoga

I got into yoga a few years ago after a doctor told me I had fractures in my spine and needed to repair the musculature around it. The doctor suggested that I try yoga. I’ll fully admit to not being convinced, but with a yoga studio just 30 seconds from where I lived at the time, there wasn’t much of an excuse for me to not at least try.

So, I talked a friend into going with me, and off we went, not really sure what to expect. It was a real unknown quantity; I had only heard of yoga in a general context before, as something other people did when they were incredibly flexible and could contort their bodies into 20,000 different shapes without breaking into a sweat. Goes to show how little I know about the majority of people who actually take part.

I’m distinctly less than average when it comes to my flexibility levels; I can’t touch my toes from bending just at the waist, my hamstrings don’t allow my legs to full straighten, and I probably look completely bizarre when trying to balance – not that I actually give a damn what I look like, of course. If I did, I’d have given up a long time ago.

But what was refreshing, when I wandered along to that first yoga class, was that everyone was like me. They all knew some names of moves, of course, and some were more flexible, but still … none of us were particularly specialist or high-level experts in yoga, except for our teacher.

Alan and Glenys run and teach at Yoga-Is; they’re also married, in case you were wondering. Well, they’d be married irrespective of your level of curiosity, to be frank, but that’s not the point of this blog. I would never have imagined, ten years ago, that I would have one day been interested in yoga and actually looked forward to it every week. It’s an addictive activity that really stretches your muscles and makes you work; having recently had a few weeks off due to other commitments recently, I’ve found myself itching to go back.

As I’m learning, however, traditional yoga in Indian traditions, is more than physical exercise; it has a meditative and spiritual core.

Yoga is increasingly recommended to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and some medical conditions such as premenstrual syndrome. It’s a low-impact activity that can provide the same benefits as any well-designed exercise programme, increasing general health and stamina, reducing stress, and improving those conditions brought about by sedentary lifestyles.

The United Nations have declared 21st June as the ‘International Day of Yoga‘. The first Day was observed on 21 June 2015. About 35000 people, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a large number of dignitaries, performed 21 Yoga asanas (yoga postures) for 35 minutes at Rajpath in New Delhi; this established two Guinness records – largest Yoga class. and the record for the most nationalities participating in it: eighty four.

Yoga is a great form of meditation, exercise, and control. I never imagined being someone who was interested in this form of movement, but I am; it makes you feel energetic, engaged, and in the moment.