How Yoga has shaped my life - from backpain, to anxiety to living through a Pandemic
After ‘the year that shall not be named’, I have made conscious concerted efforts since January to find happiness in each and every day in some shape or form. Looking at my life through this lens I have explored what means for my daily routine, my relationships but also my yoga practice. I found yoga at the university gym in 2003, dragged there by a friend who was too shy to go alone. It was daunting. I found myself in an enormous gymnastics hall with a super bendy stern man leading the class.
In my first triangle pose I thought I might snap in half. Why I went back after that I am not sure, but I did. And soon I found that my anxiety and the chronic back pain that I had since my teens was better.
Diving Deeper into Yoga & My love of Anatomy
In the beginning my practice was anything but consistent and it was only in 2010 after a big health scare that changed. I went to India to do my first teacher training and got more adventurous in my practice. I fell in love with deep backbends and inversions. I went from a shy yogi to someone taking all the challenging variations in class. For a long while all was well, but then the back pain returned, mostly after a night of power yoga. I was devastated at the idea that I might need to give up my practice and decided that has to be another way. In 2014 I went back to India to do a diploma in yoga therapy and that is where my love of anatomy really started. After, rather than seeing aesthetic shapes, I started seeing bones, muscles and balancing structures. I realised how chasing striking asanas had destabilised my spine, which was contributing to my pain. The deeper I delved into anatomy the more my practice changed, becoming milder and more focused on strength and stability.
I began to care more about my vertebral disks than my scorpion pose.
Back home I worked with a really good chiropractor and physical therapist and we realised that a sizeable difference between my left and right leg was responsible for an unstable pelvis which was the main reason for my back pain. Suddenly I knew where to put in the effort to be pain free. My practice and teaching started evolving. I also grew into a person who felt more empowered in everything I did. And then slowly but surely more expressive asanas were accessible to me again.
I finally really understood the idea that the body is the doorway to self.
Yoga & Alignment
Yoga to me has always been a process of moving from the rough to the refined, a journey of understanding things at a deeper level to find harmony. Whether it be the alignment of your hips or the inner workings of our mind and hearts, the practice offers such a beautiful opportunity to bring all of that awareness and knowledge together in one sweet present breath. Stepping on the mat this year I aim to make every practice nourishing because that feeds my happiness. Nourishing looks different every day, but it's easier to figure out because I now know better how it all works. Some days it’s embracing strength and the next leaning into softness.
Learning about the magic that lives underneath your skin can end up having a big impact not only on your practice but also how you feel day to day.
Enter, Happy Bits!
Because we are in our bodies all day we take them for granted sometimes and forget what a big part of our daily being it comprises. In a regular yoga class there isn’t always enough time to learn about the finer details that underlie how we move to create more ease and peace.
To fill this space, join us at The Frog Project for our Happy Bits workshop series. We’ll start with Happy Hips on Sunday 14th March at 10am as the foundation, and follow it up with Happy Spine and Shoulders (details and dates coming soon).
In these sessions you will explore some basic practical anatomy before giving your newly acquired knowledge a whirl in a slow grounding practice before ending with a juicy savasana.
The foundation on which the spine sits, having a little more insight into how we create balanced stability & mobility in this part of the body can really make a difference to posture, digestion and more.
Ready to create a little bit of space for you? Why not try our Live Online Yoga classes, bringing you accessible yoga for all, from our living room to yours? Sign up now for 15 days of free unlimited classes.
Liezl is from sunny Namibia and has been teaching yoga for a decade. Her own practice started 2003 in a place of finding relief from back pain and anxiety. As a teacher, she loves helping students find variations that fit their unique bodies and creating a space where yoga opens the door to understanding oneself better on all levels. She is a much loved teacher at The Frog Project and teaches regular weekly classes as well as workshops. Her classes have a steady pace that offer you an opportunity to explore the foundations in detail with as much ease or intensity as you prefer. You can read more about Liezl here at her own website www.liezlhoving.com.