I’m back! I wrote a thing and here I am writing another thing! Consistency!!
I had planned to publish an overview of my life in London since 2011 by year, and I am working on that but in the meantime I felt inspired to write about something else.
It strikes me that every day it seems there are new trends or events or tragedies happening in the world and we choose to climb into some of them, learn about them, do our own research, but many will exist to us only in the links shared by friends on FB and IG, the clips we see on the news and snippets of conversations we overhear. From these, we create a snapshot in our heads, loosely based on facts and we file them away in our heads.
I had this with Yoga. Yoga came into my conscious through Madonna. Madonna was doing Yoga and we should all do Yoga and it will change your life and why are you not doing Yoga? I was a teenager, I was obese, depressed and very isolated. I lived in the middle of nowhere and getting internet in our tiny town was a madman’s dream. But news of Madonnas love affair with Yoga had travelled. To me, one who partook in Yoga did so on a mat that looked like any other mat but cost €500, wore designer workout clothes, drank expensive cleansing juices and emerged from the Yoga studio looking radiant and perfectly sunkissed. Not for me I thought and filed it away in the back of my brain.
Fast forward to 2014. I was 1 year into trying to treat my body and mind better and I had joined a gym. However I was also trying to manage a full time, soul-destroying job with a part time MA and my gym plan had been reduced to Zumba twice a week. My gym ran 90 minute (!) Yoga classes on Sundays, so I went along to a couple. I really wanted to like Yoga. The intense Yoga phase had passed, most people at my gym were using the gym mats provided and seemed pretty chill and this was something I should like, right?
I have an issue with my back that I have yet to successfully explain to anyone. When I try to explain, even in person, they look at me like, ‘ummm… have you tried stretching after working out?’. Yes I have. My issue is, whenever I lie flat on my back and try to do anyhing that requires bending into a ‘V’ shape- e.g. crunches, or that thing where you hug your knees into your chest and then rock from side to side, I feel like Im being stabbed in my lower back. It feels like Im lacking some cushioning that everyone else has. Cant do it. Wont do it. So this was my main issue with the Yoga class. There was a lot of that, and a lot of people were enjoying it, and I was trying not to cry. Either from A) Making myself do it and the pain it was causing or B) Not doing it and just lying there feeling like a fat sack of s**t. I stopped going to class.
I graduated last November and this year I have been making a huge effort to move my body more and fill it with good food and I have loved the journey. Earlier this year a friend shared a post on Instagram about a 30 Day Yoga Youtube Yoga series she was following. It even came with a free calendar to tick off the days! I promptly printed out the calendar and watched the first 5 minutes of Day 1. She seems great! Ill totally do this!
I didn’t do it.
I experimented with weight lifting and strength training and cardio. I saw great results. I felt so much better. My mind which is addled with depression and anxiety, started to feel like a safe place. In July, I was thinking about my workout schedule. I wanted to change things up, or introduce something new. Yoga would be perfect I thought. I thought back to the classes and my heart was not in it. Then, I remembered my friends post on IG. I went on her page and scrolled back, aha there it was Yoga With Adrienne.
I bought a cheap mat on Amazon and the next day I settled down for my first video. I started to learn that Yoga is a catch all term for many things. Theres ‘Flow’ which is like cardio, there’s stretching which is good for pre/post workout or just if your body feels like it needs to be unravelled. Theres safety. Theres no judgement. Theres ineuendo and there’s HEYOOOOOOOOOO. (YWA fans will know what I mean). As with all exercise, your experience with Yoga is largely defined by your instructor. Adrienne is present and encouraging. The 10 minutes of Yoga you do is better than the 40 you don’t and just by rolling out your mat and deciding to do something for yourself, you’ve done the hardest part and you’re body will be grateful so rock on! Its not about perfect postures (thankfully), and everyday is different. Each side of your body is different. What is like to be alive today? Recognise that and be nice to yourself, and others. This is what Yoga With Adriene has taught me.
Today I met Adriene. In a Regents Park, a small part of the UK YWA family met in the bandstand and we hugged and chatted and took a million group photos and ate snacks and shared our loves. Love of Yoga, travelling, Gilmore Girls (!!!) and we were thankful. Thankful that it didnt rain. Thankful that Adrienes cold seems to be subsiding. I was thankful an old friend had reached out and told me about the event, thankful that I woke up feeling good and that my anxiety didnt get in the way of meeting so many wonderful, light and beautiful souls. When I left the meet up I carried that energy with me and I hope when I get on the mat tomorrow morning, and at the live YWA class tomorrow night, and in every downward dog and forward fold, I will remember this feeling. This feeling of being a part of something so positive and good in a time where you could be forgiven for thinking that everything is negative and bad.
Exercise made me love my body. Yoga made me respect it.
TL;DR – I LOVE YOGA AND IM A YOGA WITH ADRIENE FANGIRL