“Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success” Svatmarama
Good morning peeps , meditation done.
Quote for the Day:
“Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success”
Because of my injury I had to take two months off my full yoga practice and today marks two full weeks of being back on my mat practicing everyday.
On my injured side I have felt like a complete beginner and have had to really go back to basics and pay great attention to my hip alignment. I have been holding each pose twice as long as usual to allow my muscles to relax into each position and each day I have noticed my right side improve slightly each day.
Because it is so important for me to have my hips aligned properly as my injury has caused me to favour my left good side, I have been using a mirror to make sure I am very strict with myself and my positioning. It is really easy to lose form in the pursuit of more height or depth in a pose. As I said, it has been really back to basics and rebuilding my practice brick by brick, pose by pose.
Although it has been a tad frustrating at my loss of height, depth and ability to do certain asana or poses, I have learnt a lot and I believe it will improve my teaching as I can relate more to not being able to do something.
Each morning I have added another pose to my practice and yesterday I decided to attempt my first Sirshasana or headstand of the year. I usually go into it with straight legs in a pike position, but I knew this would put a lot of strain on my injured hip flexor, so I decided I would do it with bent legs the way I teach people everyday in class, numerous times a day, without really having to think about it, as it has become a habit ingrained into me on a daily basis, just like brushing my teeth.
I got into position on my knees to prepare, I looked around and suddenly felt a fear that I might fall, don’t be stupid I said to myself you never fall, but I thought just in case you are a bit rusty, why not take a bit of extra care. I turned around to face the other way so I was at the end of my mat and then I could see my lap top open to the side of my mat, as I was waiting to take a Skype call straight after my practice, I thought you better close that imagine if you fall on your macbook and break it, how annoyed will you be? I thought to myself, this is ridiculous, where has all this fear come from? So I slid to the other end of the mat and turned around to face the other direction, I then saw I was close to the mirror to the side, I said to myself now you are being stupid you definitely will not fall sideways.
Finally I was ready, I took hold of my elbows with my hands, stopped and took a few breaths, then I let go of my elbows and slid my forearms away until my hands met in the centre and I clasped them together. I placed my head in between my hands and then lifted my hips up in the air, straightening my legs and coming up on to the balls of my feet, then I walked my feet towards my head until my hips were over my shoulders. It felt weird and I felt weak, I was beginning to have serious self doubt, don’t worry I told myself you have demonstrated this hundreds, no thousands of time, press your forearms and little fingers into the mat, so you are really connected to the mat and floor and the weight is in your arms not your head, then I engaged my core, by sucking my belly button in towards my spine and then I brought my right knee into my chest, it still didn’t feel right, I then brought my left knee into my chest, whoa, I felt really weak, wobbly and unstable, I knew I would fall if I tried to lift my knees higher. I thought it must be my right hip flexor, let me lead with my left one. I started again this time bringing my left knee to my chest, I felt much more secure, but as soon as I tried to lift my right knee the same thing happened, I felt weak, wobbly and unstable and knew I would fall if I tried to go up as I didn’t have the strength. I tried one more time, but all to no avail. I knew it was no use, I did not have the strength in my hip flexor.
Until that moment I had not realised how much you use your hip flexors in a headstand, or just in life in general, because you use your hip flexors all the time, walking, going up stairs, sitting down, putting your shoes and socks on, getting in and out of a car etc basically most things that involve your legs or your body bending towards them or twisting.
I was devastated, I could not remember a time in my life when I couldn’t do a headstand, I had learnt as a kid playing around in the garden on grass or on a beach, at school you had to do one for your gymnastic BAGA awards, in my teens as a body popper, I would try a few basic break dancer moves, including head spins, then when I was a professional dancer, sometimes you would do moves that would involve some sort of headstand, after dancing I took up capoeira where you learn to deliver kicks to opponents, whilst standing on your head. All of these headstands were more like a tripod head stand where your hands and head form a three point weight distribution like a tripod hence the name.
When I began in yoga, I would attempt headstands with no technique and just hold it with brute strength. I remember when I went to Goa on my first yoga retreat after only having taken four yoga classes in my life, on my first day Lainey Sheridan-Young was teaching the afternoon class. When it got to headstands she asked if anyone needed help with their headstand, no one else volunteered so I put my hand up and she used me as a guinea pig to show how to teach someone how to do a yoga headstand. From that day my headstand has always been pretty good technically and I can stay up in it comfortably for literally ages. As part of my daily practice I go up into a headstand with straight legs and then hold for 50 breaths, then lower my legs to 90 degrees and hold for 10 breaths, this part I find challenging and then I return my legs to the full headstand position, before slowly lowering my legs down to the floor in a controlled manner, before resting in child’s pose and the eventually finishing off in shavasana – the corpse or resting pose. Then up I get feeling calm and refreshed ready to start my day.
But that all changed yesterday, I felt totally humbled, by the experience of not being able to do a headstand, in fact I found the whole experience pretty unsettling.
But on reflection it has made me realise how precious the human body is and to never take anything for granted. The feelings of fear I felt as I prepared to do my headstand is what many and probably most people experience on their yoga mat everyday. By tapping into these genuine feelings of fear I feel, I am in a better position to help other people overcome their fear of handstands and life in general, which I am looking forward to putting into practice on my yoga retreat in the week ahead.
I find the practicing of yoga everyday makes me happy and really helps me in all aspects of my life.
The better I fuel my body the better I feel both mentally and physically.The more I practice the stronger my breathing becomes and the more control of it I have and the calmer I have become.
The yoga poses and breathing teach me that if I control my breath I can control my mind. The pain and discomfort I feel in the awkward yoga poses, will go away if I breathe and stay calm. This mirrors situations in life which can seem impossible with no way out, but if you stay calm, focused and breathe then your head clears, the situation does not seem as bad as you first thought and you can see a way forward.
Yoga has taught me to focus my mind and not be distracted by outdoor forces and things that I cannot control.
I have also learnt that I cannot do all the poses or asana, but this is not failure, the point of yoga is not to be able to do all the poses, it is the daily process of trying to achieve them that is important. Because as soon as you have mastered a difficult pose, you will come across another one that you will feel is impossible, when you first start, but if you practice every day it will become a little bit easier as you improve every day.
Together with nutrition and sleeping, this is the basis of my Elysium Way Training System.
The Elysium Way enhances and enriches lives allowing you to reach your full potential physically, mentally and spiritually.
And one of the main components of the Elysium Way is practicing yoga.
If you would like to improve your breathing and clear your mind by introducing yoga into your life or to strengthen your daily practice to help you focus, smile more and achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams?
Why not take your first step and come on my yoga retreat in Morocco from Saturday March 18th to 25th and join me at the Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort the new five-star luxury destination in El Jadida Morocco
The location is amazing.
It is a truly unique coastal destination resort, less than an hour drive south of Casablanca and set in a region abounding in contrasts that has preserved all its authenticity.
Rooms and suites overlook the lagoon, the golf course, the swimming pool and the patio, plunging down to the sea from the terraces and offering a 180-degree view over the Atlantic Ocean.
The view will take your breath away.
So if you would like to learn more about yoga and lose your fear of failure, come and join me for some fun in the sun at a beautiful, exotic location in Morocco, then Click Here
This really is the trip and chance of a lifetime.
Have a Thrilling Thursday peeps.
I am on the sleeper train from Inverness to Euston and then headed to Gatwick to fly to Morocco this afternoon.
May all your dreams come true.
Breathe, Believe and Achieve
Be Happy, Healthy and Wise
Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living the Dream
Keep on Winning Smiling and Living the Dream