Musings of a Yogi...
I am pleased to offer a new timetable as we move into September, please check the 'About' page for full details. I am really looking forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new ones! As we move towards a new season which may be bringing elements of change (from a personal point of view I will be waving my eldest off to his first day at school and my youngest will be starting at her pre-school, there will be tears a-plenty!) I am looking forward to bringing us together in weekly yoga classes so that we can gift ourselves with a practice that can bring stability, comfort, balance and acceptance (as well as many other wonderful benefits!) If we are armed with a regular yoga practice we can use it during the times that we most need it.
As many of you will know, I love to delve into the science behind yoga, mindfulness and breathing. Therefore, earlier this year I attended a fascinating training session based around psychotherapy and yoga, where I was able to deepen my knowledge of the vagus nerve and the impact that yoga can have on vagal tone. This article explains the importance of yoga for vagal tone and it's impact on our emotional and physical well-being. It is well worth a read if you get a moment...
August is here and with it comes the promise of a new month ahead.
I think it might be human nature to seek out new beginnings and the potential opportunites they may offer us. Sometimes the beginning of a new month conveniently falls at a point when you're open to change. Maybe a particularly boozy weekend will provoke us to declare 'Right, I'm not going to drink for the whole of August'. Or a sedate July will spring us into action when the calendar ticks over into August... 'I'm going to go to the gym AT LEAST 4 times a week for the whole of this month'
All intentions are good, and we truly TRULY believe that our new-month resolution is realistic and completely achievable. We have already started planning around the wonderful outcomes that our new healthy lifestyle will bring. We will be full of energy, we will most definitely lose weight and look fabulous in all our clothes. We will be relaxed and happy-go-lucky and our usual tired and irritable selves will be all but a distant memory.
Then we find ourselves here, on Monday 5th August. We've just finished off the last of the chocolate tart from yesterday's pudding, the 5am wake up from the toddler has left us feeling significantly jaded (clearly her only monthly resolution is to wake up even earlier than usual) and we've just knocked a whole glass of water over (which took a cup of tea down with it).
So what is the moral of this common and woeful scenario? Why does life throw us curveballs when we had things so carefully and wonderfully mapped out? How can we take control of life and make things work perfectly for ourselves all the time?
And there it is... the need and desire for control. The idea that money and plans and determination can override the oddities of this life. Sometimes just throwing our hands up in defeat and thinking 'well, I did my best' is the only way to stay sane. Because anything else is trying to alter the very essence of life and all of it's many unforseen twists and turns.
How does this all relate to a yoga practice? We have to view it in terms of what we can and cannot control. We can't control most of the things that happen 'to' us, for instance a practical issue like your flight being cancelled resulting in you missing a holiday. Or the heaviest emotional life events like the loss of a loved one. But we can alter our reactions to these things and how we choose to manage ourselves.
If we choose to spend time practising yoga and we commit to doing it on a regular basis we will discover that there are times when we find it very easy to go and get bendy on the mat. It could make us feel light and energised. But at times when we are dealing with heavy emotions and perhaps don't see the point of practising yoga or we don't feel the same light and happy feeling from it even when we do make the effort to practise, we are forced to look into the true nature of why we chose to do yoga in the first place.
Yoga can be whatever you want it to be. It can be energetic and you can choose to push yourself to your physical limit but it can also be just sitting on a mat and breathing with awareness. If you stick with your yoga practice for long enough you will begin to realise what it is YOU need and when you need it. You will stop feeling the pressure of being 'the best' and you will start to accept yourself at 'your best'. If you have the will, patience and self-love to give yourself time to practise yoga on a regular basis you will slowly see it's ability to navigate you through the highs and lows of life as long as you recognise your needs at those times and you let go of the reigns of perceived control. Life happens 'to' us and yoga is one of the ways in which we can support ourselves through it.
So after that chocolate tart my needs are to wait a while and then do my very best to burn off the energy with an uplifting and challenging class and then give myself a nice long relaxation at the end. Because above all, we must always remember to give ourselves a break when we deserve it!
happYoga Buckhurst Hill, Essex. Weekly yoga classes, private classes and yoga brunches.