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About a quarter of the way through my #30daysofyoga urban retreat I am getting a clearer definition of what yoga means to me. I was really tired when I started but now I have started to feel a great energetic shift and am inspired. My spine feels freer and shoulders less knotted and I notice parts of my body that have been lacking attention.
Yoga can be a time for honest reflection.It is good to be a student and remember why I fell in love with yoga, especially as I revisit styles and teachers that I haven't been to for a while (e.g. Iyengar) and there is something very special about leaving the house and being part of a community of yoga-goers. It is worth the effort despite the initial lethargy most days! There is a creative exchange that can occur when you are in a group observed by a teacher - which is profound. It also feels good to venture outside of my comfort zone and try some new classes. The format of classes are so varied it has shaken up my rules of what a yoga class should be. Every teacher has something to offer and if I am too busy judging them I miss what they are putting forward. If I let go of my story, my thoughts, my way - even just for a moment - and surrender to what is there, I can learn something. And if it doesn't work for me, well, I can let that go too.
We have got to keep questioning to keep growing.I am stunned with the amount of yoga happening in the city - it wasn't like this even a few years back! Every day there are a huge variety of teachers and styles to choose from. It can be overwhelming and feels a bit like a decaff soya cappucino with extra froth kind of thing. (I am a black coffee kind of gal, I just want the simple stuff with a good buzz.) But the good news is more people are out there moving, breathing deep and hopefully detaching from their egos a bit. We know the rigorous styles of yoga are the most popular in London. Londoners are busy so they get a work out, stretch and relax at the same time for the same price. But I wonder if our yoga's main emphasis should be to get a work out? It is great to build strength and stamina, but surely not at the expense of loving compassion...
When does it stop being yoga?We spend so much time being hard on ourselves, why should our yoga encourage that? I believe yoga is about tapping into our deep energy source and replenishing - not about hurting ourselves. Of course we should keep strong but not in an injurious way. So maybe creating the space for a yoga practice to challenge but with the intention to nourish and restore is the way forward. I am seeking those teachers who have refined awareness and can hold a safe space whilst coaxing us into positions that challenge in a loving way. Who does that for you? (LMK!)
Week 1 HighlightsRestorative yoga felt such a treat after a week of more dynamic styles.
Sweating, flowing, connecting! Remembering why I love yoga. Seeing friends. Every goddamn day.