Hi, my name is Carly aka the Yoga Bunny UK, a yoga teacher in the Essex area with a passion for health and wellness, as well as my two gorgeous house bunnies who definitely rule the roost.
As a self-confessed perfectionist, for me yoga is freedom. After years of various exercise in which my enjoyment was directly proportional to how well I performed, it was liberating to find a practice in which no posture is compulsory, and the only essential was staying true to yourself and what is right for the body today, rather than where you think it should be.
Throughout practice, I always try to keep Ahimsa in mind – do no harm, cause no injury. Pushing too hard doesn’t work; in fact, your muscles will tense up if you try to approach your practice aggressively actually hindering your movement. At the same time, it’s important to maintain a sense of challenge vs. ego. Whilst ego is not invited to the party, that doesn’t mean there should be no challenge to your practice.
Yoga is about the breath and the inner feeling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun playing with shapes along the way. For me play and exploration, particularly in new postures and those requiring unwavering focus like arm balances and inversions, continues to be one of my most successful methods to deal with an overactive mind and calm the inner chatter. I consider this to be as much part of the self-study of yoga as finding comfort in the stillness and silence of slower, restorative styles.
Whatever the style, yoga allows a space to focus on the breath and aligning that with movement. Personally, this has played a huge part in helping me to manage panic and anxiety and is what first drew me to Yoga back in 2015.
So much of what goes on within our bodies is controlled by the breath, so much so that it is the only voluntary mechanism we have within our control to help our body move from engaging the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) into the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), where our heartbeat slows, blood pressure lowers and muscle tone (tension) starts to release.
For me, yoga provided a mechanism to tap into my parasympathetic nervous system at a time when my fight or flight mechanism was severely misfiring, resulting in near daily panic attacks. Yoga continues to be a key management tool for stress even now, and I believe that the focus on the breath during your practice is taken with you throughout your daily activities. Take care of your exhalations, and the inhalation will take care of itself.
Ultimately, my thoughts on Yoga can be summed up by a woman far wiser than me. To quote Indra Devi: