Sunday, 26 May 2019

Outdoor yoga

It's hard to beat the feeling of doing yoga and meditation outside, especially on sunny mornings or early evening when you can witness the sun rising or setting as you practice or sit.

I love doing yoga on the beach and for years I would only attempt it in the early or twilight hours to avoid crowds and embarrassing stares, but I've grown so used to it now, I just forget who's around, and sometimes the busier it is, the less bothered I (and others) seem to be! It's especially lovely to practice with family and friends.

My sons seem more bothered about stares of passers by, but even they are becoming less self conscious! Bank holiday weekend on a busy, sunny beach in North Devon with not much space between bodies and boards, one of my sons actually suggested a yoga session to help him pop-up on his board, and to make sure I was warm enough to entice me into the chilly waters!

He's game for experimental sequences and we were midway through a fun energetic flow when we noticed three famillies around us standing and staring and some of the younger family members copying us! I just projected my voice into busy class mode and changed the tone to suit their tender age adding lizards and frogs and puppy dogs so they didn't feel left out! Maybe they'll remember the beach yoga and keep it up at home!

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Finding balance in chaos

Yesterday, after teaching what I thought was a particularly chaotic mum and toddler yoga class, where half the mums took time out to feed babes or chat between themselves, while others tried keenly to enjoy their yoga with all the tots dancing and congregating around their mat, several of the mums said the sessions were the highlight of their week! One said it was the only thing that made her leave home in the cold and brave getting a bus with her toddler. It made me laugh out loud and realise just how much we see things through our own eyes and perspective. Of course the classes can never go as planned, life with a toddler is always chaotic, and full of the little unpredictable moments, generally initiated by the tots, that add colour to our existence and make us appreciate the nuances of life.

That has been one of my big goals for the year, to get out of my way, and leave space to let life reveal more, yet while there is freedom to explore, still remain clear and focused.

The eagle - celebrated in Garudasana, which I teach a lot in post natal and mums/toddler yoga – is an amazing creature on many levels. An eagle has incredible peripheral vision. When it flies high, it has about a 340-degree field of vision, yet it can hone in on one tiny thing, like a prospective snack, spotted more than 3 km away.

What a great asset, to be able to see the big picture, the whole world, yet hone in clearly on what's important.

The reason Garudasana is so good for us, and especially postnatal women, is that the standing balance with the arms and legs entwined encourages drawing into the mid-line, engaging the pelvic floor muscles and regaining internal strength and support. It is energising and uplifting, yet all the while we are drawing into the centre, finding inner strength and balance, we are spreading our wings to fly and broaden our horizons. Life is all about balance, and staying calm and focused in the midst of challenges, such as balancing on one leg in yoga with a tot climbing over or under you ;0