My New Found Love for Yoga
If you asked me 12 months ago, about my interest in yoga, my answer would have been a very quick and definite ‘NO interest at all’. Why would I want to do something like that? I didn’t know much about yoga but what I did know is that it was slow, you listened to relaxing music and you didn’t wear shoes. What sort of exercise is that - no shoes!
If you ask me that same question now, I will tell you that yoga is essential to my life and my well-being. No matter how tired I am at the end of the day, I know that there is nothing better than walking into the studio, taking my shoes off and laying down with my feet up against the wall. I shut my eyes, concentrate on my breathing – a time to stop, breathe and be in the present moment. This feeling is unexplainable.
Before yoga, my exercise consisted of a 30-60km cycle each morning and a PT weights/cardio session each afternoon. I was fit, strong and pushed my body to its maximum, both mentally and physically every day. My typical day started at 4.45am and most days didn’t finish until 10.00pm at night. My mind never switched off and I survived on minimal sleep. I am a working mum with two children and my husband works away from home – this alone having its own challenges.
In March this year my body decided enough was enough and without any warning, I suffered a stroke at age 38. It isn’t until something like this happens that you realise just how precious life really is. In the nine months since my stroke, I have attended many specialist appointments and had heart surgery. I am still receiving physiotherapy and continuing my rehabilitation, but I am grateful to be still alive and working towards my recovery.
It wasn’t until this significant event occurred in my life that I realised I needed some major life changes and yoga was one of them. Meeting Polly and joining The Hervey Bay School of Yoga has been life changing for me in so many ways. Her love for yoga is inspirational and contagious. Sometimes you meet people in your life that can look at you and see so much more than others – Polly is one of those insightful people.
Yoga meets the everyday needs of people on so many levels. No-one can make you do yoga – you have to be ready to accept it into your life and the many benefits yoga will bring. It is nourishing for the body physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. I no longer need to punish myself or my body – mentally or physically. I am learning to accept the things that I cannot change or control. I allow myself time to stop, let go of worries and be present in the moment. This allows me to relax, breathe and concentrate on learning how to connect with my body and to be kind and gentle with my body.
I have certainly travelled a long and bumpy road over the past 12 months and I am thankful to have the support of a wonderful family and many good friends. I look at life differently now - gentle morning walks and afternoon yoga sessions. Sitting by the water, dreaming, watching clouds, and eating an ice-cream – something I would never have done in the past – yoga has allowed me to find my inner peace.
Kelli - Hervey Bay
Only when we are sick of the suffering, when we have reached a place where actions and effort feel hollow or meaningless; or the thrill is just not that big a thrill anymore; or when happiness is mixed with self-doubt and we find ourselves on auto pilot; when we feel brave enough to admit even one of these things to ourselves about ourselves, then we are ready to pose the question of contentment, forgiveness and a life of peace, then we are tilling the soil in which a yoga practice can spout Yoga.
When our mind set is toward the body as an 'ornament', we engage with it in ways that glorify performance. Actions inherently serve no practical purpose. Whereas when we engage with the body as an 'instrument', we are concerned with the capacity of the instrument to harmonize within its context or circumstance.
Letting go of the fight response and understanding that the mind can influence the pain response was the first step. Appreciating that my body has served me extremely well through 60 years of exertion and should not be expected to perform like a 30 year old, came next. That meant accepting my limits with a new calmness and humility rather than anguish and stress.