Hi My name is Helen and I started yoga with Polly and Vera when they first opened there doors in Hervey Bay a couple of years ago and what an experience it has been so far. I would like to share with you some of my yoga experiences as a daughter, mother and grandmother.
As I lay in savasana my mind clear and my body relaxed, my mother passed through my mind like a gentle breeze. When I checked my phone after class there were the missed calls.
My mother had Alzheimers she had not been with us for many years although I always felt her with me. I had made the decision not to be with mum when she passed as I had said my goodbyes on previous trips home. Yoga helped me to make a decision on what I felt was right for me at that time not what I felt I should do.
I travelled home for the funeral and inside me was a strength I have never felt when amongst my siblings. A feeling that I was just as important as they are not just the baby of the family. (I am 55 years old)
I had written a letter to my mother and I wanted to stand up at the funeral and read it to everyone there. I wanted to tell everyone what my mother meant to me and how she was a part of my family and stand up proud to be her daughter.
Yoga gave me the strength to stand up tall and be the adult daughter not the little girl hiding behind my mothers legs.
Three beautiful children that through the years have given me great joy and for various reasons, though no fault of their own, have all caused me heartache. Though the years my shoulders have become tighter and tighter and more scrunched up as I hold all my worries and fears for my children close to my heart.
Each week I hear Polly say shoulder blades down Helen. When I first started I could not understand how was I supposed to do that they did not move. Headstands (that I still can’t do, which doesn’t worry me anymore as I know my body is moving towards it) and shoulder stands started a movement. This movement was such an emotional experience, as my shoulders gradually unlocked so did the emotions that I had locked away, sometimes leaving me an emotional mess. I have come home from yoga sometimes crying my eyes out or being so angry I want to hit something and not knowing why. As my shoulders move my chest opens and I start to let go of the pain and fear that I have held on to for so many years. Letting go leaves room to welcome back the joy of being a parent and a softness to take and wrap around your kids. Yoga is a wonderful gift in my life that I share with my family.
Becoming a grandmother is a wonderful thing and I am lucky to be able to spend time with my beautiful granddaughters. When spending time with my grandchildren came the realisation that my body was not as supple as it used to be. Stepping of the veranda carrying a child, concerned that my knees would give out, doubting my bodies ability to react when needed for the safety of the kids in my care. Along came a flyer in the mailbox and that was the start of my yoga experience with Polly and Vera. Yoga is giving me the confidence and the freedom to experience the joys of being a granny, to do what I feel like and not being worried that I can’t do it. I watch my two year old granddaughter and laugh as she unknowingly does all these different yoga moves and I think that’s what yoga is, the freedom to be a child again. Freedom to move your body how, when and where you want and feel happy.
Yoga has helped me to travel within to find parts that have been hidden away, forgotten about or thought to be lost along the way. As we go through life we become shaped by the events and people that surround us, through Polly ‘s teaching of yoga not only am I reshaping my body I am discovering the shape of the person that I truly am.
Practically speaking, when we are stiff in our hips and hamstrings our knees and ankles are ‘punished’. At some stage it is better to be accountable/aware of how to work with our hamstrings and hips so that the knees and ankles are able to get on with their work. It’s also the case in twisting poses that people twist into the flexible areas of their spine and in doing so completely miss the area that needs to be ‘accountable’: we are slipping around a stiffness and there will be consequences.
Our yoga classes for children have been running for 4 years and some of the feedback we get from parents and also teachers is amazing and encouraging. Children experience stress for lots of different reasons and yoga helps them to 'discharge' it through physical movements and also through breathing exercises and meditation.
When we go camping, we sit in awe of the magnificence of the mountain, the oceans, the sky. We go there because we recognize that some thing changes within us when we sit quietly within the wonderment of nature. We say "I am different", "I am happier", "I am energized", "I am more content". When we practice yoga we learn to sit in the wonderment of our embodiment. It is our microcosm of the macrocosm of nature. We recognize that being in the power of our own presence is a practice of being at one with the forces of nature.