The Yoga Bug

My first yoga class was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. I know, I know, I sound all hippy-dippy already. Thats not what I mean.

I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. I had the same feeling I had about everything I agreed to do with another person, no matter how much I liked them or the activity – I regretted it because I just wanted to go home, put my PJ’s on and sulk. Annoyingly routine is something you can maintain even with moderate depression.

But I made a promise, and my friend Merran was right – when you agree to do it with someone else its not just you your letting down, its them too so cancelling is not an option without a valid excuse.

By the end of the class I was positively jubilent! I could do it! I finally found an activity I could do sufficiently enough not to hate every second of it and myself afterwards! And actually, I quite enjoyed it! And I wanted to do it again immediately. I went home, burst through the front door and said to my husband “I’ve done it! I’ve finally found my thing! Yoga is my thing. And I love it.”

The look of relief on his face was incredible. Swiftly followed by the realisation that yoga is all I’m going to talk about until even I can’t stand it any more.

Yoga makes me feel, in that moment, like the only important thing in the universe is my body and my awareness of it. My breath and my movements. Everything else falls away. Merran and I joke that our favourite part of the class is the relaxation for the last 15 minutes, where we lay in corpse pose and our yoga teacher gently guides us through a body scan, because “where else is it acceptable to just lay on the floor and do nothing but relax?” Even at home we’re disturbed by family, neighbourhood noises, phone alerts etc., but here we just lay. And its beautiful.

Clik here for more information about Bristol Yoga Classes: http://www.yogabristol.com/

That Moment in Life

I’ve never really been much of an active person.

I’ve tried, don’t get me wrong. I used to do PE at school just like everyone else, even went to Badminton and Trampoline some evenings but the older I become the lazier I get. Recently I’ve become so lazy that I don’t even like walking to the corner shop, I always find a reason why we can make do without, or I’ll go tomorrow, or the next day.

On the other hand, I’m a hard worker. A really hard worker. I like to be good at things and I enjoy doing things I’m really good at – but I’m not good at activity so I avoid it at all costs. My husband will attest to this. Only he knows just how truly difficult it is to get me to walk anywhere further than the driveway without moaning about it.

Recently I stopped being good at my job. It was AWFUL. I had exceeded my capacity for brain power and cognitive thought through various difficulties at home, increasingly more demanding workload and a college degree one evening a week and could no longer function at the expected standard. MY expected standard, as I later learned at a counselling session. I ground to a halt, realised just how bad I’d been treating myself and then… broke. I just broke.

I learned later I was the only one who couldn’t see it happening and had convinced myself that I should be able to deal with all of this, so deal with it I will. Well, I couldn’t. Because no one could be expected to, it was all just too much.

During all of this my friend Merran had said a few times, ‘I keep saying I’m going to be more active, maybe we could do Yoga or something? If we do it together then we’re more likely to stick to it.’ I kept pushing back. I don’t have time to do yoga!? don’t you know how much I’ve got going on at the moment!?

Eventually, after speaking with my doctor, I attended a cognitive behavioural therapy course to understand just how much I was expecting of myself and what little changes in behaviour and habit I coud make to cope with difficult times. One of the topics was activity. Of course it was! Up to this point, the more I spent time with my counsellor and listened to the other people on the CBT course, the more I started to realise that it had been screamingly obvious I was not okay and that I was at a critical moment in my life where I could let it all drag me under – or I could take control of my life and my choices and make a positive change.

As the conversation moved towards the percieved obstacles of activity suddenly my mind started to clear – Merran. She knew what I needed and had been trying to coach me in to it without setting off the inevitable bomb that was ticking away in my mind. This is it. This was the moment. Lose control completely or make a positive change?

I messaged Merran as soon as I was out of the class – I could not wait for that class to be over! “A little while ago you asked me about yoga – do you still want to do it? I’m in.”

And thats how it all started.

The class mentioned above was called Getting the Balance Back and is run by Bristol Wellbeing Therapies: https://iapt-bristol.awp.nhs.uk/