Month: January 2017

The day I stopped apologising for slow flow yoga.

I had 2 new lovely yogis to my class today. I first met them some years ago when we all went on our first retreat together with a fellow yoga teacher. They have been attending her rather more fast passed Vinyasa flow classes for some time but decided to mix it up and join me today. The theme was ‘Simplicity’ and I’d designed a sweet, simple practice where the challenge was to stay present and fully focussed, even when we slowed things right down. So far, so good. However, as I went through the class, there was a niggle of doubt at the back of my mind that they would be bored with my slow paced offering.

At the end as we all gathered for our usual leisurely Sunday goodbyes, I found myself apologising for my slow flow class when they were perhaps used to a more vigorous pace. ‘But, it was lovely’ was the response from one, while the other declared that he found slower classes more challenging than speedier ones. Afterwards, I began to mull over why I still feel the need to somehow justify my style. While I can and often do, plan a fast paced class, I find myself increasingly drawn to the slow side. I love my Feel Good Friday restorative classes where I can see the group begin to release the tensions of the week as they surrender into bolsters, blankets and pillows. I can hear their breath getting deeper and longer and the energy in the room tangibly shifts gear from fifth to first as we gradually put the brakes on.

My husband’s meditation teacher uses a wonderful expression at the start of each session. ‘Give yourself permission to switch off from an increasingly busy and noisy world’.

One of the lovely yogis who regularly attends my classes came up at the end of our practice last week to tell me that yoga was her ‘oasis’. What a wonderful way to describe it. To me, an oasis is a haven where we can take rest and restore ourselves before restarting our journey, refreshed and rejuvenated.

So, no more apologies for taking things slow. After all, it was the tortoise who won the race.

Happy New Year!

After the festivities of Christmas and the parties to see in 2017, January can be a bit of a let down. With grey skies and dreary weather, it’s little wonder that many of us get a case of the ‘mean reds’ as Holly Golightly, one of my favourite literary characters, would say. As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, we then throw in the added pressure of New Year resolutions.

I read an interesting article recently which said that only 8% of us manage to maintain our well intentioned resolutions beyond February. Before you get too disheartened and throw in the towel, there was a glimmer of hope. The key to being in that magical 8% is to think carefully before setting your intentions for the year. Too many fail as they are simply unrealistic or too nebulous. Setting out to ‘be a better person’; ‘be happier’ or aiming to ‘run a marathon’ when your only experience of running is to catch a bus are, on balance, not the wisest of choices.

Instead, following a few simple rules boosts your chance of success so, here you go!

Top tips for success;

  • Be realistic. Small steps towards your ultimate goal are far more likely to be successful. Remember, a journey starts with a single step!
  • Be specific.
  • Tell family and friends to enlist their support.
  • Set milestones along the way and celebrate success!
  • Don’t give up. If you experience a set back, start afresh with renewed vigour.

And for me? I have made the same resolution for the past few years and, on the whole, I’ve managed to keep it. Every night, before I go to sleep, I recall 3 things that I’m grateful for. Sounds easy? Believe me, I too have days when 3 good things can seem a challenge! But, that’s why I do it. Even on a bad day, there’ll be something which I should give thanks for. Having just come back from a wonderful trip to Mexico where I was welcomed with such warmth, openness and genuine hospitality, my gratitude cup currently runneth over. I’m going to hold these memories in my heart and recall them when the grey days of January threaten to overwhelm me.

Whatever your intentions for 2017, I wish you peace, health and happiness (and good luck at being in that 8% come February!)