Finally. You have 30 minutes with nothing scheduled. Some precious me-time alone. Time where you can just do what YOU like. Ah lovely…
But then, you remember the bins need putting out. Ah, you forgot to answer that email. Hmm, you haven’t spoken to such-and-such for a while may you should give them a ring.
And you start to feel guilty for not getting on with stuff which “needs” doing.
Feeling guilty. It usually comes with an unhelpful dose of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. That nagging feeling you should be doing something else instead. The knot in the stomach. The tension in the head and shoulders. The chattering thoughts.
The guilt comes with an extra whack when we’re doing something just for ourselves. Some aspect of self care that we know we desperately need but we somehow find difficult to allow ourselves to have. Quite time away from the kids and family. Time to go for a walk and get some fresh air at lunchtime to get out of the office and away from the ever-refilling email inbox. Saying a gentle but firm “no” to looking after the grandkids at short notice when you had some me-time planned.
And we either cave into the guilt and prioritise others’ needs or the guilt consumes us and we don’t enjoy what we’re doing.
So, I started yoga in 2000 – for the same reason many people come to my classes now – because I felt stiff and inflexible.
But what causes this common phenomenon of feeling stiff, achy and ill-at-ease in our bodies?
It’s partly about tight muscles. But it’s also about the tightness of the joints themselves.
Stiff muscles and joints lead to discomfort in the body which we brace ourselves against – leading to more tightness, especially as this tends to be accompanied by shallow-breathing. Add to the mix anxiety and stress and we end up feeling as if we’re tightly bound by ropes and afraid to move!
Of course, this is where yoga comes in to the rescue.
Yoga stretches and lengthens the muscles, encourage us to breathe deeply, contributing to that delightful sense of release and relief at the end of our yoga practice.
However, many yoga practices are based on constant flowing movements. This is great for the muscles, because muscles love to move.
But it overlooks the joints themselves. Read more…
Have you ever experienced something a little odd when you’ve tried to relax?
Maybe your body twitches. Random images float in your mind’s eye. You remember things or people you hadn’t thought about in years. Memories come to the surface. Maybe your mind simply won’t shut up.
I hear lots of interesting feedback from people who come to my yoga classes. They love the deep, therapeutic relaxation which ends every class but sometimes their experience is, well, a bit unexpected.
One lady said she feels like she goes off into some kind of dream state. Someone else told me they feel like they were almost going to sleep and then their whole body had jolted awake (although I could see that they’d barely moved). And there’s the classic “when I try to relax my mind prepares shopping lists” reaction!
I love a deep relaxation myself, but my common experience is: ideas come up for yoga classes and blog articles; I remember people I need to email; I get inspiration for a new workshop; or I remember a yoga pose I was going to practise today and I forgot.
If you’ve experienced anything like this, don’t worry, it’s all perfectly natural! Read more…