I’ve been practicing yoga since I was a kid.
I started out by mimicking the poses in a ‘how to’ book my Mum had at home, while simultaneously coveting the models’ classic 80s leotards.
In my early teens, I heard about a Sivananda centre located near our house in the burbs, and convinced my Dad to accompany me to yoga classes each week. I can still hear the teacher’s voice telling me to ‘Relaaaaaax’ some days.
Once I left school, moved out and went to uni, my interest in yoga (and physical theatre and acrobatics, at the time) grew. It became something I did regularly; it helped my body feel strong and my highly active mind feel calm.
Skip forward a few years. I’d finished university and was spending my time either backpacking, or working several jobs at once to fund the next adventure. Seriously. What a life. Oh to be in my early 20s again!*
I moved to India – to Pune – to study yoga. I rented a room from a self-appointed guru – who was a questionable spiritual guide but a decent landlord. I lived next door to the Osho ashram, which I was not a part of, but had many friends at the time who were (interesting place btw). Each morning and afternoon I’d travel across town to the yoga studio, where we would practice for several hours, discuss yogic philosophy (the sutras), or hear lectures on the basic principles of Ayurveda. It was gold.
All up, I spent almost 6 months in Pune. An experience that afforded me immense growth – emotionally, physically, spiritually. Many of the lessons I learnt have stayed with me, all these years later. And some of the people I met during that time, I still hold dear. At the end of my time in Pune, I qualified as a yoga instructor; however, I’ve never taught a class. At that point in my life, I felt like I still had waaaay more to learn about yoga, and my own practice, before I could instruct others. And now, well now it’s just something I do for me. Every damn day.
I still go to classes, and have visited a couple of great studios here in Sydney. In Brisbane, I practiced for years at the Ashtanga school in Paddington – a wonderful place that I would highly recommend. And even in Boston, on my maternity leave, I connected with an awesome studio around the corner from our apartment (O2 Yoga – if you’re ever in Cambridge, especially if you’re looking for Mum and Bub classes – SO great).
Importantly, I also practice at home almost every day. Ideally in the morning, before anyone else is awake… but I sometimes have a toddler rolling around on the mat by my ankles. For me, yoga is both a physical and emotional practice. I’ve had some back problems over the years and the asanas (postures) help to stretch out my kinks – this was particularly apparent during my pregnancy and after Molly’s birth. I also have a very active mind and am extremely emotional, so the methodical practice helps me reconnect with my breath and balance my tendency to wildness. This is something that works for me, and maybe you too?
Are you a yoga student? Or, have you found another practice that benefits your body and mind?
*Not really. It was fun, but I’m happy to be done with those days. Age, wisdom, all that.