I’ve practiced hatha yoga, which consists of postures and breathing exercises, for a number of years in my living room, with the aid of a book.
Although I did achieve many benefits such as greater flexibility and reduction of stress it did not compare very well with the emotional calming and stabilizing sensations I received when I decided to do yoga in a group, at the local university.
You can say that maybe it was because I didn’t have to thumb through a book and stare intently at the photos trying to get it right. And there’s the fact that when you are alone with no guidance you can only hope that the body is stretching and moving in the right manner.
All those doubts and distractions are erased when you have a good teacher who not only demonstrates the postures, but who conducts the class in a tranquil and deliberate manner, while doling out little gems of wisdom concerning the mind and the body.
Every yoga posture goes hand in hand with the proper breathing, which is meant to spread energy throughout your body. Doing yoga in unison with others is almost like a slow dance that transports you beyond all the petty problems of the day, as well as huge life issues that seem insurmountable.
It will not abolish whatever it is you have to face, but it will give you a certain strength and energy to handle whatever is causing you suffering. I began doing group yoga when going through some difficult times and slowly discovered, to my amazement, that I started feeling better, stronger, calmer.
To quote my yoga teacher, “Namaste everyone” (the light in me honors the light in you).