After a hiatus of more than six years, I have returned to yoga.
I have been wanting to supplement my twice weekly swimming with some core strength and flexibility work for a while now. I did a lot of Bikram yoga before I left Australia and for a year or so after I arrived in London and have dabbled in yoga of the cooler (by that I mean non-hot) variety and pilates as well. I have always loved the intensity and mindfulness of these types of activities as well as the centered feeling that comes afterwards.
A bit of googling a few weeks ago yielded a great yoga/pilates studio walking distance from Gidday HQ so for the last three weeks, I have relinquished my unscripted and lackadaisical Saturday mornings in exchange for this:
- The alarm goes off at 8am – I know…on a weekend. I lie there for 15 minutes wondering why I am doing this to myself.
- Stumble bleary-eyed to the bathroom and, avoiding eye-contact with the mirror, splash my face with cold water.
- Brush/flatten ‘bed hair’. My bed hair is a remarkable feat of vertical engineering that occurs every single night.
- Put one load of laundry in the washing machine on the express cycle. I’m up, may as well be productive (so I can be lazy later).
- Have vegetable juice and a yoghurt. Sounds noble but it’s really all I can manage first thing/pre-exercise. Don’t worry, I make up for this later.
- Get dressed.
- Transfer essentials from my handbag into my backpack.
- Hang the wet washing on the airer.
- Walk to the yoga studio (25 minutes).
- Groan and sweat for one hour at the same time as working out how to actually ‘switch on’ [insert name of muscle I have never heard of]. It’s multi-tasking at its best peeps.
- Walk home (25 minutes – again).
- Shower. It’s a surprisingly sweaty business this yoga (and no I’m not doing Bikram or hot yoga.)
And that peeps, is my new Saturday morning.
I’ve followed this new routine for three weeks and on balance, the news is good:
- Morning backache has disappeared and I’m feeling longer, stronger and looser-limbed than I have felt for years.
- I’m breathing – deeply – again. And given my easily distracted disposition, I hope that I’m also reaping the benefits of a few meditative moments at the start and end of every
classpractice (and re-learning the lingo).
You may have noticed that I said ‘on balance’ and that is my struggle. Tree pose was never my forte and my balance, unlike a fine wine, has not improved with age. But I do my best to spread my toes and draw up and yet I wiggle and lurch about, falling on my a**e at least once a
class practice. It is somewhat chastening but yoga is supposed to be about letting go of ego and let’s face it, a little less ego never did anyone any harm.
Coming down to earth – literally – also reminds me to pay attention to what I am doing, feeling and ‘switching on’.
But I am hooked and have booked next week’s
class practice already – there is something about actually booking a place that makes me go rather than succumb to more than 15 minutes of wake-up wondering after the alarm goes off – and I’m hoping to bring a little balance and mindful breathing into the week ahead.
Wishing you all a peaceful and mindful week.