Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” ― The Bhagavad Gita-
Many years ago as a young Primary school teacher living in the New Forest in England, I decided to try yoga.
I made the naïve assumption, being a hard training step and circuit training fan, that it was all about gentle stretches and core strength, resilience and awareness had nothing to do with it.
Picture the scene…
I arrive and dressed in my stretchy leggings and leotard walk into the room of subdued lighting and incense, see a serene cross-legged seated, long haired older lady smiling benevolently and immediately feel out of place and uncomfortable.
Now this was in the 1980’s my friends and yoga was far from the mainstream, multi million business it is today. Those practicing and teaching yoga were considered “New age hippies”, Glastonbury visiting spiritual seekers, ashram cult guru worshipping outsiders or just plain “odd”.
Always open-minded, I made the quick decision to stay and give this yoga thing a go.
A few years later, with my daughter of eighteen months and having trained as an Holistic Birth teacher and Doula where I had definitely embraced my own “alternative” and spiritual woo woo side, my ex-husband and I were living in very rural dairy herd country France and living the Escape to the Country lifestyle so many only ever dream of.
We had bought a run down, dilapidated farmhouse with no running water or electricity and a few remaining intact original windows, rotten floorboards and evidence of WW2 Resistance occupiers and a history of being one of the local dance venues.
We loved it.
We loved our back to basics life where each day we worked on renovating our home with love, sweat and tears.
We started to learn to speak French and to socialise with our, mainly elderly neighbours born and bred there and with much to teach us.
I began to feel confident in my understanding of French in order to be able to look for some leisure activities and a wider social life outside the house and daily DIY and constant cleaning and organizing.
In my local supermarket I spotted a small square of paper with a buddha image and the words Pranayama and yoga on it with other words in French, a name and a phone number. Unbeknown to me, I began my serious journey with energy and breathing and all in French in the tiny living room of a beautiful soul in a small village in central France.
I loved it.
Every Thursday evening found me exploring Pranayama, yoga nidra, yoga philosophy and meditation in French. Admittedly there were times when my lack of vocabulary had me mystified yet I trusted that on some level, probably my soul level, I needed to hear what was being said and I understood it.
I joined in weekend workshops of asana practice and later on even got to stand in for my teacher when she had a baby and took some time out.
In 2019, after many years as a yogi, I began to dream of finding the time, space, finances and motivation to do my yoga teacher training. In 2018, I had completed an introductory course to teaching teens yoga with the inspirational Charlotta Martinus of the UK based Teen Yoga Foundation. I was delighted to be able to put the theory into practice at the school I was teaching at in Barcelona and got to spend time with my delightful teen yogis every Monday and soon appreciated all that “being on the mat” can bring to teens mental and physical well-being.
With one of my children at University in London and the other at school again in Switzerland, I finally realised that I had the time, space, finances and motivation to make my dream a reality.
I selected my training with my heart and opted to go to Mysore, India to complete a 300 hour teacher training certificate in Integrated Restorative yoga for 32 days from December 2019.
Was I scared?
As a 52 year old woman, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for or what I would be able to do. I was open to the whole experience and excitedly scared of what I would discover about me, my values, my health and my resilience.
Access to wifi was very limited; deliberately and so my intentions of keeping a live blog transformed into a hand written journal that later on a beach in Goa, I blogged.
Here it is;
The first week was torture.
The second week more rewarding.
Then I relaxed and surrendered and went with the flow without resistance and with love.
The days of silence were blissful, the two meals a day were delicious, Kirtan and mantra every evening before bed became a blessing and I was in awe of all the teaching I was gifted.
Yoga truly transformed my life.
I feel more at ease in my body and getting on a yoga mat is getting into a space of love. Pranayama is the essence of peace and oneness. Yoga philosophy is like having a bright lamp to guide me in the darkest night. I feel like I belong, have a family that understand me and a common knowing.
When I feel myself spinning and attracted to my old coping ways. I remember to breathe, to close my eyes, to centre and to be still.
When I am sad or angered or afraid, I remember all I have learned and tap into that to meditate or visualise.
According to Simon Haas, author of The Book of Dharma;
“Yoga is not only about self-discovery, but also about applying that self-knowledge in our everyday life. We each hold untold promise and potential; we each have a unique contribution to make in the world. To understand and manifest that potential requires great skill. That skill in action is called yoga”
As always, do reach out with your comments and let me know about your journey with yoga. If you want to know more about the Teen Yoga Foundation trainings visit the website here;
or ask me for more information about the next course.
Keep sparkling shiny soul…
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