Embarking on a yoga journey was, for me, one of the first key steps towards feeling entirely myself.
Yoga as a practice originated in India circa 3000 B.C. (ref: Yogasix.com) and is described as having been ‘developed as a way to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment’. While many yogis still carry out the practice with this in mind, there are plenty who simply just enjoy stretching and cracking the body, pushing their flexibility and/or strength limits, and incorporating a new exercise into their fitness routine. I used to fall solely into the last category, finding myself on the mat a few years ago only when I couldn’t be bothered to make it to the gym or when I was stiff from another workout and needed to ease my aches. I didn’t realize at that point that there was a whole yoga world I was missing out on.
I could be very lazy…
A big part of what stopped me from exploring yoga more thoroughly when I was just scraping the surface of it a few years ago were bad habits. I could be very lazy, and when you’re lazy the last thing you want to be doing is rolling out of bed to wiggle about on the floor for 15 minutes+ a day, seeing absolutely no results whatsoever and finding yourself more irritated than when you began because the yogi you are following through videos you found on some random site (that promised ultimate zen) is starting to annoy the hell out of you. Safe to say I didn’t have much faith in the practice for a long time and wasn’t really aware of the specifics.
Eventually, I started to grow out of my laziness and really enjoyed the times when I would lay out my yoga mat and take a minute to stretch and move, but those times were still few and far between. It wasn’t until I really needed it that yoga could actually be there for me – kind of like Nanny McPhee, except that you get to keep it in your life forever if you choose to. I wouldn’t say that I was at rock bottom and yoga ‘saved’ me, but I was in a pretty low place and needed something to help me feel like myself again. I needed something that made me feel strong and capable, something that I could be good at and feel really positive about. I needed something to get me out of bed every day and keep me going.
Good and bad habits are both important for different reasons.
I’ve always been a big health and wellness enthusiast, so many aspects of my life such as my allergies demanded it, but I often didn’t take the advice that I learned or didn’t pay attention to the information that I read. In the times that I did, there were some good habits that stuck and others that just faded with time and a lack of dedication, leaving me uninspired and unmotivated to try many more. Now, I truly believe that both good and bad habits come and go, and while you need to work at both of them, sometimes they’re there in your life, in big and bold ways, for a reason.
My laziness was a big and bold bad habit, it was driving me nuts and yet I was doing nothing to combat it. It was a heavy contributor to my misery, and as soon as I realized that (or at least, as soon as I felt able to deal with it once I realized), I knew I had to give it the boot, effectively giving myself a much-needed kick up the butt too.
Yoga was my first step towards self-love.
Yoga got me up in the morning and it got me moving; I could do it in the comfort of my own home with pillows and fluffy socks, could go at my own pace and enjoy taking the time out just for me, and it meant that by 9am every day I had already accomplished something that, over time, became an extremely important expression of self-love and care.
I’ve followed the yoga videos of Cat Meffan on Youtube for over a year now and absolutely love incorporating it into my morning routine. Recently I signed up to her yoga membership which is £15 a month for access to three 60-75 minute yoga flows, one guided meditation, 1-2 movement breakdown videos and so much more each month as well as allowing you to view her entire archive of classes since January 2019 – including the 31 day #Yoganuary series (which is amazing!!).
It changed my life, could it change yours too?
When I’m on my mat it’s all about me. Making the choice to take out that little bit of time each day to just be by myself, taking stock of all the aches, pains and emotions, is really important to me and it has changed my life. It’s been more of a benefit than I could have ever imagined, making me a stronger, more resilient and calm individual. Without yoga, I wouldn’t have made many other important changes in my life. It’s a practice that does (contrary to my naive belief a few years ago) allow you progress both mentally and physically, and you can do it alone, with a partner, with friends, at a class, in the gym or even outdoors – wherever and with whoever you want! Maybe it will change your life too. Give it a go and see?