I have been regularly practicing yoga since my early 40s. I took to the mat in the aftermath of my Dad’s death and I haven’t looked back. Yoga has not only helped my body become stronger than ever before; it has also helped me concentrate my mind through the most stressful and heartbreaking times. Switching off from the day-to-day for a challenging, 90 minute class and focusing only on what my body is doing is a great form of meditation. This is why yoga has become my preferred choice of exercise and I cannot see that changing for the rest of my life.
When I was a young girl I couldn’t even do a cartwheel; I was the least coordinated, graceful and athletic child. I was only picked out in a team line-up due to my popularity – nothing to do with my sporting ability!! So the fact that now, in my forties, I can do handstands, headstands and all manner of complicated and challenging arm balances is a massive achievement and still surprises me. Yoga has developed muscles I never knew I had; it has elongated my frame; I stand taller and hold myself more gracefully. I am more connected to my body and therefore more mindful about how I move; which has helped me to slow down.
I practice vinyasa yoga, based on ashtanga yoga, also known as vinyasa flow yoga as you flow from pose to pose without stopping. The result is a full body workout which gets the heart pumping. I have a fantastic teacher who encourages us to push ourselves so that the practice becomes a never-ending journey. There is always a next level to achieve; additional muscles to focus on and more refinement to bring to the pose. I doubt I’ll ever have it completely nailed!! After a 90 minute practice with Heidi (below) of Lotus Love Yoga, I always leave feeling exhausted and exhilarated – and I certainly feel it the next day!
Aside from the physical benefits, I love the mental focus required to practice yoga. Vinyasa yoga flows with the breath so in addition to getting the pose right, you also have to coordinate your breathing too. It’s not easy and requires super concentration leaving very little headspace for the mind to wander. For me, yoga classes served as a welcome retreat during the devastating period in my early 40s when I lost my Dad and then my Mum – it was opportunity to switch off and focus on nothing else but my own movement, breath and strength.
I go to class twice a week and also practice yoga at home too. This means that I am in yoga wear or yoga gear A LOT. It’s important to me to feel comfortable when practicing yoga. I don’t want annoying labels or seams and I certainly don’t want to feel restricted in any way. My body needs to breathe too, as contrary to what you might think, yoga or at least vinyasa yoga makes you sweat! Which is why I love bamboo yoga clothes by Asquith clothing.
Asquith make ethical activewear from Bamboo Viscose and Bambor® – their trademark fabric which is a unique blend of organic cotton, bamboo and a small amount of Elastane. Bamboo fibres are naturally breathable, sweat wicking and feel amazingly soft next to your skin. It’s incredibly comfortable to wear, plus it washes very well too. Asquith bamboo yoga clothes are well designed too with every consideration for how you will move in the clothes. The softly draping tops fit to the hips or waist (to stay in place); the pants are high-waisted with comfortable waistbands and the bra tops are generously and comfortably proportioned. In these pics I am wearing the bamboo yoga top Conquer Cami and the and the bamboo yoga pants Flow With It Leggings.
On yoga days, I often spend the entire day in my yoga outfit – another reason why Asquith is my preferred choice of yoga wear as they not only feel fabulous but they look great off the mat too! The leopard batwing top I have chosen from the latest range easily passes as a stylish wardrobe piece. I also have two pairs of the harem pants which serve as the most comfortable loungewear. I literally do not want to change out of them, unless I have to!
I recently met Alice Asquith at an event – the loveliest woman who really is passionate about creating a range that focuses equally on Product, Planet and People. I am very proud to support this brand!
I’d love to know if you share my appreciation for yoga? Or is it something you’ve been thinking about starting? Please do contact me with any questions you have – I’ll do my best to offer tips and advice!
This post is sponsored by Asquith but all opinions are my own.