Can I be honest about something?
I’m fed up of watching people be put off by Yoga because of what they see online. I’m tired of being spammed online with all kinds of fancy Yoga poses, over-used quotes, and over-priced yoga clothing. I’m tired of Yoga as an extreme sport or as contortion, competition, and intimidation. Please, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE watching talented Yogis break it down, and open up into exciting and majestic poses. In fact, I find myself so inspired by these gorgeous humans and watching them on their mat! They look so happy and free. They look as though they ARE Yoga. And that, to me, is where it’s at! Now, I’m not so concerned with what they are feeling, or where they are in their journey for this post; I’m concerned with the fact that Yoga should be about that internal magic to which only you have access. Unfortunately, it’s so easy for your fire to be put out when you compare yourself to others, or look at the “yoga world”, and suddenly feel deflated. It has happened to me so many times…
I’m not all that flexible (you should see some of the Yogis I train with… wow!), or even a big fan of fancy poses for the most part. I’m not super slim and/or super toned. I’m not always living my best life. I have pity parties for myself. I can be hard on myself. I can be critical of myself. I let the weather affect my moods a bit too much. I get sad, angry, scared, impatient, and all of that. I’m just me. I also enjoy life though! I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m clumsy, I’m passionate, I’m in love, I’m kind, I’m adventurous, I’m active, and I’m human. What else? I’m quite an experienced practitioner, I’m a darn good teacher, and I’m completely in love and devoted to my practice. I honour its teachings, my teachers, myself, my body, and the world that allows me to experience such love. I’m human, I’m all kinds of things. I’m also nervous in headstands, I don’t really like them. I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that to this day, I’m still wondering how Yoga and I can get on as well as we do.
Deep down, I know that Yoga and I were meant to be, but sometimes I think of how differently my life could have played out at that crucial and pivotal moment, during that faithful, and deeply painful time. When I first started Yoga, it was nearly 10 years ago and I was stiff as a board, having lost a lot of my flexibility from my nearly 15 years in dance! Crazy right? I had grown up doing all kinds of activities, especially ballet and football (soccer). Eventually, I ended up doing mostly football, running, marathons, triathlons, and very little stretching. As I entered the Yoga world, as it were, I had no real expectations. I did so on a very emotional level and it evolved into a spiritual journey. I was so easy on myself because I just wanted to feel good, have strong practices, and learn from my teacher and her classes. I ended up growing my practice so much and deepening my spiritual journey. I even went back to Ballet and loved the physical balance the two created.
When things shifted
It wasn’t until later with social media smacking me in the face with all these beautiful and flexible Yogis that I realised I looked so much more awkward than they did! I obviously was not the ballerina I had once been either. This was hard for me to accept. Whilst I had continued various sports (particularly soccer), and even become quite the cellist by the time I went to University, I lacked in Ballet, and I felt I lacked in Yoga as well. This hurt because I felt the two were very special to me and I did not fit in. I then had a short phase where I didn’t do much of either. I felt discouraged and a bit sad about it. I was also going through some personal issues at the time, which did not help. Sadly, going back to Yoga would have been exactly the therapy I needed. But I felt too weak to face more rejection and disappointment. That’s how I felt at the time.
When it all came together, because… true love!
I never forgot about Yoga and it was always a part of my life. In fact, it was a part of me more than I realised until recently. Sure, I did not practice as much for a while, nor did I meditate as often as I should have. However, I never forgot what I learned. I never, ever forgot what it gave me or where it led me. I most certainly did not forget who it made me. Without always being aware, I carried my practice with me, travelling the world and continuing on the spiritual journey on which I had embarked that day. Now, I teach, I coach, I lead workshops, and conferences, and most importantly, I am still naturally, genuinely, not-so-surprisingly, the clumsy Yogallerina (a term I came up with when I was being my “coolest” 18 year old self ;)…) that made it here and became who I am, for better or for worse.
So, on that note, here’s a Yoga sequence that I led with my heart, of course, and a whole lot of “let’s do this! two on this side, three on that one, I lost count, this feels weird, what am I doing, oh that was fun, ouch my knee, love this tune, I really chose the wrong clothes to wear on camera, hang on breath……wait I’m filming, oops, let me do more of this whilst I figure out how not to do the same 3 things because I should not be filming my Yoga….) I tend to go rather wild when doing Wild Thing focused routines….
🌿Getting into the pose is just as important as being in it, if not more.
🌵We all know the saying about the journey and the destination… Well, this applies to everything in life.
The other day, it was raining, I had so much work to do, laundry was drying and taking over the lounge, and I was feeling tired, stiff, and a bit grumpy. Then, I realised that this was the best time to make a practice out of my current state! A teachable moment of sorts. As I was, I rolled out my mat, my research paper in my mind, my laundry in my face, the rain outside, and worked through the sensations. I made a whole practice around prepping, and feeling what my body needed. I let go of symmetry, structure, and expectations.
🧘🏻♀️The only way out is through. So sort from the inside, and the rest will follow. Embrace madness. Explore madness. Find the magic in madness. In the end, your work will be completed, your laundry folded, and the sun will shine again!🌈☀️🤸🏻♀️
Real talk though guys, I had a blast with practice today. So freeing, so powerful, so nourishing, so bright. I felt warm, energised, and my belly was full of light and gratitude.
Happy and Blessed living!