Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Eternal Student

Since embarking on my yoga journey, I tend to rate my success in life by how well I cope in potentially stressful or difficult situations and this week I am a complete and utter failure! 
Naturally rather a highly strung, short tempered person, thanks Mum, yoga should be allowing me to listen a bit harder and breathe a bit deeper and be more balanced in my emotions. 
Apparently I need to do some more yoga!!!! 
This last week has been an absolute shit of a week and instead of floating through it, being strong in the hard times, keeping calm in the stressful times and enjoying the relaxing times, I have been a right old bloody mess the whole time! Now here is the worst part, today I find myself beating myself up because of how I reacted to my week of hell. I went completely to pieces. I know what to do in fraught times, I talk to my clients all the time about using what you learn on the mat to enhance your life, calm your emotions and make a happier more balanced self - "Take a moment and breathe, then using that moment to rationalise your thoughts deal with what is in front of you with dignity and grace and a clear intelligent head." 
My head and body said "Bollocks to that" and crashed through the week like a huge over emotional elephant launching into venomous rants at anyone and everyone that got in my way.
"Attractive!" I hear you cry!
So, I sit here at my trusty Dell this evening taking stock. I do that a lot lately...does that mean I am self obsessed? Maybe I am just putting off doing my HUGE pile of ironing! Anyway, since freaking out over my freak out, I felt even more of a failure. I should be practising what I preach. I should be great at this, after all I have been teaching for a year! Then it dawned on me. I have been teaching ONLY a year, I have been living for 39! And those 38 years of gut reactions and high drama have become embedded in me. Now of course I am starting to reprogramme and starting to transform but it isn't going to happen overnight. (Do I sound like I'm a member of a cult?!!!!) I need to stop wasting energy beating myself up and realise that most things that are worth doing are hard and take time, lots of time, to develop and perfect. I want to be Mrs. Blissful, the type of person who is unflappable, rational and fantastically calm. Instead I am Mrs. Almost got a grip, Mrs. Shit you shouldn't have said that, Mrs. Next time I will breathe, then speak! And I know that all I have to do is practice. What is the expression, reap what you sow?!
I think the point I am trying to make here is that no matter how long you have been involved with yoga whether as a practitioner or as a teacher, you are forever a student. You never stop learning and remembering to put all that stuff that you learn on the mat into practice when you are most in need. And then, after a while, you won't have to remember, it will just happen, naturally, like breathing in and breathing out. So I am making a promise to get on my mat more, to step back from trying to build my business every second of the day and take time for my own personal practice. After all, I got into teaching yoga because of how amazing it made me feel! 
The great part for any yogi is that you always have that yoga tool box to dip into and pick out just the right implement to help you  along your road to Calmsville, which, by the way is just up the road from Cope Central!
Namaste Freedom Lovers x

Monday, May 23, 2011

Be wild, do it outside!

Mad, mad two weeks of work!
Now that is great of course but as I lolled in front of the TV at 11pm the other night, (I only ever watch for Brothers and Sisters, the greatest show anywhere, ever) hypnotized by "Made in Chelsea" (OMG!!!!! Will Caggie get over her lost love...who cares?!!) whilst stuffing my third chocolate bar of the day and barely able to keep my eyes open I suddenly had a realisation: bad TV, bad food, bad sleep habits and I have not done a yoga class for myself for the last couple of weeks. I need to get back on the mat and save myself!
How can you profess to be a good yogi and yoga teacher if you don't take time to develop your own practice and be inspired by other teachers.
After a slap on the wrist, and the last bite of my chomp bar I headed to bed on the promise that I would make time for class. Now of course if I was a really dedicated yogi I would be unrolling my mat in my sitting room at 6am every morning and taking my yoga journey on my own, but to be honest with you, I love my bed too much, my sitting room is barely big enough to swing a cat and I am not very disciplined!
However I can get up to go to work or to catch a plane...what does that say about me? Lets not dwell on that question!
Thursday came and I juggled my schedule to make it to lovely Julie Bealey's class at lunch time. For those of you not acquainted, Julie is my total yoga inspiration. Offering challenging 90 minute flowing classes across South Bucks she teaches with care and precision, a sense of individuality and humour. With Julie, you float easily into poses that you never imagined possible.  Her Thursday class is at her house, with a select group of women who are all very dedicated to their practice and approach each class with positivity and elegance.
Julie's house is beautiful and always immaculate too. I mean if you laid in savasana in my kitchen you would probably be too distracted by the cobwebs on the ceiling or spots of Ketchup on the kick boards to be able to relax and breathe! This week the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day on Thursday and when I got to Julie's the patio doors were flung open (she has the kind that concertina across the whole of the back of the house like a Grand Designs house). "Yoga in the garden today" announced our guru. I was sceptical as although the weather was gorgeous, the ground was slightly uneven and I was worrying if my new mat would get muddy-sad!
Well, it was AMAZING! I know that word is over used but the only other word worthy is AWESOME and then I will have to kill myself!
We did a wonderful Jason Crandell inspired flow full of Cobra and side plank in various incarnations. It seemed that each time I got into a side plank and was struggling with my deepest expression of the pose, a breeze blew my hair back and lifted my chest and I was able to bring my foot higher in vasistasana with Vrkasana or extend my leg a little longer in Vasistasana with side extension. And when we took a generous wheel toward the end of the practice, again, the perfectly timed breeze filled my body with energy and light and I floated up into the most satisfying version of this gorgeous pose that I have ever experienced. For our final relaxation we hopped to the shelter of her glass roofed kitchen and, lavender bags in place, we basked in the warmth of the sun as we floated in the glow of our practice.
So if you get a chance, fellow freedom lovers, throw your doors open this summer, or take your class to the park or the beach and get your yoga on in the great outdoors. It may hold new challenges but it will also hold fantastic wonders!
Here's to being back on the mat and to a summer filled with new adventures in yoga!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nobody's perfect!

It has been a while my friends, not least because every time I tried to blog the bloody blogger site was mysteriously unavailable and offline. Anyway, I am here now and that 's what matters, right?

Now I have also been rather pre-occupied with my health actually. Yoga is definitely a miracle worker and with a regular practice you can certainly combat all sorts of ailments, injuries, chronic symptoms and conditions but there is some stuff that just happens and has to be dealt with and no amount of down dogs or headstands can  help with the physical problem you are facing. Of course yoga can help to deal with the anxiety and the stress associated with these problems and that has been my saving grace this last couple of months. My daily mantra has been "Breathe Fee! Breathe your worries away and be positive"
Now before you all go sending me get well cards, I am totally fine. I had been told very casually after some blood tests that I had a raised hormone level in my pituitary and that I needed to have an MRI. The doctor then proceeded to direct me to a page in her "go to" book, the only word on which I honed in was "Tumor". Completely stunned, I left the surgery and spent the next little while alternately being in pieces and determined it was a freak test and I was going to be fine. After 2 weeks (seemed like 2 years) I got a letter referring me to a consultant. 
Now those of you who know me personally may beg to differ but I could never imagine there could be anything wrong in my head! (OK, OK concentrate now, joke is over!) 
5 weeks went by before my appointment and you can imagine I was a joy to be around! People telling me that if it was really serious I would have been taken in there and then, wasn't helping. I was convinced I was not long for this world and was a total wreck. 
Fast forward to last Monday. I finally walked trembling into the consultants office wincing, waiting to be told the worst. The fact that my specialist was called Dr. Brain slightly brightened my day with a faint chuckle! 
I am not about to keel over, you will be happy to know and after more blood tests it is possible that I have an issue with cells or even a larger nodule putting pressure on my pituitary but it is completely treatable. The other good news is that the fact that I am emotionally completely out of whack (again with the giggles?!) is all attributable to the physicality of what is going on in my head and not because I am generally a basket case!

The rubbish part is that I thought I was perfect (OK, OK, Stop!)! 
Turns out I am a little bit defective after all!

Now I am waiting for the MRI appointment to come through to confirm the type of treatment I need, which I gather will be drugs to shrink the cells rather then surgery which could be scary.
 But of course it being me, I am now worrying and preparing for the MRI. I am completely claustrophobic you see and I imagine it to be like being buried alive. Maybe however, in reality it will be more like sleeping in the upper bunk of a crew cabin on a ship, but without the boat drill announcements at 400 decibels in your ear and your precariously balanced alarm clock cracking you in the head in the middle of the night! I can do that!!!
As usual, when life throws me a curve ball, I shall take a moment, get my yoga on and breathe through it. I am already planning a breath meditation for the occasion. I will partake in a little Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) before I get in there and then take a simple sama vritta pranyama (equal breath) during the process. Those two types of pranyama are great for calming the body and focusing the mind. Of course that may all go to pot and I may end up eating a shit load of Dairy Milk before hand, then trying to figure out how I can assuage the guilt of the calorie consumption might take my mind off the fact that I am trapped in a confined space with someone checking out my brain for lumps!

Until next time Freedom lovers x