Since I went on my yoga retreat back in April, life has taken me in a number of positive directions. It seems that the time out from everyday life was a catalyst for positive change. That this time out- almost meditative in the sense that I didn’t need to think about anything – seems to have been what I needed in order to re-discover myself and re-set my own path where my focus had for so long been solely on my children.
The most exciting change that it brought about was to rekindle my love affair with yoga. I discovered yoga in my teens through a book that my parents had from a BBC TV series and I have dipped in and out of yoga practice on and off for the last two decades. I practised yoga throughout my first pregnancy and loved that quiet time just me, my body and my baby. I have fond memories of attempting a shoulder stand at 7 months pregnant and realising that that was probably the cut off point for inversions when I thought I was going to be crushed by my baby bump! ;-)
Since our summer holiday when I had an opportunity for daily yoga practice I realised that I needed it back in my life properly. I sit at my desk most days and I have always felt when my body was telling me to do yoga – whether it was my lower back giving me pain, my legs feeling tight or my neck aching, my body would always let me know when I was overdue a yoga session. Possibly a way for my body to retaliate at making it sit in uncomfortable positions for too long. However, quite by chance I discovered that a British Wheel of Yoga Foundation course was being held at a venue close to where I live and it felt as though the universe was pointing me in this direction, particularly as I hadn’t been directly seeking this course at that moment. Needless to say, I started it two months ago and it was definitely the right decision for me. It has opened me back up to the world of yoga, I am learning about the philosophy and origins of yoga, starting to explore pranayama and meditation in more depth and best of all having an opportunity to learn about and practise the various asanas (postures). To complement the course I have also been going to regular yoga classes, alongside my home practice and this has been the best part of all. Meeting some amazing, inspiring teachers, receiving guidance with my practice, trying out new asanas and learning new things every day. And what is wonderful about yoga, compared to the other forms of exercise that I do, is that it isn’t about losing weight or a preoccupation with shape, your focus is on your body and what it can do and the benefits that your practice can bring you- whether that be strength, flexibility or relaxation. In a yoga class you have the chance to listen to and learn from your body and to go at your own pace, with the benefit of a body that starts to develop muscle tone and strength without this necessarily being the primary focus. You go at your own pace and if you listen to your body it will take you where you want to go when it is ready.
It feels exciting to be on this path, to be learning new things, to be indulging in something I love and to be showing respect for my body. What is great about yoga is that it is open to everyone – young and old – simply because you can go at your own pace and there are no expectations other than what you put on yourself. I am hoping that this journey will ultimately lead me into teaching but this will be a few years down the line as the teaching element of the course will take a few years to complete BUT there’s no rush and I’m so excited at the prospect of sharing this with my children, of improving my practice, of taking this with me into old age and of sharing yoga with other people and hopefully passing on some of my enthusiasm.
“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle