I regularly have people ask me, what yoga do you do? Would I be any good? I've never done it before, will I fail? Or comments like, "I'm not very good at yoga" thrown my way.
To me this is just a symptom of our culture our society that is so bound up in doing things right that it holds us back from doing anything at all.
How many times do you try something and scrap it because "you don't think you're any good" even if you were enjoying it, or maybe you didn't even let yourself enjoy it because you were so worried about getting it right?
This was me, and still is if you find me in the wrong situation surrounded by people who trigger my deep down insecurities and ancient past hurts.
To me yoga is the opposite to all of this, there is no right or wrong, good or bad, to me there are no rules.
The postures that were made up and given names by men thousands of years ago are just that made up postures there to guide you to parts of your body you haven't met or need to spend some time getting to know. And some postures will never be mine or yours to have, and that's part of the letting go. I will never pull myself into postures, my body is not built for them, nor do I feel I wish to spend hours each day working towards one specific posture, that's not my dharma, if its yours then great, own it and play with it and do it, but don't do it because you feel it will make you more of a yogi if you have that posture in your tool kit, don't do it because it will get you more likes on insta, and don't do it because your teacher tells you you should!
Only pursue anything because it makes you feel good. Trust me, you can spend years doing it for all the wrong reasons and you'll end up injuring yourself, disappointing yourself and then you'll nail it and you won't be any happier, any more yogic or any further down the line than you were before. But if you do something because your soul calls you to explore it then you may find you open into a whole new way of thinking and moving and ultimately living.
When I first started yoga I went down the route of ashtanga, holding strong poses for breath counts and then moving onto the next, this got me in but I wasn't going to stay there for long. As the ashtanga started to allow my brain to shut up I found my soul and body connection growing, and when I started to listen to her she was telling me to move, to sway, to wriggle to search. Staying still was a minds game, movement was my souls song.
My yoga is more of a dance between the breath and the soul than anything else, its moving in ways that feel good and connecting on he level of doing something because it feels great and not because the rules tell you to.
Don't get me wrong, rules have their place, but in my opinion we've all got so wrapped up in rules of how to live that we kind move anymore. As a woman living in the western world, everywhere I look I'm told in someway or another how I should be. What I should look like, What I should wear, be driving, doing as a job, eating, drinking and so on. And the last place I want those rules seeping into is my yoga mat. I do not want to be told how I should look on my mat, what I should wear or if I'm doing it right....hell no....my yoga practice is my prayer to my Soul and to the Soul of mother nature, the universe and so its mine....and when I guide you I encourage it to be yours too.
Over the centuries we've become disconnected to our souls, our bodies and lived in our brains, as women we used to heal our family from herbs and tinctures we'd make through the inner knowledge handed down to us that wasn't even conscious, we'd pick the herbs that felt right in that time of need and make what was required, as a woman we'd give birth surrounded by other women helping us through this sacred time, the birthing plan was natural, sacred and personal and there was no need to be told how we should do it, when we decided what we needed to eat our souls told us, as we picked the food that our bodies required by what we were attracted to that day, rather than following a diet given to us by someone else. We had such deep connection with our bodies and the earth that we lived in a way that was deeply ours.
But now we're sold stories of fear, that if we don't consult the professionals we will be wrong, that we disconnect with our own bodies and souls and hand ourselves over to others.
My most recent experience of this is with my nutrition, I have been diagnosed with ME for 20 years and have in the last four years tuned into my body so much that I have found eating certain foods triggers it and stocking up on others makes me feel amazing, a lot of the foods make sense but there are some that follow no rules, they in the words of a nutritionalist I went to see, should be fine and have no reason to make me ill, she said it in such a way, with an undertone of "your being ridiculous, just follow this and all will be fine". But I know my body, and I know my soul and both reject those foods intensely, its only through my yoga have I managed to reconnect so deeply with who I am and have learn to be brave enough to step away from the rules can I really feel myself healing myself.
This reliance we have on others to tell us how we should live our lives has got so deeply ingrained that we probably don't even notice its happening, my yoga helps me to see that disconnect and to reconnect.
So if you are wondering, am I good enough, Will I do it right, let go of all of that. My yoga is about you, about us, about reconnecting to ourselves, I will guide you but slowly you'll learn to take over once more, You'll learn to trust your own instincts and reconnect with your own soul.
The rules do not exist when you step on a mat with me, and gradually we learn to see the rules were bound up in away from the mats too. And start to allow ourselves to be truly us, wholeheartedly and completely.
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