Before you roll your eyes thinking this article has been written by some flab-free Bendy Betty or Flexible Fiona, let me set you straight – the only Betty you’re hearing from here is of the sweaty variety!
Your inspire-to-be yogi I am not. I have a bulging disc in my back (thank you, children). A bulging everything in my tummy (thank you, children. And lattes. And curries. And comfort eating. You get the picture). And a bulging brain most days of the week (sadly the result of an eternal headache, not hyper-intelligence).
But you see, that actually makes me the PERFECT candidate for yoga. I am a mum who is slowly going around the twist – and this is a most excellent place to start.
I’m trying to work and rear two young children, one of whom happens to have Cystic Fibrosis.
I have all the regular motherhood and adulthood worries, plus some particularly unique and terrifying ones, all played out on the emotional and physical assault course of my daughter’s unpredictable health.
Enter the yoga mat.
Stress: TALK TO THE HAND
The single hardest thing about starting yoga is getting past the fear that you’ll be the only inflexible freak in the room. Chances are you won’t be.
And even if you are, it actually doesn’t matter.
The beauty of yoga is that everyone is deeply concentrated on themselves – on their own minds, on their own bodies, on their own capabilities and restrictions on any given day.
On how they’re feeling inside and out. Your yoga practise is the one time you have permission to stop thinking about everyone else and instead just listen to and connect with your own body.
If there was an Olympics for worrying, I’d win gold every single time. The undefeated champion of the worry world!
But when I go to a yoga class, I have to concentrate so damn hard on not falling over. My brain has no choice but to forget every single other thing that’s going on in my life.
60 minutes of concentrating on making shapes with my body, means 60 minutes of not fighting demons in my mind. I can’t explain how therapeutic this reset is.
To turn up the heat on this healing, I hit a hot class as often as I can. Deep concentration, deep stretching and deep sweating all wrapped up into one. I’m not sure this is actually what’s happening, but in a hot yoga class I feel like I’m sweating all the negativity out of my body.
Not just body toxins, but mind toxins too. Nothing feels better than feeling the sweat pump out of every orifice in your body. I’m not sure why something so vile is so exhilarating, but it truly is (I also never knew your lower arms could sweat! You learn something weird and wonderful every day).
So if you’re a stressed out mum with your knickers in a twist, maybe consider getting your body in a twist instead. After dealing with the family place mats, do a legger with your yoga mat and carve out one hour just for you. Even if it’s just once a week.
Connect with the strength of your body and feel the benefits travel to your mind. You’ll find an inner peace you didn’t know you had. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be Flexible Fiona to fit in – Stressed-Out Sallys (and Sams) are regulars in most classes. All you have to be is present and kind to your body and mind.
For me, yoga gives me space to temporarily forget how overwhelmed I feel on our Cystic Fibrosis journey. It helps the stress melt away and it’s truly the only time I think of me and me alone. It’s like my sweaty, protective bubble. My own space, where my anxious thoughts are acknowledged and let go. The effects may be temporary, but there’s always the next class…
Who knows what it might do for you.