Yoga is something that defines me but what exactly does it do for/to me?

My elephants keep me earthed.

I know that seventeen years ago I was slimmer and very controlled about what I ate and how much exercise I did every week.

But, now at the age of 58 years old I am stronger and my body feels more vital. I am actually more flexible than I’ve ever been….or is it simply that I am more open to what my body is capable of? My age certainly does not dictate what I can and cannot do. I am prepared to give it a go even if it results in me lying there in a heap on my mat!

Yoga is actually often an effort to me…getting on my mat is not automatically my first choice. I believe myself to be rather lazy and would often choose to curl up and read a good book. Books have always been my first choice as they are delightful things and allow me to bask in hours of inactivity. 

This is where some speaking of my truth is needed. I have always put off things that I know instinctively will delight or enrich me. I have a constant battle within about doing that which will enliven me. Years ago, long before yoga, I went to the gym three times a week and I pushed myself hard. Going out of the house to a gym made me get on and look after myself on a physical level. It would never have worked if I’d had all the equipment ready in the basement or the garage.. Procrastination is the word that leaps into the front of my brain. There was always something more important that needed my undivided attention if I stayed home.

I discovered yoga 18 years ago and for a long time only did it at my weekly class, despite encouragement from my teacher. As I started by learning Iyengar Yoga I always felt unsure of what to actually do without being prompted and, as with anything new, it takes time to absorb information and have the confidence to practice alone.

Over the years as I did more yoga and learnt from other teachers I discovered the joy of home practice. It was absolutely fine to get on my mat and stay for whatever time I wanted.

This heater is vital to my practice.
In the winter our old house gets rather chilly!

Returning to the actual physical act of rolling out my mat and then stepping on to it, why is it so difficult? Why is it not easy to do this joyous practice which will deliver me into a space of pleasure and exhilaration? I have this understanding of myself that I believe differs from people’s perception of me. I am not the strong, capable, determined woman that seems to be seen by the majority. Yes, yes I am very strong and I am very capable and I can be bloody determined, just like many others in the world but I am also frail, vulnerable and feeble just like many others in the world. I do have times when I simply want to give up and give in.

It seems right to share that being a yoga teacher does not mean I have it all sorted as some would like to believe. I do not eat all the ‘right’ foods all the time and I adore coffee, so much so that I snarl if someone suggests a herbal tea mid-morning. I love the odd glass or two of wine and it would be downright foolish to give it up as my daughter’s soon-to-be husband works ‘in wine’ and brings me some absolutely delightful offerings. They are the kind of wines you savour, you do not throw it down your throat with a gulp. 

However, yoga has developed within me a respect for my body and I no longer crave food or binge on a chocolate cake. Everything that I eat tastes wholesome and over many years my diet or feeding has altered dramatically, perhaps more of that in a future post.

All I need for my practice….

Yoga stretches my body and that was a really a significant thing once I turned fifty. My body needs a regular daily practice of something physical, doesn’t everybody need that I ask gently? Yoga connects me to my breathing, a very undervalued activity it would seem in our modern world…where we grab a breath in the same stressed way we grab a cappuccino from a barista and tear off to our next important event!

I love the feeling after my practice that somehow along the way my body and mind have been totally involved with one another. They have learnt to work together and through that cooperation I have softened some of my shielding and opened just a little bit to all that I am capable of. I can breathe and feel the difference within.

There are many more wonderful books on my shelves.

So in easy to read points this is how yoga works for me;

1. I am proud of my body.
2. I am comfortable with my eating choices and the way I live my life.
3. I readily acknowledge, with humour, that I am far from the perfect being and who is? I ask myself.
4. I have discovered a yoga practice that works beautifully for me (Forrest Yoga), more of that later….
5. I am learning all the time about me and how/who I am.
6. I am learning all the time about yoga…always so much to learn, try and play with.
7. Yoga stretches me in every way.
8. I am left feeling more at ease after my practice.
9. I am a work in progress.
10. I am passionate about my practice.
11. And finally, I adore being in a position where I can empower others in their yoga journey..we are all moving forward through life and yoga can help smooth the way, and excite us on our journey.

I hope by writing this I may have help some understand why we yoga people do go on about it! And, perhaps you will feel inspired to roll out the mat, step on to it and breathe. Who knows what may happen next!

Love and best wishes to you all, Gillx

My ‘Altar’ in my therapy/yoga room.

Things of beauty to inspire…

Take your mat outside when the air is warm and the sun shines.

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