YOGA is not about achieving the perfect headstand or being the most flexible person in the room. It’s about connection between your mind, body and breath. It’s about noticing your body and giving it control. It’s about choice. Choose a style of yoga that allows you to feel empowered and provides you with moments of mindfulness.
I was very privileged to be invited to share a mindful yoga class at the Recovery festival in St. Patrick's Mental Health Services last week and it hopefully highlights a positive shift that mental health services are taking towards more holistic client centered practices in Ireland. I also facilitate weekly sessions here in the hospital and it's opened my eyes up to how important it is for us to strip yoga back to the basics so that it can be accessible for everyone.
If you're looking to join a yoga class in your local area, look out for some teachers who specialise in teaching Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is slower paced practice. It can be a great place to start exploring yoga.
Attend a class at a quieter time of the day if you're feeling a bit intimidated.
Try out some online sessions for free on Youtube. Play a few different classes until you find a style you like.
Be aware that lots of yoga teachers don't use trauma informed language and may physically assist you during yoga poses and sequences. Be sure to advise the teacher not to do this at the start of class if this might be triggering for you.
Don't ever feel like you "have to" do a form because a teacher says so. You have control and you can do what you like. Rest, move and most importantly enjoy the experience.
Michelle Murray is a Trauma Informed yoga teacher and Occupational Therapist. Michelle facilitates Mindful yoga classes in St Patrick's hospital and group and individual classes in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Michelle uses trauma informed language (she can guide you into a form but will not direct you) and she doesn't use physical assists. Instead she will use her voice to gently invite you to stretch or move in a way that might be more helpful for you. Learn more about Trauma sensitive yoga here.