So exactly a year ago today I began a practice of Yoga. I chose a very popular channel on YouTube called Yoga With Adriene and started her 30 day yoga challenge.
I ended up enjoying it (and her) so much that I decided to keep going and try 60 days. Well that 60 days turned into 90 then 180 and so I kept going.
I started at the very beginning of her videos going back several years. I chose one every day and just like that I rolled my mat out every damn day.
Yoga was something I had tried in the past but I just found it too slow. I loved being in a gym in a spin class and not on a mat breathing deeply into a certain pose. It just wasn’t for me.
Now it is.
I guess I began doing this daily practice because I was suffering. I was suffering with a move across the world for the third time and I felt like I had lost parts of myself in that mess.
I was told that yoga was kinda like my mindfulness practice except a moving one, a moving meditation. I was told that it would get me fit and even though I felt I was already fit I thought maybe it would help my strength.
So I guess I started yoga for some of the right reasons and to be honest, I just wanted something other than meditation to stick to every damn day.
Fast forward 365 days from that first downward dog on my mat to now...
It's no longer about what the pose looks like, it's about what the practice as a whole feels like...
I no longer do it for aesthetics or fitness but rather for solitude, alertness, vibrancy and vitality.
I have been overweight and a perfect weight on my mat. I have cried on this mat, loved on this mat, been heartbroken on this mat. I have been ill on this mat. I have almost given up on this mat but some small voice, deep deep inside, kept asking me to come back to it anyway.
To keep melting into poses, to lean into stillness and the sound of my own fragile breath.
I have also found that some of my greatest ideas for future novels and many of my poems have been born on this mat. In fact my newest book (a poetry book), which will be out soon, was mostly composed during the past year both on and off the mat!!
I have struggled on this mat and yet I persevered and listened to my heart.
My shortest practice (when I was ill) was a mere 3 minutes and my longest was over an hour.
I felt very proud and very emotional today when I free flowed on my mat, because of course I did the last 30 days how I began, with the 30 day yoga challenge.
Adriene encourages her viewers to free form and do whatever they want in this particular practice and, now that I know so much more about asanas, I get to choose and find what Adriene’s motto says “find what feels good”.
I am kinder to myself now both on and off the mat. I find peace in my movements and can also tell when my body needs more love or less food, or more from me in some way.
I thought I was mindful before, yet these days I feel way more in tune with everything.
Being a yogi has taught me to be even more giving in this world where so many people seem to be taking.
It has taught me to just stop making drama for myself as there is quite enough in the world already. It has taught me the beautiful and the ugly in my thoughts and how one feels so much more nourishing than the other.
I extend this idea to you...
If you are a writer like me and you often can’t get out of your own way with either excuses not to write or, no ideas when you do, then I can highly recommend yoga for assisting you.
What I love about Adriene is her playful and often ‘dirty’ humour and her ability to hold a space for me on the mat.
I would recommend, if you do fancy giving it a go, trying her foundations of yoga series on YouTube a go.
Your creativity just may thank you :)