happy and calm

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I went to a yoga class yesterday. It had been a long time, far too long, since I last made it to someone else's class. While I teach 2 to 3 times a week, the truth is that it's been hard to maintain my own practice. In Vancouver I was able to practice at one of the local studios at least once a week and it felt amazing. To immerse myself in being a student once again was just what I needed.

When I first came to yoga it was at the end of 10 years of competitive gymnastics. I fell in love straight away. It was the opposite of being a gymnast. For the first time I found myself impressed with my body rather than constantly frustrated at its limitations. I was never fit, strong or flexible enough to be a great gymnast and I felt it keenly. At yoga none of that mattered. No one was going to force me into the splits (by sitting on top of me); wherever I was, that was good enough.

It's exactly what I try to teach my students. Yes, we challenge ourselves but we do so with gratitude and respect for our bodies. Not everyone can do the splits, and that's ok. In fact, as my physical practice has deteriorated changed, I've realised that my yoga practice right now is simple. It might be a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing in the morning, or 3 minutes in supta baddha konasana before I teach a class, or a single sound of om. What matters is that I slow down, breathe and find stillness, which is just what I did last night.

Last night, As our teacher guided us through a series of yin poses, a devoted student played the harmonium at the front of the room. We held each pose for 2 to 5 minutes, and as we did, I felt my breath deepen, my body soften and my mind relax. I left happy and calm.

If you have any questions about yoga, I'm happy to answer them (or find the answers for you) in the comments section.

p.s. yoga at home: some tips, the yoga of closet cleaning, some thoughts on teaching yoga 


  1. I'm a retired ballerina/dance teacher so I totally understand what you are saiyng about yoga being total opposite of not "good enough" for the splits body type and things like that hahaha that's why I love yoga so much ;)

  2. I too find yoga such a nourishing, nurturing practice and find any small part in my day is greatly beneficial. I turned to yoga after years of classical ballet so our paths are a little similar. Wishing you gentle days lovely soul xx

  3. love this! so glad you have a moment to be taken care of, rather than taking care of someone else. xo

  4. this sounds wonderful! i'm really happy for you. ive never done yoga, but ive heard nothing but good things about it. i've always meant to try it but never found the time (or prioritized the time, i guess i should say) to do it. i'm glad you've found something in which you can truly feel adequate and happy with.

  5. Ah, I hope to get to a yoga class someday soon! Now that my mum's here, I feel my chances may have just increased! My question though, is how do you close your mind to other stuff? That is my struggle. I spend most of each class thinking "Okay, I'm close to the shops so I should pick up some broccoli on my way home." and "Oh Mason needs more saline for his eye, better go to the chemist after this." It's so frustrating but I cannot help myself!

  6. I wish you didn't live on the other side of the world and I could come to one of your classes!


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