Written by Megan Rivenburg
I’m back! And this week’s Fitness Friday adventure had me suiting up in my THINK gratitude shirt and heading to Kaia Yoga in Westport. This week was so busy and non-stop that I opted for the “gentle yoga” class at 11 AM to wind down and relax to start the weekend.
It turned out that the gratitude tank top was the perfect choice of apparel for this class, because as we started with warm-up stretches, the teacher talked to us and told us a story, instructing us to imagine the scenario along with her as she went.
She talked about being out in nature and coming across a perfect strawberry. She had us imagine how the strawberry felt as we picked it, held it, and finally tasted it. She described it as the perfect strawberry: red, juicy, and sweet.
This exercise taught us to be in the moment and enjoy and be thankful for all that is around us- even something as simple as a strawberry that we normally take for granted.
To me, this is what gratitude is all about. It’s about being in the moment and appreciating life as it is.
I loved how this aspect of meditation was brought into the yoga class. It really set me up to enjoy and appreciate the rest of the class, and get as much out of it as I could.
An important aspect of health that is often overlooked is mental health. This aspect is just as, if not more important than physical health, but in the busy world we live in it is easy for many to set it aside and not take time to work on it. This can cause people to become run down, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
The gentle yoga class at Kaia really made me slow down and focus on my mental health. It emphasized breathing and focus on what feels natural to each person’s own body.
Any move that we did could be modified to fit what felt comfortable, which I really enjoyed since I am not the most flexible person in the world.
We started with sitting positions and progressed into standing positions, with each one being demonstrated by the teacher along the way.
We ended in shavasana, which meant we got to lay down or sit in any position that felt the most natural and relaxed to us and just be in the moment. We could use a blanket, blocks, or a pillow in any way we wished to make it more comfortable. I chose to rest my head on the pillow and wrap the blanket around my feet- but the variations were endless. I found this interesting because it displayed how individual each person really is. No two people have the same idea of comfort.
Although this class was definitely less rigorous than most fitness classes I have participated in, I am glad I tried it because it opened my eyes to what it means to relax and just be. It set time aside to step away from my list of things to do, get away from the constant connection to technology, and I left feeling almost as if I was leaving a massage.
This particular class did focus on the body as a whole rather than just a certain area. Yoga is something I will come back to in the future when I feel like I need to step away, breathe, and take time just for myself.