Why I Love doing Yoga

I’ve been going to yoga classes, on and off, funds-dependant, since around 2015.  For the last 6 months I’ve been able to go once a week and I’m really hoping I can keep this up.  Here are some of the reasons why I bloody love doing yoga (and maybe you would too):

Aside from riding my bike and dancing (in my bedroom, or otherwise), yoga is my favourite form of exercise – especially because, like riding my bike and dancing, I don’t see it as exercise whilst I’m doing it.  I’m aware if I’m out of breath, shaky, sweaty or in need of a rest, but these are part of the experience and not purely why I’m doing the yoga.

Even after just 6 months of doing it once a week, I feel noticeably stronger – especially in my core.  I’d not previously realised my core muscles weren’t just in my stomach but in my back, bum and thighs too.  It’s so much easier to have better posture now and objects (which haven’t somehow magically changed density) seem lighter.

There are different options in a class for you to take, dependant on what your body’s able to do.  Some postures may come easy for you, some may be hard or harder on particular days, but it’s all ok.  You can take whichever options best for you that day.  It doesn’t reflect anything other than where you’re at, at that moment.

Everybody in the class is at a different place with yoga and their body.  The idea isn’t to compare yourself with anyone else but to see where you are at, week to week.

You are making your body stronger and more flexible by pretty much just using your body itself (and gravity!).  There a props you can use – blocks, straps, bolsters – if a particular posture isn’t immediately accessible for you, but you aren’t using a machine or apparatus, you are using your body to help out your body.  I like the simplicity of this.

One day you can suddenly do a move or a posture that you weren’t previously able to do, simply because you’ve been repeating the act of aiming to do the posture.  It feels so good and light once it all comes together!  There’s no pushing yourself to the point of collapse or hurt, just gently finding out where your boundaries are and breathing in to them each week.  Slowly your body relaxes and becomes stronger.  It feels like a loving way to strengthen your body, rather than a punishing one.

It’s an hour a week I dedicate to moving my body in a mindful way; an opportunity to get out of my head and really into my body.

All yoga teachers bring something different to their class – things you haven’t tried before, style of teaching, pace, tips, insights, music!  I’m luckily able to mix up classes and teachers at the yoga studio I go to so I have a really varied experience each week.  Some experiences are less enjoyable for me than others, but there is pretty much always something I can take away from it.

It’s great to be surrounded by people who are there for similar reasons.  You can be carried along by their enthusiasm and focus.

I’ve somehow committed to early morning classes!  It’s really challenged my opinion of what I can manage, especially after doing afternoon/evening shift work for so long.  It’s much, much harder in the winter months, but so lovely when you hit spring and you can actively notice the mornings getting lighter each week.  A great way to start the day.

It’s a serious practice but it has lightness to it.  If you fall over, lose the posture, need a break – it’s all ok.  Just start again where you are.  Relax, smile!  It’s best to make a committed effort in order to get the most out of your practice but always whilst directing kindness towards yourself.  You are where you are and there’s nothing to achieve other than to commit to doing what you can do that day.  A great way to approach life, too 😉

Succulent

Came out the other side of a small black cloud yesterday so I bought myself a little succulent to live on my desk, in celebration:

Gardening of the Mind

I had never really appreciated the great satisfaction of gardening until recently when something clicked and I realised that gardening is a bit like tidying, but with plants.  I am a huge fan of tidying and order (VIRGO!) and so, suddenly, gardening became a rather attractive activity.

One day, whilst having a good weed, it struck me that what I was doing to our garden out the back there, was a bit like what I am currently doing to my mind:

First of all I had become more aware of my ‘garden’.  So far I hadn’t actively planted anything in it, someone else had done this and I had been letting things grow as they wanted to, cutting things back a bit every so often.  I realised that my garden is not entirely as I would like and that some ‘plants’ are taking up more than their fair share of space, but that I also have a say in what makes up my garden so I can make changes.

Despite wanting everything to be different NOW (arrrrrghh!) I can only chip away at it and must accept that plants may not be entirely weeded out the first time around – I will have to keep checking back to see what’s sprouting up and tending to things as necessary.  The work will never be done but will get easier if I make a good initial effort and then make a promise to keep on top of things.

I’m not really sure what some of the plants are and if I want to keep them – I may have dug up and discarded some treasures by mistake… but I can always change the make up of my garden and try new stuff out.  Some things may not grow first time around but I can try again, perhaps following someone else’s advice on how to get the best results.  I can also try out different tools.

The garden will never look the same each day – plants will grow and change and outside forces will affect them, and the plants may affect each other, but I have a fair amount of control, and whilst I’m gardening I can appreciate what an amazing thing my garden actually is, including all the elements I never realised were there, growing and scuttling away, as well as being grateful for the things that the previous gardeners have planted that have grown so quietly and steadily.

I also now better appreciate that the weeds have their own beauty and purpose too: the various bugs are happy with them; they can have lovely flowers and they are really impressive growers, so it’s not the end of the world if they grow back – they’re not ‘bad’, I just have to keep them in check.

So here’s to your own gardening activities!  As I become a more experienced gardener I hope to share my tips – I’d like the fruits of my garden to be enjoyed by more people than just me alone.

I planted some crocuses the other week – fingers crossed they pop their heads out of the ground next Spring…

(Originally written for Moodscope.)

It’s SO GOOD!

I’ve uploaded some of my songs to Soundcloud including this one, fresh off the computer:

Thanks to my brother Jae for recording it and for lending his ‘drunken’ voice along with my sisters Immi and Gwen and also Emma and Dan – you rowdy lot!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Good grief – that’s a long gap in posting, even for me.

After the full on (lovely) last minute craziness of getting Fabled up to Edinburgh last year (THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE IT A GREAT EXPERIENCE!) I decided to take what has turned out to be the last year or so “off” for some much needed re-calibration of all things Lois, career and otherwise.  I muchly recommend such a course of action now and then – feeling nice and streamlined over here.  Mmm.

Suffice to say, my sights are well and truly focussed, all my percolations are ready to be harvested, or sommat, and there shall soon be new website action (again) and other online-y stuff and all of those guns ablazin’, muthaflippas.

Oh yeah.

Hopefully the next post will be on my blinging new site.

Until then!