Practice and all is coming……..Eventually!
Six years ago I stumbled across Yoga. A beginners class literally on my doorstep. I love the power of the universe, when it delivers.
I make no secret of the fact that during that very first class and subsequent others I thought I was pretty rubbish and thinking back very much out of my comfort zone; nervous and insecure, in fact, I was probably filled with dread and apprehension even though I had my mum with me! (Yes, I took my mum and eight friends I do believe. There is safety in numbers, so they say.) You would have thought I was going skydiving without a parachute, not for a gentle workout! It is very much the opposite of how you should be feeling whilst stretching out on the mat, obviously, I know now that that’s not Yoga at all.
So I giggled and misbehaved my way through getting to grips with Apanasana and the fundamentals of cat-cow pose, felt nauseous (a bit like travel sickness) for most of the class and at the end felt it was only right to ask the lovely instructor if I could return the following week, luckily for me she was kind and eager. Oh and really needed the business, so she could fulfil her dream of quitting her day job so that she had more time to grow vegetables and bring enlightenment to Epping! Even more luckily for me, it was her first ever class teaching; and beginners Yoga meant beginners Yoga. The pace was slow and each posture was broken down and taught in its most basic form. Hallelujah.
It’s strange as I will confess that more often than not in life if there is something that I find particularly difficult and it is within my control to avoid, (like Tennis and Zumba or helping the kids with their maths homework) then I will. So I am not quite sure to this day where that desire to practice Yoga sprung from. My usual form is to stay away from anything that requires too much movement or coordination. I think I am still traumatised by being the clumsy kid that was rubbish at every sport ever invented, with zero rhythm thrown in for good measure! It is a challenge that normal people with the right amount of eye-hand coordination will never quite understand. (I wonder if there’s a support group.)
Maybe it was the incense, maybe it was Deva Premal playing softly in the background or maybe it was an unbeknown desire to escape from four small children for an hour and fifteen minutes. It could have been the ten-minute lie down at the end, or possibly it was forces outside of my control but back I came week after week. One class a week gradually turned into four and a slight addiction and compulsion to convert pretty much everyone that I knew into a Yogi (Still working on you Mr.Barron) was born.
Fast forward six years and now I even try new teachers as well (I know!) My Yoga Leggs partner in crime is the Yang to my yin and I am sure she was sent my way to help me become a proper adult. Last year she introduced me to Kundalini Yoga and Yin Yoga both of which I love and need. She is working on getting me to Rocket (good luck with that!) Best thing about trying new teachers is they are normally pretty awesome, beautiful souls with a little bit of new wisdom to share, they will recommend a book, play a song or read a poem that you had never heard or see something in you that no one else had ever seen. (And we get to sell more Yoga leggs; well that’s what I tell my husband. So basically it’s a win-win situation).
Where am I at in my Yoga practise, well I definitely practice, I am even doing The five Tibetans at home every day with my eight-year-old side kick Guru Miles, apparently it possesses the fountain of youth! Think the rest of the family are finding us a teeny bit annoying. If I am not in my regular spot at Amy Bramble Yoga you will hear cries of “where’s Mandy?” because for me my regular practise with Amy is very much my sanctuary and I make it one of my priorities. I am fortunate that I can work around Yoga. Yes, I often know what’s coming; she has pretty much taught me everything I know. Why is that such a bad thing? It means I get to really love my Yoga. Sometimes I think I am there to teach her as much as she is there to teach me, In six years I am undoubtedly stronger, I am probably more confident, my coordination has massively improved. My balance is good. Most impressively I will remember forever that Ardha Chandrasana means half moon pose in Sanskrit. But I don’t flow as she would like me to flow. I bend neither forwards or backwards with much enthusiasm. It will be a miracle if I ever stand on my head (should have learnt to cartwheel when I was younger) and apparently my ujjayi breath should be much better after six years! Patience Amy patience, practice and all is coming…….eventually. Suppose by now I should be halfway through teacher training, maybe in my next life. She is like my Yogic mother; willing me to improve, that’s what mum’s do I should know.
None of this really bothers me too much; (because of all the meditation I do(jokes) yes I want to stay fit and healthy for as long as possible, no I don’t want bingo wings (that’s why we do those awful arm strengtheners) It feels good to stretch and breathe properly, well I am trying to. But for me, I like the time with myself. I like going inwards, probably a bit too much. I’m just here to balance my chakras and engage in a little Svadhyaya. I like staying within my mat, and learning new things about my body and mind. If I started judging myself on how flexible my spine is or how bendy my limbs are compared to others then I’d be that kid again that no one wanted on their rounder’s team.
It is virtually impossible, unless you’ve had your ego surgically removed to not measure your own capabilities against others, not to judge your body’s inadequacies; we do it all the time on and off the mat. There will always be somebody better; there will always be somebody worse in every area of your life. My advice, close your eyes as much as you can, be happy for that girl with her nose on her knee or her leg behind her shoulder and just be grateful for what you can do. Don’t look behind or to the side unless it’s to smile at your neighbour. No one is good at everything but everyone is good at something. Don’t even bother competing with yourself just enjoy the yoga. That’s where the joy is.
Amy my friend, thank you for the gifts you keep on giving I will be forever grateful. Bear with me I am a slow learner. But I show up. And I make a beautiful tree. (LOL)
Much love, gratitude and Namaste