Tawake Finds Benefit in Yoga
Originating in India about 5000 years ago, yoga has spread worldwide with practitioners in hundreds of countries – including Fiji. Yoga has been proven to have many physical and mental benefits. Aside from the obvious improvement in flexibility and fitness, yoga is also held to reduce lower back pain, aid insomnia, improve blood flow, tone up your entire body and also protecting your joints and bones from injury due to weak muscles. Most importantly, yoga is a natural mood booster. In Fiji there are so many options to get involved with classes and retreats dedicated to helping Fijians and visitors to improve their health and wellbeing. Pure Fiji, the Suva based company with an international market for skin lotions and potions based on Fiji natural products including coconut oil and tropical floral fragrances, runs yoga classes with instructor Julia Delai. Delai has been teaching yoga since 2008 as well as running aerobics groups for the past 36 years. As for most people, there was a reason for Delai to take up yoga. “I was involved in an accident in 1999 and suffered whiplash injury. I was told I would go to my grave with it and from then until December 2007 I was in constant pain. As fit as I was I always had a headache, suffered migraines and always needed a massage… always. “Then I picked up this text book showing the benefits of yoga, especially after whiplash. I read that it may help if you practiced the shoulder stand. I had done shoulder stands before but had never used props – they help to protect your neck.” “So I had the props and stayed up for maybe three or four minutes – and I heard it; a crack, like a stick snapping. Instantly I wiggled my fingers and my toes and said okay I’m fine, but I felt warmth in my back. I stayed in the pose and when I came out I was sweaty and tired, I was crying. I felt the radiation, the pain, the tightness, it was gone. I had fixed myself.” Delai credits her recovery completely to yoga. Although the medical professionals couldn’t help her there was a solution out there. “Most people think it is just stretching, but it is not just the stretching, it is being conscious and aware, breathing and everything else comes into it. The slow, physical part of stretching takes you to your full potential, it takes your joints to their full potential. Mentally it helps you to relax and the
physical stretching helps to promote relaxation.” Delai said people come to her classes for many different reasons. “Some people come because their doctors have advised them to do yoga. I met this girl, she had never been to my class and she was very, very sick. Two years ago a doctor told her to do meditation and get into some yoga stretches and it worked. “It is great, so I tell people who come to my class: yoga is a tool, a tool you have for your whole life.” Although she has taught aerobics for longer, Delai now favours yoga because it is a more gentle practice. She pointed out her finest student, Paul Carnegie, and said he attended 99% of her classes, which run four times a week. Carnegie said he took up yoga mainly for wellbeing and health. “It is the opening together of mind, body and spirit, so for me it is a way of staying healthy mentally, spiritually and physically.” “I have been doing yoga for about 15 years now. You have to do it to experience the benefits, but they are very real. It improves your general health, keeps you calm, destresses you and helps your physical health. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to try it.” Like Delai, he had some physical reasons for taking up yoga. “Getting back into yoga has been a way of addressing some real physical issues from past sporting injuries. It gives you strength and flexibly and you maintain that strength, which prevents you from getting other injuries. “It links up all those different muscles and tendons as well, which keeps you stronger. It also gives you a mindful awareness of yourself and also your relationships with other people, and that projects out into the world.” Delai has nothing but gratitude for yoga: “Thank God for Yoga, I know how to fix myself. Otherwise, I always tell people, if I wasn’t teaching and practicing yoga I think I would be crippled.” Even if you consider yourself a mentally and physically healthy person, yoga can aide you in ways you can’t imagine. A simple twist will help your digestion, a downward dog might get rid of the little ache in your lower back, the relaxation will make sure you have a restful night’s sleep. Give it a go. Pure Fiji Zenegry Group Fitness classes run weekly at their studio on Karsanji Street, Vatuwaqa.
Yoga teacher and enthusiast…Julia Tawake
Tawake demonstrates how a yoga stretch is done.
Yoga stretches are good for human wellbeing and health