Yoga & Contentment

Stop reading now if you don’t want to get irritated by a smug happy person! Slightly different post today but I wanted to share my happiness rather than angst for once. I am feeling very content at present, as I was walking to work yesterday I felt a rush of gratitude for my life and started to reflect on why. My trip to India to train as a Yoga Teacher has completely changed my life. It is funny how a month can make such a huge impact and hopefully one that lasts a lifetime.

So what has changed?

  1. I am still meditating every morning. I get up at 6am even at the weekend and spend 40 minutes going through the chanting pranayama (breathing) that we did whilst on the course. I have started using the headspace app for my meditation as I found it useful for the timing rather than setting an alarm which felt like it defeated the relaxation element having an alarm set.
  2. I am sleeping well for the first time in my life! It has had such a profound effect on everything. Life no longer feels like a struggle. I don’t have to use coffee to get me through the day. My moods are more balanced, I enjoy getting up in the morning and I wake up feeling refreshed rather than desperate to go back to sleep. I will write another blog on the science behind sleep but for now I am just saying from my own experience, if you do nothing else in relation to your health and fitness, try getting more sleep.
  3. I am doing yoga every day and I can feel not only my flexibility improving but also the functionality of my body. I don’t get stiff, my DOMs aren’t as bad and I wake up ready to go. I used to do yoga 2-3 times a week and not really stretch after exercise so my body often felt tired and heavy. Now it feels great even after a long week of hitting the gym hard.
  4. I am generally just feeling very happy. I think this is because I am no longer stuck in my head. I am not having a million thoughts a second and I am much more present. I have really noticed the difference in my workouts, I used to have a mental battle with myself, having to force myself to push through it whereas now I am just there doing it. I use the breath as I do in yoga for focus. I don’t start thinking about how hard it is, giving myself the option of perhaps doing less than I set out to. I just get on and work through the task at hand.
  5. I am feeling the best I have in a long time. I feel fitter and stronger, having a month off has done my body so much good (that combined with daily yoga). It has also helped me to realise that it is ok to have a rest from the gym. When my body says no I can listen to it and take it easy rather than forcing it. if a month off was fine then a few days will make no difference. I have only been back a month and my strength and cardiovascular fitness are as good if not better than before I left.
  6. I am getting more done. A lot to do with the sleep I think. Pre India I had to take naps in the afternoon because I was so exhausted. Now I have the energy and mental focus to always be able to get my work done. No TV means also helps me not to get distracted. When I go home I can focus on my business and work to grow it. the little things that add up to make a big difference.

I do still get overwhelmed by how much there is to do but at least now I am                             chipping away at it rather than having so much to do I end up doing nothing.

  1. I used to suffer terrible PMT. The week before my period I was wiped out, my body felt so heavy even getting out of bed was a struggle. I would also feel anxious and quite irritable. I saw an Ayurveda Doctor in India (more details in another post) and he prescribed me some herbal tablets to balance my hormones. He said I could buy another version of these in England and they are Pukka Womankind. I have restocked with them from Wholefoods but they are also available online

Since I have been taking them I haven’t had any symptoms whatsoever, it is a                         miracle!! If you are a sufferer I highly recommend giving these wonder pills a try.

I had a slight crisis in confidence the other day, it has been my dream to run fitness retreats for quite some time now and I finally have the opportunity to make the dream a reality. The familiar feeling of getting so far and then giving up presented itself, that scary push to the finish which is the most important. It is so easy to dream about things and start the planning but to see it through to the finish is the tough part. Instead of giving up, I fixed a date and now I can start booking people in and make it happen.

I also started doubting my abilities as a yoga teacher. I taught a couple of yoga classes but wasn’t happy with how they went, I knew rationally that I just needed practice but this didn't help with the stream of thoughts which basically involved me telling myself I was rubbish. The same thing happened when I started teaching Pilates and I now feel like I am a good Pilates teacher (completely goes against my mentality to say that I’m good at something but I believe it).

When we start a new skill, we progress through the Conscious Competence Learning Model (for more details It states that when we learn a new skill we experience conscious incompetence, this is when we are aware that we are not skilled in this area and it is not a nice place to be. With time, we move to conscious competence where we are gaining the abilities but we still must think about it. finally, we move to unconscious competence which is where things seem natural for us and we no longer need to think about what we are doing.

I reached a turning point on Tuesday, I taught the first class I was happy with. I had prepared a fun flow and my participants really enjoyed it. I stopped trying to emulate other teachers and found my own style. We must be authentic and true to ourselves to be at our best, there is no point trying to be like someone else as it just doesn’t work. You are who you are meant to be, no apologies, no self-doubt. Now I have found out who I am as a yoga teacher, I am excited to see myself develop and improve with time.

I know there will always be bumps in the road but I am confident I now have the tools to help me to cope with them. When I feel a wobble, I can reach out and tell people to get help when I need it. I have my yoga and meditation to aid me to control my mind. I will continue to work on my self-confidence and I refuse to let these doubts that I have from holding me back and prevent me from reaching my true potential. As always, I shall share my experiences with you and if you would like to discuss any of these issues with me or want to see how you can use the same tactics to help improve your life, please get in touch xx

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