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How Yoga helped me enjoy movement

If a lack of flexibility is stopping you from experiencing a Yoga practice for the first time, here's why I think you should give it a go anyway!



I HATED PE at school. 

I was probably the kid the PE teachers despaired of because I wouldn't try. Why would I bother when I knew I'd be the last one to be picked on a team?! More often than not, I found a reason to miss those classes.

Ten years ago, I couldn't touch my toes. I wouldn't have gone out for a walk—before COVID hit, it felt abnormal to go for a walk on your own if you didn't have a dog! I'd most likely have been found with a glass of wine in my hand on a dance floor until 2 a.m. You certainly wouldn't have seen me step foot in a gym for fear of all the athletic people who knew what they were doing with the array of machines.

And then, when I was in my early 20s my mum (likely fed up with only seeing me surface for coffee and food or to drag myself to work at a job that gave me more stress and anxiety than the pay was worth) took me to a Yoga class.


In that first 60 minutes on a Yoga mat I found something that I couldn't be good or bad at. 


I wasn't in competition with myself or anyone. 


I was simply switching out of the rush and weirdness of everyday life and experiencing a sensation of 'being'. And it did feel simple. Yes, my mind walked around the block and back at least a few times, but gentle guidance brought it back to my breath or how I really felt in my body. It was humbling and calming.


After that, I always wanted more. I started to go to Yoga classes more often. After the first few times, I didn't feel like I needed a friend or family member to come with me anymore. The strangers in the room were enough, the teachers were like friends. The slight discomfort of going alone was worth it. I always felt better. 

Happier. 

Calmer. 

Lighter.

More comfortable. 

I was at ease in my own mind and body for the first time I could remember in a long, long time.  I started to feel more confident.


When I started my teacher training, I hadn't been practising Yoga for more than a couple of years. I squabbled with being 'good enough' or having enough experience to teach something I was learning. 


But you are always learning.


Yoga and meditation aren't about emptying your mind of thoughts.

Instead, they are an invitation inwards.

To be FULL of what you are experiencing.


Without self-enquiry about how you feel in a pose, it's more of a movement practice than a Yoga practice. Yoga invites curiosity about slight adjustments you could try.

It encourages you to notice what you need and follow it. Can you accept that you want to be resting while others flow and act with kindness to your needs?


Some days, it feels easy and other days, the same thing can be really challenging.

That's why it's called a practice!


When you take this self-enquiry off the mat and use it throughout your day to explore why and how you are reacting or behaving, Yoga starts to become even more than a movement practice. Yoga has become a part of my life. It is my job, my community and it introduced me to friends and business partners.

I developed self-confidence, resilience and I started to actually like my body - because it isn't useless when it is doing something it enjoys.

I'm honoured to be the person that introduces Yoga to people, and holds space for a community to practice together. I'm (perhaps embarrassingly) head over heels in love with what I do. And for those of you who are wondering, I can't just touch my toes now; I can get them all past my head. But that really isn't the goal! My classes will always include options for exploring movement in whichever way feels great for you at that moment. Because I never want you to feel about Yoga how I used to feel about PE!


Namaste

Yoga classes often end with the words 'Namaste', which means 'I bow to you' in Sanskrit. We bring our palms together in a 'prayer position' and gently bow our heads to our hearts. This gesture honours the good in ourselves and others in the room and connects us to our inner selves and universal consciousness.

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