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Sick of sedentary stints in the library, sat for stultifying sessions staring at a screen?

Un-knit your brows, learn to soften your gaze, embrace the shakes as you find strength in the postures, and settle into your body with UCLU Project Active’s Post Graduate yoga.

It was while sitting at a desk in the library in the very state mentioned above that I read the Project Active email about postgraduate yoga. Seeing that it was beginner-friendly, close to my campus and at a convenient time, I decided to give it a go. My body and I are so happy I did.

I’d done yoga before but nothing structured. This would be my first proper class. In the past I’d put mental barriers in the way of taking up yoga. For one, as a cyclist and runner, I’d always seen my legs as fairly inflexible – just there for powering me on through miles of road and park – and felt my body to be incompatible with something as graceful and flowing as yoga. But this is all in the mind and your limitations and assumptions are left behind when you start a session.

I have had the benefit of having two fantastic and creative teachers, Cat and Lauren. Both encourage, challenge and inspire you to work with your body and mind in new ways. As you move you take note of your breath and how parts of your body you may not have even noticed before are reacting to your movements. You’re never pushed too hard and always offered either a step up or a step down in the intensity of the pose. As someone studying education, it’s inspiring to see the level of both support and challenge offered by the teachers.

The physical challenge of getting into and maintaining stability in the poses is a real motivator. One such pose, kakasana or ‘crow pose’, involves supporting your crouched legs with the backs of your arms while you hold yourself up with your hands. (I will get there one day!) Sound impossible? Google it for a better description! There are even collaborative postures, which usually start with a tentative glimpse around the room to find a partner, but ultimately end in smiles and laughs as, supported, you either achieve or fall (safely) out of your posture and try again.

Most importantly for me, the class is time to think – or not think (I’m not sure which). There is a blissful vacancy of mind as, after the exertion of a session, you lie in savasana or ‘corpse pose’, not necessarily focussed, but aware of thoughts as they drift around your head. It’s time away from the surface concerns of everyday life.

Every session ends with a sense of thankfulness and the feeling of positivity in the room is palpable as we bow our final Namaste until the next session.

Matt

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