Whilst I enjoyed Les Mills Body Balance” classes at the gym in my twenties, I didn’t become a practicing yogi until my thirties.
Having lifted a large flower pot in the back garden whilst rearranging my patio (I know – so rock n roll!), I pulled my lower back and ended up in agony, finding it difficult to move, difficult to sleep and as a result, not in a great place physically or emotionally. I still delivered at work every day, be that in terms of tasks or lengthy journeys in the car but the pain (both for my inner and outer worlds as it turned out!) was taking its toll.
I will forever be grateful to the Doctor suggesting yoga to improve strength and flexibility and I found a class not far from where I lived, in a local school hall on a Tuesday night from 7.30pm to 9.00pm. “Perfect” I thought, “…not too early in the evening so I stand a chance of being back from work in time”. Make of that what you will!!
The class, it was explained, was of Scaravelli style, which of course made little sense to me at the time. Through the weeks, as well as introducing me to the hatha foundations and different postures, stretching and easing out the tension in my physical body, I realised that a Tuesday night was also the best night’s sleep I had a week, likely as a result. What I remember is the phrase “It’s about the journey not the destination of the pose”. My fond reflections of the Scaravelli style was that it had a playful quality, seeking the softness as well as the strength. The shape you created was somewhat secondary to noticing how you felt. I realise now, that where I was in my life, meant I was in far too much of a rush, not grounded in the energy or spirituality to appreciate the teaching.
The physical practice had ultimately been a doorway; a curiosity had definitely awakened within me. As a result, I’ve also undertaken various weekend retreats and “expensive stretching holidays” as my mum would say!
After every period of time away, I came back promising myself that I was going to make yoga a fundamental part of my day-to-day. I just felt so calm and open in my body and mind and replenished in my spirit? I was adamant it needed to become a more regular feature of my life.
And what happened? Every time, despite recognising the profound benefits the practice had given me, I would last maybe two consecutive days at home. Before I could even reflect on it, I would allow my work world to take over and yoga would be relegated to a once a week class (if I didn’t prioritise something else). The amount of times I said to someone, “I know yoga is one of the things I need in my life and yet it’s the first thing I miss when things get busy!” I recognise now that I’ve willingly sacrificed my needs for too long, and in doing so told myself that I’m not worth it. Not anymore. Lockdown has been a positive for me in a changing mindset and developing a structured practice.
But teacher training?
If you’d have told me after my first ever formal yoga class in that school hall in Warwick 12 years ago that I would be signing up for teacher training? I’d have laughed.
Yoga became my sanctuary but not one I spent quality time in, outside of weekends away or holidays. The old routine was allowed to dominate and the blissful practice and inner calm I’d cultivated, that my body, mind and spirit craved? Was long forgotten.
Yoga teacher training which began in April 2021 with the wonderful Whitespace in Stony Stratford (www.whitespaceyoga.co.uk ) has deepened my practice; testing me in ways I never expected it to and helped to tune me into my body and soul. I truly believe this is showing me how I come home to the real me and live yoga off the mat.
Okay. So how do I start?
There’s great online content out there but you can’t beat a live class with a teacher who wants to share their passion. The ability to personalise your practice, reassure, guide, support and adjust? Can’t be beaten live and ideally in the room. Albeit being able to roll out of bed and straight onto the mat without a drive to the studio and trying to park, does have significant advantages too!
Have a look online or in your local Facebook groups for classes being advertised.
Or? Get in touch! As a teacher in training, I’m going to be holding group taster sessions and an “Essence of Yoga” – 6 week beginners course in February and March 2022 and I’m offering one to ones as part of my training too! Keep an eye on the website or in my Facebook Group!