Christmas. Whether you celebrate or not, this time of year can be hectic to say the least. If you practice yoga it’s probably the one time that your body and mind need the practice the most, and yet somehow it always seems to be the thing that drops to the bottom of the list below shopping, organising, festive drinks (hangovers!) etc. And then comes the guilt, which invariably leads to stress, which is one extra emotion that you really don’t need right now! The good news is that you can continue your yoga practice away from the mat. I don’t usually like to mention this, as I love to see people on their mat practicing with me! But sometimes life gets in the way so it’s important to remember that there are small tools you can use to ensure that you keep your calm all the way into the New Year.
It’s 4pm as I write this and I am in bed. I’ve been in bed all day, and I spent all day yesterday in bed too, and the day before that. I know what you’re thinking… ‘lazy bitch!’, and usually with the facts above I’d agree with you, only this week I’ve had no other choice. You see, this week I went into hospital for, what was originally, exploratory surgery to my lower abdomen and it ended up being rather more complicated than anticipated. Thankfully, despite the unexpected complexities, it all went really well, but what it’s made me realise is how much we take our bodies for granted. Even me, a person who uses their body consciously and energetically every single day and who didn’t consider myself to be somebody that took it for granted, not for a second. But I did.
On Wednesday morning, the day after my surgery, I went to sit up, only I couldn’t. It suddenly occurred to me that we are using our muscles every single second of every single day, even when we’re not aware of it. This might sound an obvious fact, and it absolutely is. But when is the last time you actually ‘thought’ about sitting up? For the lucky majority of us, we don’t think about it, we just do it! Yet here I was having to figure out a new way of attempting to sit up, without engaging my core muscles in the natural way I normally would. As it happens, for the first day, I couldn’t sit up at all without help but since then I’ve been working out ways of getting myself upright that don’t put too much pressure on the front of my body and it’s been a fascinating learning curve to realise just how much of my daily movement is normally autopilot; unthought and natural. Continue reading
Dear people of the world,
I know some of you don’t think it’s fare that I judge so many of you buy you’re ability to spell correctly or use grammar properly. That said, I think their is definately a good reason behind my knead to want to sea the english language being used properly. You see half the time what your saying don’t even make any sense and i cant figure out what it is your going on about because you speak so much crap and rant on and on and it really hurts my head to the point that I cant even figure out what the start of the sentence said never mind the end. I know you think your be fine but your wrong and its pushing me to braking point. So next time you have to right something down please remember that if grammar doesn’t come automatically to you its ok. Just take a little longer to write things so that it doesn’t have such a terrible affect on the rest of us and you don’t end up looking so stupid.
The rest of the world and I.
This question could have an awful lot of answers for me as, over the years, I have been inspired by so many wonderful people. Today however, I want to focus on one particular person of inspiration who has had an absolutely profound effect on my life since I saw them speak, in (I think!) 2005. Back in 2005 I was working one day a week as a Sports Therapist, while the rest of my week I was still firmly in ‘career mode’ working in Business Development & Marketing for a large venture capital company, 3i plc, in London. I was also just about to sign up to do my yoga teacher training having been practicing yoga then for about 5 or 6 years, with my British Wheel of Yoga foundation courses already under my belt. It was a time of self-discovery and learning for me, as it has been ever since!
Every couple of years the company held a worldwide conference in a different location and this particular year it was held in London, at the Roundhouse in Camden. It was a fantastic event, filled with colleagues from around the world, and on one of the afternoons we were treated to two inspirational talks, one by the amazing Kevin Spacey, and one by a gentleman by the name of Benjamin Zander. I must confess that although my career with this company seems a long time ago, and so different to my life now, they were some of the best ‘career’ years of my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today without having gone through that experience. Now you may be thinking I’m about to write about Kevin Spacey, but in fact I’m not (sorry Kev!). Today is actually all about Ben Zander. Though don’t get me wrong, Kevin Spacey was truly mind-blowing and a real treat that, I confess, certainly succeeded in making me feel rather starstruck!
This may be the most short and sweet thing I’ve ever written, but it certainly won’t be the least important…
I was raised a Catholic. I attended church regularly and with enthusiasm until I was a teenager and started asking A LOT of questions. Without going into too much detail, I no longer consider myself a Catholic but it’s important to note that I am grateful of my upbringing; it instilled great morals in me and I wouldn’t change it in the slightest. I met great people, learnt valuable lessons and was lucky enough to mix with people who allowed me to question anything I needed to. People now often ask me am I religious? No. Do I have a faith? Yes. Would I describe myself as spiritual? If you like, I have been known to hug the odd tree when the mood takes me…!?
I recently got married and we chose a Humanist ceremony in an outdoor location (outdoors is my ‘church’)*. Many people have since asked me ‘what is Humanism?’ and ‘why did we choose to get married in this way?’ and I’ve struggled to give an answer that I feel appropriately showcases what Humanism is…until today! Today my friend shared a link on Facebook that answers everything so well that I simply have to share it here. So thank you to the frankly awesome Stephen Fry and the British Humanist Association for creating a video that I feel answers the question far more efficiently than I ever could. See below:
*We got married in New York where the Humanist wedding is recognised as a legal marriage however it’s important to note that at the moment a Humanist ceremony is not legally recognised in England so anyone choosing this route would still have to have a legally recognised service as well. This is hopefully going to change in the not too distant future!
It’s been a while since I’ve shared any stories on my website as I have had a crazy whirlwind few months, but here’s a story I’ve wanted to share for a very long time now so it seems about right I get on with it!
20 months ago I got engaged in a wonderful, magical, truly bohemian setting and, about 5 months after, we finally picked up our engagement ring. Now you may be wondering why it took so long for us to get one and this reason is twofold. The first reason is that the proposal was not planned so there was no ring presented at the time, but the second reason is that we then designed our ring together and went with an entirely ethical choice that fitted with our lifestyle, our beliefs and our morals. This story, though long overdue, is going to explain a little about why we did that and exactly what we chose…‘The sad fact is — mining is a very “dirty” business and the production of one beautiful gold ring will generate five tons of environmental waste, contaminating water and lands which endangers the health and lives of humans and animals’ – HOOVER & STRONG
Sometimes the most important thing that yoga gives me is not flexibility of the body, but flexibility of the mind. To be able to embrace fluidity of thought and flow through life without a mental fight, without resistance and without strain against the path is truly the biggest gift I have ever experienced. I am still learning, I still fuck up and I still make mistakes but the fact I can see them, accept them and then move on with freedom? That is what yoga has given me, and that is what will keep me coming back to my practice day after day and year after year.
That’s my yoga.
I’ve just got home from teaching my regular Tuesday night class at Glow Yoga. It’s always such a highlight in my week; the blessing I receive from spending my evening offering yoga to a room full of embracing souls open to personal evolution is indescribable. I am frequently reminded why I teach simply through teaching.
Tonight I spoke a lot about possibility, strength and choice. These three things have played a big role in my life, particularly the past few years as I feel like I’ve grown more in these past years than ever before. In many ways its like I’ve simply awoken to the game, awoken to the invention that is life. I’ve realised that life is surrounded by rules but that these rules are all invented. I’ve realised that the way we feel everyday is largely a choice and I’ve realised that what we put ‘out there’ is key to what we get back. It’s like I’ve cracked a secret code and have ‘tricked’ life, but of course I haven’t. It’s just that life is tricking most of us most of the time and actually if we were just to cut the crap we’d all see that it’s actually pretty simple…
Twice a year I travel to Cannes with Chapman Taylor for work conferences and as I write this I’m currently sat on my return flight from Nice to London Heathrow. Thankfully this flight is at a friendlier hour than my outbound flight on Monday morning which required a 4.30am alarm call!
I wouldn’t describe myself as a frequent flyer but I travel enough that I’m fairly organised with it now. I keep all my paperwork and passport in a little file and have the BA app on my iPhone so that I can have a paperless boarding card, which I must admit I still find very novel! I also always schedule reminders to check in online the day before and ensure I get a decent window seat. I confess that I’m still completely useless at packing however and even with my incessant list writing it never seems to get any easier! It is truly one task I could happily live without, particularly for conferences where I try to pack light but have to take such specific outfits.
As some of you may have noticed I took a little break from my writing duties just recently, having completed a full Yoga for Sport series for Yoga Magazine throughout 2010. I am now gradually re-introducing some writing to my life as I missed it so much! You can read my next article in the July issue, out on the 29th June which will be highlighting all the best yoga festivals in the UK and beyond. However I’m also feeling rather proud and very excited that I’ve been asked to write my first feature article for the US version of the magazine too! My first article ever to be printed in the states will be in the August issue which is out on the 19th July!
Happy reading and love & light for an Easter break full of sunshine… and yoga!