In any other year, the shops would be bursting with Valentine’s Day gifts. But the pandemic has made us realise that ‘stuff’ isn’t important, people are. Health and by extension ‘self-love’ has become less about expensive bubble baths and spa days, and more about the daily choices we make for better work, life and health integration. There’s no point trying to be all things to all people if we have no health and strength from which to operate. You can’t run a car on an empty tank but yet we seem to think it’s OK to run ourselves that way.

Fifty years ago, people’s working lives were very different. A greater percentage had professions that kept them active during the day. Since then, we’ve become increasingly sedentary, driving cars to offices where we sit at computers in a stressed state, returning home to drop onto the sofa for a couple of hours of mindless TV. It’s impacting our health in ways we both can and can’t see. We may see the lack of exercise in our not so flexible bodies, but beneath our skin the loss of muscle tone and bone density means impaired health, strength, balance and co-ordination in later life. While this may not particularly affect us when we’re young, as we age it increases the risk of falls and fractures. Taking action now can bring both instant and long-term benefits.

The NHS website lists yoga as a practice that can bring many health benefits. As well as developing strength and flexibility, yoga allows us the space to breathe and bring calm into our lives. Mental and emotional wellbeing are two other areas under great strain, and it’s important that we take action against stress. In 2020, according to report by the Health and Safety Executive, over 820,000 people in the UK reported stress, depression and anxiety, resulting in 1.79 million working days lost. Yoga is a holistic practice that promotes both physical and mental wellbeing.

One of the benefits of this time is that yoga is now more accessible than ever – and not just to those who can already flex into a human pretzel. As you know, I’m passionate than everybody is a yoga body, regardless of their size, gender, ethnicity or ability. Everyone can participate in a yoga class from wherever they are, and I do mean everyone. Yes, that includes you. As Arthur Ashe, the tennis player and Grand Slam winner who died in 1993, said; “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” There’s no better love you can give yourself this Valentine’s Day than the gift of good health from yoga.

Why not join my Absolute Beginners Curvesome Yoga Class on a Tuesday evening.

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