When it’s grey and cold outside and your last five remaining hormones have made a pact to stick it to you just for kicks then may I suggest you ‘Yoga the shit out of it’.
I have done every style of yoga across three continents, since forever. Before you get to thinking that I am a lithe, bendy badass permanently poured into a Lulu Lemon Lycra two piece – I should be clear:
My relationship to yoga has always been intermittent. My heels don’t go down in Dagwood Dawg. I can barely hop my crow let alone fly her and I have NEVER done a handstand not even half a handstand, or a headstand – listen most days I can barely be arsed to do any kind of standing.
Despite my short comings and shorter hamstrings, I practice yoga daily currently and it is having a quiet and lovely effect.
I feel less glum when I pop my head outside my front door to sniff the damp, cold, February air.
I am less stiffened by the freezy temperatures.
I feel calmer and more graceful on and off my mat.
I don’t go to public classes – although I live in a city chock full of yogis and yoga studios. Good ones too. I prefer to do my yoga at home, it’s quick, convenient – I can choose exactly what suits my mood and I can do it whenever I feel like it. I can choose my teacher and the length of time I stay on the mat.
Even better – savasana at my place is at my pace – with my own soundtrack. Bliss.
I can even choose a sound track for my practice , from rockstar yogi to laid back jazz bunny… its all about the breath and the joy and the rythmn. Glorious. When you feel like winter might bring you down – push your coffee table to one side and find a yoga class on YouTube!
My absolute favourite teacher is the gorgeous Adriene Mishler. Check out Yoga with Adriene and explore her free online classes. There’s everything from simple focused work on specific poses, to full on, 31 Day programmes to support your deepening journey.
I love Adriene’s relaxed, humour and smart, well designed programmes. I am an active member of the closed, online ,Find What Feels Good Kula and I practice with her programmes every day. I’m currently going for round 2 of this year’s, excellent Revolution. I’m calling it Revo2tion. In fact – so is Adrienne!
I have been feeling glum this week. So I have turned up to my mat without much energy. I don’t push myself, and I don’t bring any expectations to the practice. I simply ask myself to be present and to listen. Which sounds poncey – but you will be surprised how magical listening to your breath can be.
Just by following your breath into your body and directing it through your body to where it feels tight and clenchy, you can create space and calm inside and outside. Just sit quietly, breathe deeply and evenly and allow your breath to soften your muscles and relax.
If you do nothing else – this yoga moment will sail you through your day.
Yoga is for everyone. You simply start where you is. You work within your boundaries and gradually, quietly and with your breath – you ease into strength, flexibility and grace.
I know that in another six weeks I will lay my nose on my knees. It won’t matter much if I don’t, but how delicious to kiss one’s own knees and feel the release in your lower back and your quads and calves that such a simple move represents.
Yoga allows me to let go, unfold and be kind to myself. In the middle of winter it brings heat and ease to my achey, cold muscles and a lightness to my heart. I am a yoga fan girl. I’ve even designed myself a pair of happy yoga pants!
You don’t need fancy equipment or gear, just something comfortable and close fitting and a mat.
I have had fancy mats and ‘cheap as chips’ mats and what I can tell you is – it ain’t the mat that makes the practice.
Just turn up, and give yourself some tender loving care.
Every day. EVERY damn day!