Yoga is a lifestyle…
Yoga…What is it?
Well, that’s a difficult question. I think, actually, Yoga is something different for everyone.
For me, it’s a lifestyle. For some, it’s fitness, stretching, meditation, me-time, something to complement their other training. And, I think for a while, that was what Yoga was for me too.
However, over time, Yoga has changed its meaning for me. It’s gone from being that class I go to two or three times a week to being something that has crept into my everyday life. But how? I hear you ask.
Well, we’ve all heard the term ‘yogi’. Yes this might be the fad phrase of the century but actually, it’s starting to make more sense to me. Getting your yoga on doesn’t have to just mean attending a class or a workshop. Getting your yoga on could also be simply having ten minutes lying on a bolster after a long day or being kind to someone who just needs a bit more love in their life. It could be offering a listening ear to a friend or offering some health advice or sharing a good flow with a client/friend/family member/colleague. It could be eating a plentiful, colourful plate of food or grabbing that nutritious green juice. It could be reading a book in a hammock, it could be teaching a workshop and sharing some tips on self-care and gratitude. Basically, you get me, yoga can start to wind its way in to your everyday life fairly easily. Once you feel those benefits of a yogic lifestyle, you just can’t get enough. Yoga makes you happy, free and balanced both physically and mentally.
In the last three years, starting my own business, having huge shifts in my lifestyle and doing all sorts of grown up stuff like real work or real life-admin stuff with houses and money (ahhh stop talking now) have required me to get some headspace. At first, I started off with mindfulness. This was totally useful, and I still use it today (especially the headspace app if I can’t get to sleep… works a treat!). My release used to be to kane it at the gym or clear my head on a long run. But, there was still just something missing from the puzzle. That last piece of the puzzle was Yoga.
About a year or two ago I went on my first ever retreat in Portugal (Vale de Moses) and I still remember that moment where I woke up on the second morning and my busy brain was no longer busy. There were spaces there for me to think/or not to think and that was just the start of it. The only word I can use to describe the transformation I was feeling was ‘floaty’. Both my body and my mind had let go of all that tension I had been carrying around with me. It was like taking a really heavy rucksack off my back. Somehow, I felt more like me.
Cheesy I know. But true. From that moment on, I knew I needed to get more yoga in my life. It started with attending classes and using it as a form of trice weekly relaxation alongside a little fitness. Not only was I seeing positive mental effects, but my body was becoming stronger, more toned. My flexibility was improving, and I was beginning to undo those tight hips from years of pounding the pavements.
It was kind of more recently that Yoga has developed from the whole trice weekly thing to more of a kind of lifestyle thing. It’s official, I am now a Yogi.
The changes have trickled through into life slowly, it’s definitely not been a defining moment where I’ve thought ‘right I want a more yogic lifestyle so I’m gonna make it happen’. It’s more been a case of my recognising ok some yoga would help me here. And, it’s not always the stereotypical downward dog my body has learnt to crave. Sometimes, it could just be a sit down with a fellow yogi or a little stretch. It’s almost like Yoga is a coping mechanism for what life throws at me. What I love about it most is that you can do it anywhere.
Yoga is for everyone and doesn’t have to be bendy, extreme, aesthetically beautiful or perfect. Yoga just needs to be right for you at the particular moment you need it. Like a hug from your most loved one, yoga just feels good. There’s no need for anything fancy here. Just get to it.