I’m not usually into telling people what they SHOULD do, or even what is good for them, however there is one thing I am CONVINCED of….
Yoga is good for EVERYONE.
I began my yoga journey about 8 years ago…
A race-head; full-throttle, pedal to the metal kinda gal…
“Why walk, when you can run?” was my motto.
I didn’t know how to stop.
From the moment I woke, to the moment I went to bed (that brief 4 hour period when I actually shut my eyes), I was WORKING…..
I LOVED IT!!
I did life FULL VOLUME….
Gave it my ALL…
I thrived this way…
I felt ALIVE and ON IT and ALWAYS brimming with energy…..
My high-paced life was bound to catch up with me though…
Was I so naïve to think that out of all humans “I” was immune to normality?!
Yep! I actually did!
Along came the stress fractures…. Life’s first attempt to slow me down…
I had no clue of the existence of the ones in my right shin, which I developed first, as I just kept running right through them!
Yeah, it hurt, but I was so focused on being fit (or a machine!), I kept going and my body must’ve adjusted to allow me to continue.
When they developed in the left shin….. I was in trouble….
I still remember the moment of being on the treadmill, and SO full of pain that I almost vomited.
Someone at gym who knew me, and how I train, could tell something was up.
I told her I just COULDN’T run…
I actually couldn’t even WALK….
Being a trainer and hearing and seeing my issue, she recommended I get off to a physio RIGHT THIS MOMENT….
X-rays confirmed the diagnosis…..
STRESS FRACTURES in both shins so bad I was lucky they hadn’t progressed to a full break!
I didn’t know how to deal with the news that running was OFF the agenda for a long time! And so was walking!!
This was like telling me to STOP breathing!
This is when the opening occurred for me to consider something I would NEVER normally consider :
There was a new guy in town and he was starting a yoga studio.
He had no students.
He asked me to be his guinea pig.
I thought, “Why not!”
He was a nice guy and I was curious to try it and help him out.
My first class was HELL.
I was aware of EVERY TICK of the CLOCK.
Each minute was AGONY.
I couldn’t do the poses.
My body HURT.
My muscles were SO TIGHT and IMPOSSIBLE to maneuver and stretch in the way I was being shown….
I HATED Bryan!!!!
I couldn’t WAIT for the class to be over!
At the end I was supposed to lie in Savasana for 4-5 minutes….
I couldn’t HACK it….I found it SO uncomfortable….
Just LIE THERE?!
I would always leave before this part, mumbling something about having to be somewhere…!
(Yes I was “someone” going “somewhere” back then and wanted NO one or nothing to hold me back! Not even a restorative and blissful and self-loving savasana!)
I’m not sure how Bryan convinced me to keep coming.
We were buddies. I liked him. I trusted him (BIG for me!) He had a good vibe going on and part of me must have known I needed his influence.
So I continued to be one of his few early students.
I noticed, with curiosity, that my BODY felt GOOD after the classes….
Despite the distaste of the actual class, I liked how I felt AFTERWARDS.
My next challenge came when Bryan upgraded to a studio with MIRRORS….
My heart sunk and my gut wrenched….
Not only did I have to survive 90 minutes of BEING PRESENT, and contortionism, but I also had to LOOK AT MYSELF for 5,400 seconds…
My self-loathing and self-criticism was OFF THE Richter Scale…!
All I could focus on was what I LOOKED LIKE!! (Especially being in the presence of just ONE male!!) Yep, fully INto MYSELF!! I was in my early-mid twenties…still very much the princess!)
Class after class I would return…..
LOATHING the process for the most part, but slowly also noticing the FEEL GOOD afterwards…..!
My muscles were relaxing and releasing…..
Bryan was VERY patient with me and taught me how to BREATHE properly…. Through the pain and strain of the poses….
He refined my technique and guided me on better ways to do the moves…
When I would actually have an outburst of my intense inner self-judgment, he would respond with kindness and compassion- never sleaziness!
SLOWLY but SURELY he taught me how to take this on board for myself….
By BEING patient, compassionate, kind and present, he lead by example….
Modeling a different way of being for this wound-up, intense and self-hating girl…
I consistently attended once or twice a week.
I began to HALF enjoy it ☺
I still remember the day, after 3 years of weekly practice, that I realized I LOVED this yoga thing.
It had taken a LONG time for me to surrender, relax, let go, and I really ONLY did that for the 90 minutes I was in the class, yet I was learning how to let this practice slowly penetrate me and my life….
Fast forward 8 years and I have JUST returned back to yoga THIS MORNING after an almost 18 month hiatus….
I KNOW I will be there weekly once again!
I actually made this decision whilst I was down south in Melbourne for the Christmas Holidays…
My heart just said a BIG YES when I stumbled across piccies of the new Yoga Vida Studio on Facebook and everything I love about this practice just came FLOODING back to me….
Perhaps I needed the BIG BREAK to really deeply GET WHY I love yoga so much and to get REALLY clear on what it does for me and HAS done for me as a person.
Hand on heart, I would NOT be the person I am today without this practice.
My mind used to race all day, everyday…
My head was constantly busy, elsewhere and full of chatter!
I actually forgot this was once my normal until one day speaking with a client I realized that most often these days, my mind is still and quiet and present ☺
Once upon a time I actually thought this was IMPOSSIBLE!
When I heard Eckhart Tolle and others talking about mindfulness and “being here now” I JUST DIDN’T GET IT!
I WANTED peace and I knew mindfulness was the answer to my depression, anxiety and health issues…..Yet I just DIDN’T get HOW……
Slowly but surely yoga taught me how….
The initial love-hate relationship; the gradual surrender; the release of stored emotions (including anger, grief, sorrow, sadness); the way my body FIXED itself when things went amiss; the learning to LOOK AT MYSELF in the mirror without the automatic onslaught of criticism, judgement and distaste; the patience, persistence and yes, presence and PEACE this practice has bought me, I’m sure NOTHING else could…
I truly think for these effects to occur, you need to do a SLOW yoga….
Not an intense or high-paced one, nor Bikram…
Others may disagree with me, and that’s ok! I’m just sharing my perspective!
When you are going slow and you have to pause, and your mind has to concentrate on holding a pose, THAT is where I find the MAGIC happens…
In the initial frustration; learning to BREATHE through it; learning to SURRENDER and RELAX and ACCEPT; and then the LOVING it ☺
It’s a beautiful flow that I feel can truly only come from this kind of slow, non-flowing yoga…..(Bryan practices a Hatha style yoga known as the Barkan Method and you can read more about it here)
But that’s just my thoughts and experiences ☺
I could go ON AND ON about what yoga does for your body, mind and soul- including triggering your body to start its own detoxification processes; strengthening of bones; improvements in flexibility; boosts to the immune system; stimulation of ALL organs; balancing of hormones, etc etc, however the only way to really GET this is to DO it and FEEL it ☺
I promise you, if you stick with it, you WILL love it and it WILL change your life!
Maybe it already has??
Id love to hear your thoughts, experiences or questions ☺
Comment below or email me on [email protected]
All my love,
Mind, Body, Soul Wellness
Dietitian~Counsellor~Psychology Of Eating Coach
Make sure you’re on my list to get all the goodies I share! Click the box below 🙂