YOGA I first came across yoga as a child, when my mum used to practise from an old book she had. I was in my twenties by the time I started going to classes myself, as I needed a way to destress and undo some of the stiffness in my body from overdoing it in the gym.
I very quickly realised that it was going to be so much more than this. From my first class I felt like I’d come home. It felt so new and exciting because of how amazing it made me feel, and yet so familiar and essential at the same time.
Yoga offers such great physical benefits when practised with care and attention. Strength, flexibility, stability and posture are all improved with regular practise. And with time, we gain an increased sense of calm, clarity and an ability to focus inwards which can feel really peaceful, helping us through times of upheaval or great changes in life.
MOTHERHOOD Yoga has been such a support to me. As someone living with a lifelong condition (MS) it really helps to bring me strength and calm. Similarly, during all the ups and downs of becoming and being a mother, yoga is my regular "balancer". I can't always fit in a long yoga session on my own or in a class due to family and work life, but I've come to appreciate that little and often is a much better approach than long gaps inbetween bigger practises, or worse - nothing at all. During pregnancy, yoga helped me maintain strength and gave me some wonderful breathing practises for childbirth, and helped me stay calm during the huge life change of having my eldest daughter. My youngest was born via caesarian, so post natal recovery second time round was a different experience altogether. Patience and kindness towards myself during times of very limited energy levels was all down to my yoga practise.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS At the age of 31 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was devastated and scared, but once I had managed to make some helpful changes to my life, I was strangely relieved to have a reason for all of the years of unexplained symptoms. As my understanding of the condition increased, I felt more and more equipped to take steps towards a healthier and happier life. I have relapsing-remitting MS which means my symptoms come and go, and my disease progression is relatively slow. Vigilant self-care is an essential tool which keeps me as healthy as I can be. Yoga continues to have a very positive effect on my health.
NATURAL HEALTH A big passion of mine has always been supporting health naturally and from all angles. My yoga is never simply the physical side of the practise, as this is only a fraction of the whole story. Just like a healthy balance is not one thing. My approach to health is realistic and balanced, with yoga and ayurveda as my biggest influences. I don't feel like extreme measures are required (or effective long term) to reach and maintain a good state of health. Maintaining a clear connection with our own bodies and minds so that we can appropriately and kindly nourish ourselves is a much healthier approach. With nourishing and varied nutrition, plenty of exercise, time out in nature and time spent doing whatever makes your heart sing, we can all feel better. And not forgetting one of the hardest parts for us all in our non-stop lives is reducing stress and ensuring we have space in our lives to simply be.
STRESS & OVERWHELM
This last one is huge for a lot of us. Quite often every second of our day is taken up, leaving no time for us to think and process information, or even to consider whether this non-stop lifestyle is actually what we want for ourselves. I say this with complete honesty - at the time we went into lockdown in March 2020, I suddenly had time to stop, think and consider. When I considered our life pre-Covid, I realised that as a family we were just coping and carrying on. Weekends were so full we barely had any time to be together just the four of us, and we were all absolutely exhausted! All four of us slept and rested so much at the beginning of that first lockdown - shock, stress and upheavel all played their part. Once we had done that, we were really able to prioritise what make us happy. Unsurprisingly, we have all benefited greatly from a slower pace of life.