I don’t tend to talk about it much, but my relationship with yoga has been a long one, starting in my teens and coming and going in consistency to the current day. Now a forty something adult with two young children, yoga remains a huge part of my life – an important way for me to unwind, refocus my mind on what matters, and of course clear a path for creative blogging! And I can’t imagine being without it.
A gradual discovery
I started yoga in the late 1990’s by picking up one of a handful of exercise videos we would have had lying around our family home – I know, remember VHS anyone?! At the time I had become a body conscious teen and was simply looking for ways to keep fit, but I immediately fell in love. It sounds cliché, but when I started yoga, I couldn’t even touch my toes. But the practice taught me to use breath to push myself a little further each time and I quickly discovered a flexibility I didn’t know I had! When you work hard at something and see progression in yourself in any part of life, it’s a very satisfying feeling and it’s this benefit of yoga, that I have come back to time and time again.
My practice hasn’t remained consistent over the years – I have been through phases of doing it every morning and phases of not doing it at all – but it’s something I have always come back to when I have felt able and has more recently come back into my life in a major way.
Despite partaking in almost every exercise class going over the years, and despite loving yoga so much, I didn’t attend a face-to-face yoga class until I was pregnant with my first child in 2012. I found a beautiful pregnancy yoga flow that helped me to feel a connection to my body and my baby that I know I wouldn’t have found otherwise. This connection and state of relaxation played a big part in our decision to have a home birth, which was so successful and rewarding we had no doubt we wanted to do the same thing the second time around.
A year after my second child was born and on the back of my positive experience of face to face classes, I joined an established local Yoga class in 2017 with Hayley McAlinden. It was a little daunting starting a new class having had two children and almost beginning again with a completely a new postnatal body! But again, one session was all it took for me to be hooked once more. The inward focus on your own mind, breath, balance and movement immediately takes you away from any day-to-day stresses, challenges, or even successes that may be on your mind, and allows you to spend an hour simply looking after yourself and achieving calm. Again, I loved the potential for progression too. It doesn’t matter how much yoga you do or have done in the past there is always more to learn and more to grow into. I know I still have so much I’d like to do in my yoga practice and look forward every day to seeing what else I can achieve.
Work life balance
The physical strength, flexibility and constant progression that yoga offers, as well as its requirement for mindfulness also helps to build my confidence and in turn affects my approach to parenting, my writing, and my work life balance. It allows me to take the time out I need to focus on what is really important and to believe in myself enough to be able to live the life I want to live.
I’d love to hear your experience of yoga and whether you find it helps you navigate your way through other aspects of your life.