05/08/2016

Touching Bottom & Talking to Stars



It was Savasana that sealed the yoga deal for me.

It is a running joke now, before a yoga session, that we just want to skip straight to lying on the floor. On some days we do actually start in that pose, before coming back to it at the end, and the quiet sigh of relief or amusement that ripples through the room makes me chuckle. Savasana or “Corpse Pose” is definitely the best part of the hour, except maybe when a new, particularly funny and twisty pose is introduced. It provides an opportunity to do absolutely nothing except acknowledge that you’re here, in the moment, and that you’re OK. It is also the one constant feature of the sessions, however difficult it has been *I’m looking at you plank*. It is always eventually time for Savasana. (More philosophically ... it's literally eventually time for Savasana for us all ... unless you're planning to be cremated in which case this analogy is useless to you and I apologise for its poor construction!)

There is an element of guided meditation to the pose, a process of asking each part of the body to release tension so you feel rooted to the floor and perfectly at ease. I'm naturally suspicious of anything vaguely religious or spiritual but I'm 100% willing to give meditation a pass. Even so, I usually zone out a little after the limb by limb guided relaxation part, allowing my thoughts to gently drift. In one of my recent sessions though, my teacher had calmly talked us through the process of asking the body to relax and went on to say something very simple, “most of the time where we are is OK, it’s not so bad” and this stuck with me. I opened my eyes and gazed upwards, to the roof of the scout hut where we practise. Coloured bunting, like prayer flags, were strung across the rafters and I considered the truth of what she’d said. I was warm, healthy, loved, and lying comfortably on a wooden floor, in a lovely city surrounded by green hills and under a gorgeous blue sky. More than that, in this absence of action, my anxiety had not begun to creep through my nervous system. The worries were there, but somehow just … unimportant.

02/08/2016

Food, Thighs and TMI


My body and I have always had an odd relationship, for the majority of my life I have considered it to be a means of transportation for my brain. Even looking back at pictures recently, from various points in my teens and early adulthood, I was struck by the fact that I know that at every point I thought I was bigger than I actually was. This was largely because at the age of 12 I had already decided that I was overweight (I wasn't, I was tall and a bit chubby), unpopular, and that no boy could possibly want me. It was beyond the realms of reality for me, it just wasn't going to happen. Of course, with thoughts like that painted across the walls of my mind, it didn't. I gained weight year on year and because I'd already decided I was unloveable, and that I didn't need anyone anyway, I did nothing about it. I retreated into books and unrequited crushes and pretended really hard that I was ok with being alone, that I was in fact stronger for it.

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