This is a different sort of post for me as it’s not food related. The focus is on how yoga has helped me with IBS, and also with being healthy and calm and positive.
Sadly, I’m not one of those yoga goddesses who can bend every which way and balance in beautiful postures. I wobble a lot when finding my balance and I can barely touch my toes. But recently I have made a lot of progress as a year ago I couldn’t reach below my knees.
I had been doing yoga from time to time, but when I lived in Hong Kong I fell in love with it and joined a studio. This studio became my ‘third space’ − a place that is neither home nor work but one for calm and relaxation. Pure Yoga in HK was just that − well designed, spacious, tranquil and with excellent yoga teachers. I went practically every day and it was very sad to leave when we moved from HK.
When first in San Francisco I tried yoga at home but I found I didn’t have the same calmness and discipline without the yoga teacher. I have now found a good studio, the Laughing Lotus. The classes encapsulate all aspects of yoga practice: movement, breath and meditation. Finding this studio was a big part of my feeling at home in SF.
A recent yoga class resonated with me about my feelings of home. Our teacher raised the question of what is home, and about her childhood and relocating a lot. For her, having just one photo that went with the family wherever they moved made her feel at home. I have done the same with a photo that hangs in our bathroom wherever we live. But here she was using this example to talk about non-attachment; how we can, for instance, find home without things. I am learning how yoga can be grounding and construct ‘home’ wherever I am.
Yoga started out for me as another way to help my IBS. I had read that it was a way to manage stress and help aid digestion and bloating. For instance, there are some yoga postures that aid digestion. I was skeptical at first, but I found that alongside eating well, yoga has been integral to managing my health. Some of my favourite poses that have been helpful include twists, bridge, happy baby, cat/cow and downward facing dog. I am currently working with a yoga teacher to create a post about the best yoga poses for people with digestive issues, so stay tuned.
Yoga has helped not only physically but also mentally. In our hectic world I find I am constantly multitasking, and sometimes, not very well, relying on lists for what I need to do each day. Yoga helps to change the way I think and to live in the moment. A common mantra from yoga teachers is ‘when you do yoga, do yoga, when you walk you walk’ and so on.
Here are a two other yoga mantras that I want to share:
- Try to look at things as they are rather than by how you feel.
- Have the courage to feel.