Whilst I teach yoga twice a week, as a new, working-mum, I don't actually practice the physical element of yoga nearly as much as I want to. (To be fair, even when I was single and a fully-fledged career gal, I still didn't practice much). Life just gets in the way.
But, then, if I did practice yoga or meditation everyday, 'life' would probably (most definitely) seem easier to manage. But, yet, with all the best intentions, it still doesn't happen. Or rather I don't make it happen. My lists of 'things to do' just gets longer! Everything or everyone around me seems to demand my attention or rather, this is how I see it. I'm often jealous of my partner who will spontaneously don his cycling gear and head off for a good 90-minute cycle ride at a moment's notice. Why can't I do that?, I ask. Actually, "Why don't I do that?"
No longer are mums just mums, we have careers, we have houses to manage, families to organise and finance, and a sort of semi-social life which mostly exists online. Between all that, somewhere, we have to find a little me-time. Before all this, me-time used to be soaking in the bath for over an hour and truly relaxing in the heat and the glorious smelling oils that take me off to another world, along with a bottle of wine and a good book. But bath time now normally involves a tonne of plastic toys, semi-warm water, a small child and sometimes a UFO ‘unidentifiable floating object’, which halts bath time, faster than you can say "sh&t!" Time or ‘me-time’ is long gone!
Having finally realised, it’s me stopping me, I've been trekking 40 miles to Liverpool city centre every Wednesday evening for a one hour forty-five minute ashtanga class, paying the tunnel tolls both ways, not to mention the fuel, and leaving 30 minutes early just so I can do the ridiculous drive round the city centre trying to park, as well as many a detour via current road works, giving sometimes, a 2 hour commute, but my god, it is so worth it! No matter how tired or rushed I feel at 6pm, I've ditched the little one, thrown a carrot to the dog, left dinner for one in the oven, ignored the tension in my pounding forehead, prised my eyes open with matchsticks and skipped to my car with my yoga mat in tow! I simply can’t get enough and I just love it!
I’m well aware of leaving my ego at the yoga studio door and suppressing the competition of my impressive and super strong yogi neighbours to the deepest depths but for those 105 minutes I really push myself to my limits, because I know that I won't get to do this again for one whole week. I can leave everything behind, my woes and worries and stresses and completely immerse myself in what I'm doing.
The benefits are just endless too, not only do I feel revitalised after a class, I also feel like eating a salad too! Exercise makes you crave healthy food. Good for your body and good for your mind. As well as building my general strength, including being able to pick up my 1 year old, 50 times a day, I no longer suffer with back problems, which I did in the early days of post pregnancy. My core is stronger, and so my posture is stronger too. Sitting at a desk all day long is seriously bad for us. And in 20 years' time, there will be some serious repercussions. Investing in companies that help alleviate back problems and improve our general posture and framework is going to pay off in the long-term, in terms of our pocket and our health!
I love the concentration and focus you need to get into and out of each and every pose, with finesse and precision. I love how I can see improvement in every class, and how there’s still (plenty) of room to improve (I’m talking years!). And the way it makes me feel afterwards is just brilliant. I feel energised, revitalised, I feel healthy and tall. (They do say you can grow taller through yoga). I know that you can get a similar feeling after going to the gym or a good aerobics class but that feeling with yoga and in particular, Ashtanga yoga, well, it lasts a couple of days, I think. That’s what made me fall in love with it originally. It was the only exercise that stayed with me until the next day and even the day after that. Whilst some people might find stretching their body to its limits exhausting and not in any way enjoyable; for me, it means me-time. It’s my indulgence and I feel fabulous for it.
For me, that time in class is pure me-time. To switch off from the lists, the thoughts, the chatter. To focus solely on me. To feel both thoroughly energised and relaxed....well until the road rage kicks in at 15 miles!
About the author
Emma co-founded Yoga by 18, where she teaches four beginner Ashtanga-style yoga classes a week at various venues in Chester city centre. Emma is passionate about yoga and the many benefits it can bring people. She believes that everyone, regardless of age or ability, can take something away from yoga for themselves. All styles of yoga are great but Emma's classes tend to focus on postures from the Ashtanga series which develop strength, as well as flexibility. Traditionally, the series is strict but Emma keeps to a set core of poses to improve upon each week and slowly introduces new poses each week for people to explore.
Emma was 6 months pregnant when she qualified as a Yoga Teacher and found the experience invaluable in learning about the modifications that are needed to achieve each and every pose of the Ashtanga Primary Series. This only further credited her belief that yoga really is for everyone....
Emma qualified as a Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance in Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow in India, with Sampoorna Yoga in October 2013.