Yoga journey


*Mentioning my collaboration with MoveGB*

Hi lovelies! My laptop was having a meltdown yesterday and just didn’t want to work, which was why I decided to save myself the pain and anger it would’ve caused me to get a blog post up. Nothing makes me as angry as this laptop does sometimes. That rainbow swirling thing that comes up when a Macbook is thinking can drive me insane. It’s truly taught me how to be patient using this laptop! I really should get a new one because it’s getting to a point where the trackpad keeps on getting stuck and the entire laptop is freezing. I think Jamie has told me for the past year that I should get a new one but getting a new laptop is so expensive! I know I need one but I’ve always thought that if this one is working I might as well go with it. I’m now realising that more for sanity I should probably look into upgrading… Yesterday it was driving me up the wall. Plus I’m worried that one day it will crash and I’ll lose everything on it. I should back it up…

That wasn’t what I wanted this blog post to be about! I wanted to talk a bit about yoga and it’s role in my life. I was sitting at Kali Collective yesterday evening, waiting for my friend Alice’s Yin Yang class to start. It was my final day of my Move GB trial and I thought I had to squeeze in another class. I’ve loved having my MoveGb pass and truth be told, now in hindsight, I wish I would’ve had grabbed the opportunity more and gone to even more classes. However, the things I did do with it and I’m so happy I got liberty to go as part of this collaboration. Anyway, when I was sitting there I was thinking about yoga and my yoga journey and thought I would share it.

You guys know my heart lies in functional training and Crossfit, that’s what gets me fired up and excited about exercising. Me and yoga have a different story. A very up and down, in and out story. I wanted to talk about it because my relationship with yoga is something I’ve had to work on and something that has changed quite a lot through the years.

My first ever yoga experience was in PE in school. I remember leaving and not really think much of it. I thought it was a bit odd and in savasana we were all lying down giggling because a guy in our class fell asleep and started snoring. In hindsight now I think that he was doing just the right thing! He was relaxed and in the zone more than the rest of us who were only focusing on what everyone else was doing and giggling.

I then didn’t do yoga again for years until I moved here to Glasgow and decided to try to get the 30 pounds for 30 days deal at Bikram Yoga here in the West End with my flat mate at the time. I liked Bikram Yoga and we went a couple of times during this trial period. After the 30 days were up, we stopped. It was all a bit faffy for me and time consuming, the class was 90 minutes and every time you came out soaking wet and by the time you’ve showered and washed your hair, you had spent over two hours of your day just doing that. The washing of the hair every time was probably the major deal breaker for me. Who can be bothered to wash their hair that often? It just wasn’t quite for me. Another thing I didn’t like was how Bikram Yoga is always the exact same class over and over again. I would’ve been bored out of my mind doing that all the time. One thing that did always appeal to me was the heat. I’m quite a frozen person and liked the warmth during these classes. That’s why I was happy to try out Hot Pod Yoga recently and was reminded of how nice it is. The difference there was that it’s not quite as warm so you don’t get quite as sweaty and warm. Plus the class is 60 minutes instead of 90. It’s nice that there are variations of hot yoga popping up in Glasgow for us to choose from.

Anyway, yoga was put on ice until a year or so later when I first set my foot in lululemon Glasgow. I’d known they were opening because Rachel (the then showroom manager) had been interviewing for the roles in the showroom in Juice Garden where I was working part time. We got to chatting and my eyes lit up when she mentioned what she was interviewing for. Fast forward a couple of months later I stepped into the shop on Royal Exchange Square. I fell in love with the place and the people in there immediately. I remember Hannah who was working there at the time gave me the biggest welcome ever when I stepped in through the doors. We couldn’t stop chatting and she told me about there free yoga classes on Saturday. I thought that sounded amazing. I went the week after and after that I was hooked. Every Saturday I got up and went to yoga.

I loved that you got to try so many different styles and with different teachers every week. It was a great way to see that there was so much more to yoga than what you first think. There are so many different styles and ways to approach yoga. One thing I learned was how important it is to find teachers you connect with and styles of yoga you love. If I ever talk to someone who said they tried a yoga class and it wasn’t for them I try to encourage them to go to a different style of yoga class and maybe try a different teacher. We’re all going to connect differently with different people and our bodies need different styles of yoga. This can also change along the journey. When I first started out, I had no idea how different classes could be. I just went along and hoped I would enjoy it. It wasn’t until further down the line I saw how nuanced it was.

Whilst I first started yoga because of the physical benefits such as strength and stretching, I realised what a calming effect it had on my mind. To begin with, my favourite style was strong yogas such as power yoga or quite intense vinyasa classes. I wanted to sweat and burn! Today it’s a very different story, the slower and more restorative the better. Classes such as yin and restorative has become my jam. You stay in some poses for several minutes, deeply stretching into the muscles and it feels so good. What I’ve fallen in love with with this style of classes is how you walk in with a busy mind and stress then little by little in the class your mind slowly starts to slow down and one by one the thoughts and worries start to quieten down. It’s like the layers of thoughts are slowly melting away and at the end lying in savasana your mind is calm. You leave like a new person. It’s incredible and I’m starting to get addicted.

This past year yoga has been a bit on and off again as I’ve ventured into the land of G5, lifting weights and high intensity training has become a massive part of my life and yoga has been a thing that’s come and gone. I try to get some yoga in every week, even if it’s just some stretching in our living room but I have to admit it hasn’t always happened. I think the high intensity and heavy training I do now is another factor as to why I’m increasingly being drawn to the slow and restorative yoga. It’s an amazing contrast.

There are a couple of key places which have played a huge part of my yoga journey. The first is lululemon who offered me the opportunity to practise for free and also try so many different styles with different teachers, teaching me what kind of styles I like and what I look for in a yoga teacher that I connect with. Kali Collective is another place. A yoga studio filled to the rim with amazing teachers. I love going there. The other place is Javea in Spain when visiting Jamie’s family. Francesca Stutely is an amazing teacher down in Javea and her morning yoga lessons outside on the beach in the sunshine gives me life. When we were in Spain the last time Jamie’s mum and I went several days in a row. I couldn’t get enough, again I love how the warmth softens my muscles and makes the yoga feel more soft. I don’t know if that makes sense! Hearing the waves in the background to your flow is magical and feeling how the sun rays get warmer on your skin as the sun rises.

I thought by sharing this maybe it could inspire you to try yoga! I’ll always love strength training but yoga will always have a special place in my heart too. It helps my body recover, my mind to quieten down and me to become a bit mobile. I think it’s important to balance your training out and focus on recovery as well to make sure your muscles get a chance to slow down rather than just going all out doing box jumps and deadlifting all the time hehe. Sometimes when I haven’t gone to yoga for a while I forget my reasons for going and I have to just book in a class and force myself to go. Once I’m there I get reminded once again why I get myself to do it. It’s not always easy to go but it’ll be worth it when you’re there. My goal is to make yoga a more regular occurrence every week rather than it coming and going. I want to be more consistent like my training. I know it won’t always be perfect but I’ll try my best.

One thing it really has taught me is to not get frustrated about my lack of flexibility in some poses. I feel really really stiff during class sometimes and even a bit silly standing in some poses when everyone else is doing a perfect pose. It has taught me a lot to feel these feelings and every time they come I have to remind myself that I can’t go to yoga irregularly and expect to be as mobile as someone who goes several times a week. It’s just not possible! I know this is true but sometimes you just can’t help but feel that. Just being there and working on the postures and poses is a win for me. Just giving myself the space and time in class is what I need. It’s remembering what your goals are and why you are there. Everyone goes for different reasons, mine is for my peace of mind and increasing my mobility. Therefore, I shouldn’t get flustered when I can’t always get my heels down in downward dog. I’m in the pose and by doing the pose I’m stretching and improving even though I don’t even notice it much.

If there’s one tip I could give to any of you starting out at yoga is, don’t sit at the back of the class. Don’t be afraid to be at the front by the teacher. In the beginning I would always shy away in the corner because I didn’t want anyone to see me, the only issue was, I struggled to see the teacher which made it difficult to follow the class. Truth be told, no one will be judging you for what you look like when you do yoga because everyone is in their own zone, on their own journey, doing their own thing. If I can I’m always at the front of the class so I can exactly what is going on. I dare you to try 🙂 I promise it’ll make it so much easier for you. It might be a bit scary at first but as soon as the class starts you forget about those thoughts.

If you’re still reading this incredibly long post, thank you for reading and I hope it gave you something. Í’d love to hear about your yoga journey. Comment below or message me on social media. It always makes my day hearing from you guys.

Speak soon, M xxx

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