Back refreshed from an invigorating break by the sea in Pembrokeshire. There’s nothing like doing yoga outside within sight and sound of the sea, filling the lungs with all that wonderful life-force. Still, my back garden’s almost as good! Red berries, apples, leaves beginning to turn and fall and seeds forming on the sunflowers and fennel.
We’re thinking of the abundance of autumn over the next few weeks, and doing a lovely sequence of movements in class this week to bring abundance into your life. As the nights draw in and it starts to get colder, the winter blues can start to set in. Doing some sort of exercise, whether it’s yoga, dancing in your living room or going for a brisk walk can get the happy hormones flowing. Light some candles, take a long bath and enjoy the cosiness of autumn. Take time to reflect on where you are in your life and think about what plans have come to fruition and what seeds you’d like to plant in your life to grow into the person you’re meant to be.
Be honest – how often do you feel like this?
Over the next 6 weeks in my classes, we’ll be focusing on a different theme each week, and thinking about all the many benefits that yoga can bring.
Starting this week with boosting energy levels.
In the busy lives that we all lead, how many of us haven’t said at some time, ‘ I’m too tired’, or ‘I’m exhausted’. You go to bed tired, and you wake up tired because your mind’s too active. Monday mornings are a real struggle, and you feel like you haven’t got the energy to lift a foot out of bed. Babies, snoring partner or noisy neighbours keep you awake, and you end up feeling completely frazzled.
Yoga has some great techniques for giving you a quick energy boost, and I’ll be sharing some of those this week. It won’t transform you into a human dynamo overnight, but you might go away with a bit more of a bounce in your step!
When you’ve not ridden a bike for over 30 years, it might not seem so easy! The first challenge is getting over all the self-limiting thoughts like ‘I’m too old’, ‘look at all those fit young guys – I’ll look stupid’. Then the fears of falling off and hurting yourself, losing control and careering off the path, or just not being able to do it any more. Thinking about how you’ll ache the next day. And all those thoughts happening in the flash of a second, so almost without being aware of it, you say, ‘Nah, forget it ‘.
But what if you can catch those thoughts, challenge them, and replace them with positives? Then you can think, ‘No, you’re never too old’, ‘Who’s going to be looking at me anyway?’. ‘What if it all comes back to me, and I enjoy it?’ and ‘It’ll be good for me’. At least then, you’ll have a go and give yourself the opportunity.
Very similar thoughts can go through your head when thinking about a yoga class, or returning to any sort of physical exercise after a break. Yoga can help you become aware of your thoughts and to challenge them, so that your life becomes healthier, more free and enriching. In a yoga class, you can challenge yourself in a safe environment, and do things that you wouldn’t have thought possible.
As someone who’s struggled with fear and self-limiting thoughts for a long time, it felt really exhilarating to be riding that bike! (I know the picture doesn’t prove it, but I did, honest. And the number of my bike, that I’m pointing at – double-o seven).
In the Wind in the Willows, Mole was spring cleaning, then said “`Bother!’ and `O blow!’ and also `Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously,…….. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.
……. The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow……..” – Kenneth Grahame
To me, this perfectly captures the exuberance of this time of year. We sometimes need to leave the ‘oughts’ and the ‘shoulds’, and do something that makes us feel truly alive. To feel the energy of the earth and to blossom with it. Yoga can give us an internal spring-clean, blowing away the cobwebs with the breath, clearing unhelpful emotions, helping us to stretch, grow and feel that tingle of being alive.
Which sort of spring-cleaning do you prefer? No points for guessing mine…….