A bit like coffee shops and hair salons, yoga seems to be everywhere. Do you feel that too? But the great thing about this practice is that no class is really ever the same.
If you’ve not practised yoga before or if you perhaps feel as though it might not be for you, then my advice to you is to persevere and keep experiencing and experimenting with different classes - there will absolutely be one just for you.
My own yoga journey started in my local gym, it wasn’t exactly the Namaste experience you might have in mind when thinking of Yoga. I was 22 years old and I went along for the stretch to aid my recovery post work out. To put it simply, it wasn’t for me and I didn’t go back. I didn’t feel comfortable with my lack of flexibility and haphazard attempts. The class hadn’t inspired me to see the magic of Yoga or perhaps I wasn’t ready for it at that point in my life. Instead, I tried practising at home using a DVD and YouTube as my teachers. This is all I did for years, I never stepped foot in another yoga studio.
The following year, I remember going to a Buddhist centre with a dear friend who practised meditation. I was new to meditation and its philosophy, but I had practised what I call ‘a stilling’ since school thanks to an amazing RE teacher. I didn’t realise it at the time but it’s essentially the same thing…I was simply practising a lighter version.
My experience of meditation at the Buddhist centre literally blew me away. It changed my perspective on things. I then spent the next few years trying to recreate this magical meditative feeling sometimes trying other approaches and styles but mainly, I ended up only practising what I had learned that day for quite some time.
It wasn’t until a friend asked me to go along with her to a yoga class because she heard it was good. I was 6 months postpartum with my second child and what I experienced blew me away again. Just like my first experience. I knew I was onto something.
I was hooked immediately and began to go to classes each week. Sometimes twice a week. I was also practising at home to keep myself immersed in that feeling. Shortly after, I began teaching my son at home, and later, my daughter, when she could move a bit better.
It took me a while, but I eventually began to experience different teaching styles. There were some that I got on with, and some, that really weren’t for me. I found it frustrating when styles didn’t stick but as is the yogi way, I reminded myself it is about the journey and not the destination which encouraged my pursuit down the yogic rabbit hole. Can you relate? It was then that I started to explore what Yoga meant for me personally and truly began to hone in on that. That’s really where everything changed for me.
It was at this point, I realised that I couldn’t rely on one teacher to fulfil my Yoga needs, and I needed to explore further on my own and for myself. Seeking out new teachers can also feel daunting, similar to how we feel at the beginning when starting something new. We’re not great at being beginners, are we? The uncertainty and fear you can often feel when you’re about to walk into a class unsure what lies ahead for you on the mat is enough to send you into a stress response… is it a fast vinyasa, a sequence focussed on hand-balances or are we spending time in happy baby? Regardless, I kept going along, breathing through the discomfort of uncertainty, and before I knew it, I had found what I was looking for. It was me. My practice had evolved and grown into something I could never have predicted at the start of this journey and it is only now that I truly feel as though it is beginning.
In 2018 I had a health scare, and yoga helped see me through. Of course, I also have some incredible consultants and a wonderful psychologist in my wellbeing toolkit to compliment my yoga practise. Much like the Death By Lycra Collective wellness modalities, I believe wellbeing should incorporate a complete holistic approach.
Yoga is the practice which has helped me to slow down and tune in. It has left me feeling calm, whilst giving me space to breathe and connect back to now. Over the last year, I’ve explored further into what Yoga is for me, why it was important for me to practice, and equally, how the practice of Yoga is so intricately connected to my own values and beliefs.
For me, Yoga is not about the perfect pose.
It’s about the philosophy of letting go and finding stillness within my day to connect the mind, body and breathe.
To remind myself why we are here and how we are here.
Our connection to the earth we stand upon each day and the connection to each life we meet.
It’s about sending love, peace and gratitude out to the world for my abundance.
It’s about seeing people beyond their face and acknowledging that I know nothing about their day or life and I have no right to hold judgement or resentment towards them.
This practice is the practise which has changed my life, over and over again.
Having seen the benefits of yoga through trauma and after spending time reflecting doing inner work with my psychologist, I’ve decided to enrol onto my own Yoga Teacher Training.
My aim is to teach yoga and it’s philosophy from a grassroots level and beyond in the hope that I can gift the teachings of yoga to others, so they too have tools to guide them through life’s challenges.
Whilst I’m not the perfect yogi and my journey is very much in its infancy. For me, Yoga is life.
PS: I’ll be sharing and documenting my yoga teacher training journey via the DBLC portal so I hope it may help and resonate with those who may be on a similar path.