Week 1 with VetYogi – Neck & Shoulders
Week 1 – Neck and Shoulders 12/8/20
Welcome to the start of your new yoga journey! I am honoured that you would trust me to guide you as we begin what will hopefully become a life-changing practice for you, as it is for me. I passionately believe that the ancient tools of yoga and meditation can help with the stresses and strains of modern-day veterinary practice, and that belief comes from my first-hand experience working as a vet in first-opinion practice over the last 8 years.
Yoga has been shown to help with issues commonly experienced by those of us who choose this vocation: stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic injuries (such as back pain), amongst others, and can also improve strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular and respiratory health. For enquiring scientific minds, the studies are out there should you choose to read them, and if not then don’t worry; I have read them for you and will deliver the benefits to you! As with anything, you will get out what you put in, and I would ask each and every one of you to commit to every week, and arrive on your mat with an open mind.
Are you ready? Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Here we go!
Before you get started, you will need:
- A yoga mat (but a vet bed or towel will work if necessary!)
- A water bottle
- Comfortable clothing which allows for movement
- A block or a rolled up towel
- A bolster/pillow (maybe a couple)
- In these viral times wash/sanitise hands before and after stepping on your mat.
- If you have any injuries or issues, please be mindful as obviously online I won’t be able to help you directly.
- These classes are not designed for pregnancy; however, if you have an existing pre-natal practice and know how to modify postures yourself, then take care.
What is Yoga?
‘Yoga’ translates literally from Sanskrit as ‘union’ and if you take anything away from this course please let it be the importance of unifying your mind-body-breath connection for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. If that sounds a bit ‘out-there’ at the moment, no need to panic! It is perfectly normal to experience a level of resistance when trying something new, and throughout this process, I encourage you to be kind to yourself both on and off your mat.
Often in the western world Yoga is perceived as just the physical part of the practice; the postures (or ‘asanas’), movement, or simply by some as just stretching. As a philosophy and lifestyle, yoga has so much more to offer than this, and there are 8 limbs of yoga, with the ‘asana’ part being one small limb. However, there are many different styles of asana, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Ashtanga, and Kundalini, and over the next 5 weeks, you will get a complete head to toe introduction to Hatha yoga, as well as a chance to experience Yin yoga in Week 6. Hatha is the oldest source of asanas, and is my favourite style to teach to beginners as it allows us to stay in the postures for several breaths and easily modify them to suit all levels. ‘Ha’ means ‘sun’ and ‘Tha’ means ‘moon’, and a Hatha practice has the means to offer us everything in between these opposite energies: strong yet gentle, heating yet cooling, energising yet calming…
Week 1 Feature Pose: Downward Facing Dog
Each week will offer a complete body sequence, yet with an emphasis on different areas as we move through the course. As with a physical exam, we will work nose to tail starting with the neck and shoulders, as I’m yet to meet a vet or nurse not affected by tension here sometimes after a long shift!
Our feature pose this week is a classic asana: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). This is a key foundation posture to learn for beginners, as it tends to come up a lot, and it helps to create space around the neck and shoulders, so is perfect for this class.
Click here for a step-by-step guide:
One of the great things with yoga is that it doesn’t have to always be a full 60-90 minute class for you to feel some benefits; sometimes even just a few minutes on your mat can help you to feel better. If you find yourself short on time but high on tension in between the weekly sessions, feel free to try my 5-minute series on the VetYogi YouTube channel. Here are the links to the neck and shoulder videos:
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch via email: email@example.com, or follow VetYogi on social media for more info.
Look forward to ‘seeing’ you on the mat!