I moved to Sardinia just over a year ago now, we moved because my partner wanted to retire abroad and I came along because both my sons were doing well making a life for themselves in the world and the sound of a life more self sustainable, with less rain and more sunshine sounded just fine to me!
Sardinia is a beautiful island, with stunning beaches and an excellent climate and the roads are comparatively quiet. Where we live we can see the stars in the sky at night without all the light pollution, we have free range chickens for our eggs, we grow our own vegetables and fruit and we have some very special friends who look out for us and are always there to help.
However, when it comes to me being a vegetarian and a yogi, there is definitely a lack of understanding here about these things. So I thought I would write this blog about what yoga is and what it entails for people who are curious and to try to break down some of the barriers.
I will start off by talking about what usually happens during one of my yoga lessons for someone who has no idea about yoga.
Guidelines before arriving are don’t eat for at least an hour and a half before the class, wear loose, comfortable clothing, bring one or two blankets for relaxation and a yoga mat if you have one. The most important thing you can bring with you to a lesson is compassion; compassion towards yourself and your body. Yoga should always be approached from how you feel today and your body’s ability today, not what you could do yesterday, or years ago or what you want to be able to do now or in the future. We start yoga from where we are now.
Then we move onto some yoga postures (Asanas). We start with beginners with very simple postures, which help to build up strength and flexibility. There are sitting postures (sitting and kneeling), standing postures and supine postures (lying down postures), and balances; far too many to go into individually here but during a normal class you will go through a few of each type of posture. Each asana has different benefits and works with different muscles and organs of the body. Every asana can be changed for the different ability levels of the individual, as time goes on your flexibility and strength will improve, patience and compassion are the key. This part of the class usually lasts for approximately an hour.
From asana we move onto breathing (pranayama). These practices can be done sitting or laying down and there are many different exercises, all of which have tremendous benefits for health and emotional wellbeing. In a class this would usually last for 15 to 20 minutes.
After pranayama we close the class with relaxation. In my classes I usually finish the class with Yoga Nidra, which is a deep relaxation practice which can also bring about profound positive changes to your life. Relaxation can vary in duration from 10 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on the time left and the type of relaxation exercise used by your teacher.
After relaxation, it’s back off into the world feeling more calm, refreshed and aware than when you started!
So there it is; a summary of a yoga lesson. Various teachers have differing approaches and may do things in a different order, but I have based this on one of my lessons; for the benefit of this blog. So for those of you living in Ogliastra, Sardinia, if this has made you curious and you would like to try it out, contact me for details of where there are available yoga classes; I hope to see you at a lesson soon!