Mother nature never fails to amaze me. I mean, how did she know? Has You Tube yogi, Adriene Mishler got a direct line to her or something? Because today, day twenty three of my thirty day yoga madness, just happened to be all about 'Balance'. And it also just happened to be the day of Storm Georgina tearing in from the Atlantic.
On the absolute BEST of my yoga days, I find balancing to be a major challenge. The slightest thing can throw me off . . . a phone ringing, a door slamming, a child pointing out that I am rubbish at balancing (grrr). So a storm raging at my window does not the best balancer make.
Luckily, Adriene had sent an email earlier in the morning assuring me that what she was on about was so much more than just balancing on one leg. Or one toe or whatever. Thank God for that. Because Georgina was clawing at the trees and the hedges and the wheelie bins outside and I didn't like my chances.
Of course, I do get the metaphor here. I know that balancing poses - whilst toning the core and a load of other major muscle groups - also help us to cultivate a certain set of attitudes. Attitudes of kindness, patience, commitment and love. It's more about uncovering what it is to be balanced in life and with yourself than it is about not toppling over in a sad, sad heap.
So today, when Adriene began by inviting me to set an intention for today's sesh, I channelled the entire twenty-two days of my yoga mission so far and let the words of the intention arise naturally. And within seconds, I knew it.
Balance with love.
And with that, a sweet smile twitched on my lips.
Because love, I am starting to realise, also comes in the forms of fun and playfulness. Perhaps that's even when it's at its best. And after the exhaustion of yesterday, that's what I needed to be at the core of this yoga session. I was going to tip the balance on what was happening outside my window (general carnage) and offer up a bit of playtime.
And the best way to do that, I found, was to forget EVERYTHING I know about yoga (which doesn't amount to all that much, to be fair) and approach it with a beginner's mind. That same attitude of 'Charisma' that Adriene had promoted on day seventeen, that same attitude I try to use with my Lads when they want me to pet a snail, make a time tunnel or sniff a dog poo. Damn, I was going to be babylike about this.
Do you know how much fun you can have in the standing stick pose?
I didn't. But I do now.
And while I was there, huffing and puffing and not-very-successfully looking for some of that 'Finesse' from day twenty-one, Adriene suggested I might like to wrap my hands around my ankle. Hah! Fat bloody chance. Yes, I could just about get my foot off the ground but I wasn't about to defy the very laws of gravity now, was I?
Hang on a minute.
Balance with love.
So I got curious instead of judgmental. Inquisitive about what would happen if . . . and perhaps because I live with two (actually, make that three) incredibly playful young men, I found it easy to slip into the tricksy Abi: the kid who used to try things out for the very sensation they might promise. Granted, when I was about six I threw a rock high above my head just to see what happened . . . but I learned my lesson, ok? This was different.
Plus I had a lovely spongy mat to fall on should it all go wrong.
But what do you know? I only went and bloody well balanced.
For a nanosecond, but still.
And later on in the day, when I'd flowed through my to-do list of answering emails, planning workshops, preparing dinner, organising children and teaching in a local school, Storm Georgina died the heck down. Branches were no longer quivering, birds were no longer undercover and wheelie bins stayed upright. All was calm. She'd left us.
I'm not saying I was responsible but you, know, the magic of yoga and all that . . .
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