tales from my yoga mat

tales from my yoga mat on Geoffrey & Grace

Recently I haven’t been making it onto my yoga mat.

Yesterday morning however, I made the space and time, and got myself on my mat. My energy levels are very low at the moment, I’m getting over a cold, and a few other factors are playing their part too. I did a gentle 40 minute practice of simple stretches, a relaxation, and a meditation. Just really familarising myself with my body again after my little break.

It was like someone had pushed my reset button. It felt so good to be stretching and moving. I was suddenly aware of how much tension had crept into my body over the last few weeks. Gradually during the practice, through my breath and my movements, I can begin to release it. My shoulders drop, my hands soften, my jaw relaxes and everything that has been bothering me fades away and it all begins to feel better. I become aware of the breath moving in and out of my body, as my belly softens. The inhale and exhale gradually becoming slower and deeper. With every conscious breath I feel more like myself.

When I step off my mat at the end, I always feel so much lighter and ready for life and what ever it may throw at me. Knowing what a positive impact yoga has on my day and how I feel, I don’t understand why sometimes I avoid my practice, almost like it is a chore. Why, when we know what’s going to help and make things feel better, do we sometimes block that thing out?

Dipping in and out of my yoga, and doing the bare minimum, keeps me ticking over, but to really feel the benefit I am aware that I must repeat my practice regularly. Only by committing to a daily Sadhana (dedicated practice) of some sort will I be able to work more deeply. I want to create space for time on my mat every day – with the acknowledgment that just showing up is an essential part of the work.

There is no point in setting myself a goal that I am unlikely to stick to, so I have given some thought as to what is do-able for me right now. Currently, what my body wants to naturally do is about 40 minutes, which I am going to challenge myself to commit to daily. That gives me time to move and stretch my body every day, do a little relaxation, and a meditation – which I want to set an intention for.

The commitment isn’t to the yoga itself, but it is an investment in me. It’s time dedicated for me to tune into myself and the world around me. By making space for a daily Sadhana, it says I care about my wellbeing, and it’s a chance for me to prioritise myself. Like most people, I find life keeps me busy and it’s difficult to balance family, work and home, but particularly being a mother, we rarely have the opportunity to put ourselves first, so any time ‘especially for me’ is pretty sacred.

We all need time to reconnect to our spiritual selves, for that you do not have to be religious or worship a particular God (although you may do). There are many ways to find that spiritual connection, whether you feel it through a walk in nature, creating a mandala (like above), or through a yoga class.

Only when we take this important time out, do things fall into perspective, and we can be less driven by our emotions. The more I understand my creativity, the more I see that it is inextricably linked to my spirituality, and by devoting time to my spiritual side, I am ultimately feeding my creativity too.

How do you connect to your spiritual side? Do you have things that you know will make you feel better, but you don’t always do?

If yoga is something that helps you, do you have a regular practice? And how do you maintain that? Would love to hear what works for you.

 

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  • My version of the feeling yoga brings to you is crochet. The process of making the stitches, the sight of the yarn and the hook working together in a repetitive, rather beautiful way, the colour and feel of the yarn itself, the knowledge that I’m making a mitten or a cowl or a hat to keep myself, Andy or my girls snug on cold days have a combined effect on my wellbeing that is almost medicinal. I’ve been researching why this happens in recent weeks – yarn craft induces a relaxation response very similar to that triggered by yoga! I have been considering starting some simple yoga stretches though. I find winter super tough at times and I think it may help fend off those grey day slumps. Do you find it can give you a lift on winter days?

    • geoffreyandgrace

      Hello Emma, thank you for your comment. Yoga always gives me a lift, why don’t you try it and see. Also stretches are really good, if you sit in one position to do anything repetitive for long periods of time (like you probably do with your crochet). Would love to hear how you get on. There are some really good tutorials on You Tube if you think that would help you. Have fun xx

  • So glad you found your way back to your mat. I do about 40 mins every week day. I’m not trying to “improve” or challenge myself, just breathe and move. It’s what works for me, and helps my body to work as it should – if I attempt any more then I don’t manage it. I’ve had an on off relationship with yoga for years. But recognising how much benefit it brought me and finally deciding to put my wellbeing first, allowed me to commit to a gentle practice every day. But I’ve been neglecting other areas. Had a bit of a melt down today – I’m not well either, so am giving myself some much needed me time and time to focus on my health – and right now that means reading the mindfulness books I bought and starting a meditation practice. Good luck with yours. I think starting small is key and not setting yourself unrealistic aims. Hugs xxx

    • geoffreyandgrace

      Thank you Zoe, Good luck with your meditation practice, I really hope you find it to be helpful. I do think it can be a very powerful tool. Just give me a shout if you are un sure and want any advice, I might be able to help. 3 minutes daily (you can use a timer) is a good place to start. I used to do mine just before I went to bed – it became part of my bedtime routine then, as opposed to having to make time for it in the day. Xx

  • Preach! Talk about a timely post. I have started doing a weekly yoga class, after years of doing short videos at home. It’s the highlight of my week. My body feels so amazing afterwards and my whole mood changes. I was walking home after class tonight thinking how much power this practice has and how I need to commit to doing longer sessions on my own. Have you got the Yoga Studio app? They have some great videos and they’re realy customisable.

    • geoffreyandgrace

      So glad you found this post at the right time Katie 🙂 I haven’t heard of the Yoga studio app, so will have a look at that thank you. It’s great to be able to get to a class, and different than doing your practice at home by yourself. x

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  • What a lovely and thought-provoking post.
    If we know these things are good for us then why don’t we do them?
    I agree that feeling good physically is attached to our spiritual and creative souls – healthy body, healthy mind etc. So why don’t we make more time to do it?
    I used to be slightly addicted to my exercise class (capoeira) – some of my friends even thought I had joined a cult. But I was able to keep it up due to the lure of a community as well as the routine in my week. I’ve been injured for months and feeling lacklustre so I know I NEED to get back into it. I also practice yoga so maybe, hopefully your post will be the impetus to get back on my mat. Thanks for sharing.

    • geoffreyandgrace

      You are welcome Katie, hope it helps you get back on your mat. It’s hard when you have an injury, but perhaps there are some postures you can do that won’t aggravate it but help you get your body moving 🙂