I joined online Iyengar Yoga classes by the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute to improve aspects of my physical health such as flexibility and strength.
Learning Outcome 1:
During summer breaks, I had developed started waking up late. This made me feel lethargic throughout the day. It was essential for me to be productive in the break before entering twelfth grade, to work on my academics and extracurriculars. So, I decided to join online yoga classes by the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute. I selected the early morning batch, to start my day on a high note and to have a healthy sleep cycle. Soon, I realised that yoga was not only helping me wake up early and be physically active but also increasing my mental alertness, helping me make faster decisions and think better. I eventually started feeling less tired and more energetic.
Learning Outcome 2:
I am generally hesitant in communcating with teachers immediately after introduction. This was exemplified by the online platform that the yoga classes were conducted on. In the more conventional physical format, instructors can move around and scrutinize the posture and technique of each student. In the online version, it was challenging to perfectly follow the instructor who herself could not see us, regulate the pace of the class accordingly or even guide us. I had to make sure I was listening and watching closely and following the stances properly to avoid injury.
I soon realised that as classes progressed, the asanas started getting more advanced. I have moderate flexibility and the ability to learn new concepts quickly. Therefore, I was able to follow the technique and execute the asanas well but holding that position for a longer time was difficult. With daily practise, I eventually became better. My posture while standing and sitting significantly improved. I did not even realise when I stopped slouching or shifting all my weight on one leg.
Learning Outcome 4:
The classess were held every Thursday and Sunday, from 7 AM to 8 AM for a month. Since classess were not held daily, it did not create a routine that I could rely on. I had to make I practise on the days between classes to maintain muscle memory and keep upgrading my flexibilty. I had to slowly work towards inculcating asanas like Tadasana throughout the day, to make it a habit. The advanced versions of Virbhadrasana require a lot of mind-body coordination, as different parts of the body are in different orientations. Some asanas even required props, such as chairs, walls or a yoga block. It was initially hard to work with them – the block would keep tumbling or poses on the chair would feel uncomfortable. With asnas like Adho Mukha Svanasana, it is difficult to judge if the body is actually aligned in the required way. I would ask a family member to make sure my back is straight.
Balanced: I discovered the interconnectedness of physical and mental health. Yoga was not only limited to physical benefits but also increased my energy levels, mental alertness and focus.