The Ramblings of Lottie - Yoga and Life
This blog post is going to be a little different than those I have previously written. I want to reach some of you on a more personal level. You can expect mostly ramblings of my thoughts and ideas about life, particularly the life that I experience on a day to day basis. I want to share with you the perfect imperfections of my life. Of course I post pictures, stories or write blogs that sometimes can seem as though everything in my life runs smoothly. As you will expect, this is not always the case.
Where do I start. I guess with yoga. Living the ‘yogi’ life seems great. You get to practice calm, relaxing yoga, post some pictures on instagram in your cute new outfit, eat avocado toast, show off your flexibility at the beach in your bikini. Well, no. Yoga is so much more. More than anyone can truly explain until you begin doing it yourself.
For a start, yoga is more than just asanas (postures). Yoga, derived from Hinduism, means unity. Yoga is practically following a set of principles with the overarching goal of calming the mind to be able to achieve samadhi or enlightenment, unity with the true self. Another time, I will go into more detail about this, and if anyone wants to know more, please send me a message and I will be happy to discuss this with you. For now, in a general sense, yoga combines the right way of living (with compassion etc), with physical asana practice, breathing practice and meditation. Yoga requires daily practice and perseverance.
I have some yoga confessions. Within yoga, you are supposed to follow your own journey, be accepting of others and be kind and compassionate to all. Well, I am guilty of comparing myself to others, especially in class. Yep, sometimes I'm in a posture and I look across the room and I think for just a second, ‘my splits are better than theirs’ Or ‘how the hell are they holding this warrior 2, my leg is on fire!’. I sometimes surprise myself at the thoughts that cross my mind. I find myself judging another teacher or getting frustrated at a student for spreading onto my mat when doing a spinal twist in a too busy class. But that is just part of the challenge. The challenge of the mind. Learning to accept things the way they are, to let things go when you can’t change them. It is not until you truly start monitoring your thoughts that you discover your true nature.
Mostly everyone believes that they are a kind, good person to an extent. And yes, every one of us has the best intentions. But thoughts are more than just ideas, thoughts have a habit of manifesting themselves into physical form. The power of the mind is nothing to take for granted. Too many negative thoughts can have a negative effect on health. Whilst positive thinking has been linked to the potential cause for spontaneous recovery in life-threatening and chronic illnesses. I encourage anyone reading this to go and do some research on this now, you might be amazed at some of the findings. For now, I work on gently scolding and then forgiving myself. As long as I work to improve myself compared to the person I was the day before, even slowly, I am always achieving success.
Do I always enjoy yoga? No. When I speak to the average person, they almost always ask me about my yoga. I may talk so enthusiastically that they think that I am obsessed. I am. But that doesn’t mean that I always enjoy it. I do some form of yoga every day, and like other people following some kind of exercise or study regime, I sometimes wake up in the morning and think ‘why do I do this to myself?’ My body is tired, my brain is tired, my motivation lost. I feel disappointed that I can’t do as many vinyasas as the day before. I don’t want to feel like a failure when my mind gets distracted during meditation, or when I can’t find the compassion for a colleague who spoke to me nastily, because the feeling of anger is too sweet. Maybe deep down I don’t want to face my weaknesses. But the difference with yoga, is that its not just an exercise regime. Having a day off isn’t just giving my body or brain a rest. Practicing yoga is about working on the mind, the soul and my whole life, so by not turning up to my practice, I'm not just sacrificing a workout, I'm turning my back on my very belief system.
Yet, I’m going to contradict everything I just said. Yoga is a paradox, because it doesn’t actually matter. The minute you start putting pressure on your spiritual journey, it becomes work, a chore, a job. It develops into another worldly stress instead of a blissful experience. Yoga is everything and yet none of it actually matters. Confused? Yep, I know. Yoga is about connecting to yourself, your true self. Its about showing up to yourself, its about listening to yourself. Its about listening to those thoughts in your mind, those messages from your body. On those mornings, where you feel tired. Check in, maybe your body is tired, fatigued from a hard practice the day before. Maybe you need to take it down a notch, but still get on your mat. Maybe you need to do a meditation practice and focus on the mind. Maybe you need to lay down in savasana (relaxation posture) and simply breathe. Maybe, you need to write your thoughts in a journal, to set them free from the mind. Whatever you do, show up for yourself, put in the work, but not the pressure. Yoga is practiced in every waking moment, not just on the mat.
Yoga is my best friend, my teacher, my mother, my sister and the bully from school. Yoga pulls you apart, knocks you down, pulls back the layers and gets right down to your soul whilst at the same time loves you, cares for you and helps you to put yourself back together in a way that makes you the best version of yourself. Everybody can benefit from some type of yoga, the likelihood is, they just haven’t found it yet.
Im not sure if this blog post has even addressed some question or idea. What it has given you is an insight into me, my ideas, my thoughts. Maybe its left you more confused than when you started. But here it is, unapologetically me.
I would love to have some in depth discussions with people about yoga, philosophy and more. If this interests you then send me a message and we can explore the wonders of the world together.