Steeped in ancient wisdom, yoga nourishes the needs of mind, body and spirit in a way that resonates deeply for its devotees – the perfect antidote to fast-paced modern life.
I truly love Sydney. With its harbour views, restaurants and beautiful beaches, it’s the perfect mix of work and play. There’s no doubt, however, that living in this beautiful city can be stressful, even for the most relaxed, beach-loving yogi. It’s fast-paced. The work hours are often long. Time spent looking at screens is even longer. For many, the majority of their days are spent sitting in chairs, hustling at their desks. This worldly city demands a lot from us – physically, emotionally, spiritually.
So, naturally, the focus on health and wellbeing is widespread. Long gone are the days where Sydneysiders had to travel far and wide to attend yoga classes in studios overflowing with patchouli and international backpackers. Studios are now intentionally designed to welcome and encourage like-minded communities to connect and flourish. Superfood bars seem to be on every corner. Activewear is now acceptable for brunch, lunch and everything in between. Health and wellness isn’t a fad. It is here to stay.
I, for one, cannot be more pleased with this shift in culture. The increased curiosity and appreciation for yoga is a testament to the incredible ways in which it transforms lives. As more studies confirm what Eastern philosophy has known for centuries, the power of yoga has transcended its ‘hippie stereotype’ of the past and has found its place in mainstream culture.
For many, the entry point to yoga is a form of exercise. There is no doubt as to the amazing physical changes the practice has on the body. I find it interesting when people say yoga isn’t a hard workout – anyone who has been to a good yoga class can tell you this is not the case. I see yoga as a ‘work in’, with the ‘workout’ being a great drawcard to get people in the door; they stay for the impact it has on the mind.
Yoga is much more than physical movements; it’s about connection and intimacy with ourselves, to our entire being – mind, body, breath and spirit.
Yoga is much more than physical movements; it’s about connection and intimacy with ourselves, to our entire being – mind, body, breath and spirit. The meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga is ‘union’ and ‘connection’. It’s this holistic approach to wellbeing that makes this practice truly beautiful. Every time we walk into the studio, we are taking a stand for our own self-care. We are checking in with ourselves. We are building internal relationships. We are learning compassion – for others and ourselves. We are stilling the mind, or at least trying to. It doesn’t matter how comfortably we can sit in asana (yoga postures) or how flexible we are. All that matters is that we showed up.
We, humans, weren’t designed to be ‘on’ all the time. We weren’t created to sit at desks, to meet impending deadlines, yet our culture now demands this of us. Yoga is a way to offload some of that pressure. A place where we can pause and breathe. It gives us space to realign our bodies and to reconnect with our breath.
The side effects of this are plentiful. Less stress, increased flexibility, improved energy and vitality, protection from injury, weight reduction… the list is endless. Yet, perhaps the most important side effect is the deepening of the relationship we have with ourselves. It’s why so many Sydneysiders try a class – and why so many keep coming back.
By Jackie Alexander – Co-Founder at Humming Puppy
For more inspiring articles like this pick up a copy of The Wellness Guide Sydney.