I attended my first yoga class in 2007. It was held in a drafty church hall in the little village of Wheathampstead, England. I’d corresponded with the teacher via email for a few weeks before finally plucking up the courage to attend; I was apprehensive, nervous, and self-conscious – what if I couldn’t do it? What if I over-balanced and took out some old lady? What if – god forbid – I did a fanny-fart coming out of an inverted pose??
Four years later, I’m so pleased I swept those feeling aside and took the plunge – now, I can’t imagine life without yoga, a little like I can’t imagine life without Tall and Tiny. That first teacher (who, on first impression, seemed to be a softly-spoken, wafty hippy, but turned out to be a registered doctor with an impressive memory for famous quotes) said two things which have resonated with me since: we’re at our most creative when we’re breathing more strongly through our left nostril than our right; and that yoga is a celebration of the body and soul that we’ve been given, and should therefore be cherished and treated with the utmost respect, care and joy.
With this in mind, I’ve been doing a bit of self-reflection recently. I turn 35 next year, and while this in itself doesn’t bother me (I’ve always been of the opinion that we can’t stop aging, so we may as well enjoy each new year rather than fight against it), I’ve come to realise that I haven’t always respected, cherished, nourished and cared for the body and soul I’m journeying through life with.
In my 20s, I exercised too much, ate too little, drank like a fish and didn’t get enough sleep. In the almost-four years since turning 30, I’ve exercised too little, eaten a lot of rubbish, on occasion drunk too much, and now wish I’d loaded up on sleep before it became such a distant memory. I’ve worried too much about what others think, spent too much time regretting missed opportunities and making decisions based on what other people want.
Where am I going with this? Well, over the next 12 months, I’ve decided it’s time to concentrate on respecting, cherishing and nourishing my body and my soul, so I can be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, friend and neighbour that I can. And – most importantly – the best ME.
So bear with me as I formulate a cunning, yet fun and flexible (I have a toddler – ’nuff said) plan to get started on this year of improvement and enlightenment.
Starting right now, where I throw the latest Burger King coupon mailer in the recycling bin…