Actually, it is a gift you (well your daughter I think..) have offered me, in terms of reflecting on my own yoga journey, because it started quite some time ago…38 years ago in fact! It was 1980, I was 17 and Yoga was offered for a term at School as part of Sixth Form PE classes. I loved it! It was the first thing I had ever tried, that helped me feel calm and slowed my mind down enough, that I could focus on my body in the present moment and I remember the huge amount of concentration that was required to mould my body into all these weird and unlikely body postures! This mostly elicited a lot of embarrassed giggling from my class mates but for me it was a physical and mental challenge I had never experienced before and I was secretly fascinated by it (couldn’t say this out loud as I would have been teased as the weird ’tree hugger’ of the group!). Sport had always been fast, furious teamwork, no time to think about the embodied experience, only time to think about the next move and winning!
Whenever I remember that first awakening in me, the possibility that Yoga may offer something really unique and quite special, it has remained a fairly consistent companion on my life’s journey; sometimes absent, but always calling me back in some way to regular practice. For many years this has mainly been a weekly yoga class, with occasional dabblings in meditation classes and attempts at practicing alone at home. In the past few years (maybe since joining your class..!), something has finally shifted and a short (almost) daily Asana practice has emerged, alongside breath focused meditation and attending more that 1 class a week!
Anxiety and at times, episodes of depression have also been frequent ‘companions' of mine. Yoga does not take these away, but it has offered ways to manage and shift and calm my thinking at times, and gain some respite from the symptoms through deep relaxation practice and the amazing variety of breathing techniques (which have come in handy before job interviews etc!). It has also nursed me back to health following discs problems in my back (avoiding surgery).
As my body enters the '3rd Age' of the feminine cycle, I am discovering that whilst I maybe feeling stiffer and less supple in some body areas, other parts feel stronger and I have a greater patience and confidence to persevere and hold postures in a way that felt impossible when I was younger. I feel grateful for this because as we all know (but choose to mostly forget), nothing is permanent and I am grateful that Yoga is a positive part of my life right now - it may not always be that way. And it makes me smile, laugh and sometimes cry, all with good grace!