07 Jul Yoga Retreat in India: Yoga Cures Headaches
During the yoga retreat in India, I did yoga twice a day, for two hours each session. After meditation in the morning, I had yoga, and only after that was brunch served. In the late afternoon, yoga was practiced two hours before dinner. I had the option of choosing beginner or intermediate, so I decided on beginner for the first day, mainly because it had been a while since I had done yoga regularly. When I have practiced yoga, it was usually once or twice a week for anywhere between 15 minute to 1 hour sessions. This experience of a total of 4 hours of yoga a day was quite new to me, but I felt up for the challenge.
At the Sivananda Yoga Ashram we practiced yoga in a space that was indoors, but with many large open arches, so it almost felt like being outside. Each session focused on proper breathing, proper posture, and plenty of time for savasana (corpse pose). Slowly, throughout each session, I learned a few more asanas, and also improved on ones that I already knew.
Rather than focusing on cardio or doing as many repetitions as possible, as I do when I exercise, I learned to focus on making small improvements in my flexibility and physical abilities, focusing on breathing and control. Despite the slow, controlled movements, I still broke quite a sweat, and always seemed to feel rather drained and exhausted halfway through. Nonetheless, at the end of every two-hour session, I felt rejuvenated and full of energy.
What I have found to be remarkable about the physical portion of practicing yoga is that it is much more demanding on the body than it appears to be, but also that I rarely felt any deep strains or pains in my body. It was only on the second day of practicing yoga that I woke up with all my muscles aching. After that, all I felt was energy, calm, and control. In addition, prior to arriving at the ashram, I had been having headaches for over a week; within a day or so of doing yoga that tension was gone from my body. In the same way, that meditation stretches and relaxes the mind to go beyond what it thinks it can achieve, the body does the same through yoga.
– Klara Kovarova, B.A., M.A., Canada