When I first tried yoga over 30 years ago I had one intention - to look hot. Back then, I didn’t know my arse from my elbow. Legs and arms akimbo and poor breathing due to being in a permanently anxious state but not even knowing. I was in my early twenties and when I walked into the room which was full of “ old people” ( probably around 35) I knew I’d impress them with my youthful vigour. It didn’t take long for my first ego check as the oldies effortlessly reached for their toes while I puffed and wheezed barely able to reach my knees. Max Strom said “Yoga is not about touching your toes it’s about what you learn on the way down”. I learned a lot. I was always pushing judging, striving and aiming to be perfect with a desperate need for approval. I saw life as a race where I had to compete with everyone and there was a distinct lack of kindness towards myself. My body was something I wanted to fix and change in a vain hope that somehow if I fixed my outside I’d be happier on the inside. Wrong.
Through a regular yoga and meditation practice I’ve learned how to slow down, step back and watch my thoughts, patterns and habits arise. Over time this develops an ability to observe rather than react to thoughts. It was liberating for me to learn that I am not my thoughts and I’m forever grateful to my yoga practice for that. Emotions and feelings that we don’t acknowledge run our life but we can’t release them if we’re not aware. Yoga might helps us ease out our backs and lengthen our hamstrings but its best gift is the opportunity to wake up to ourselves and let go of those habits and patterns that are destructive to our health and wellbeing.