Well, the yoga mat didn't quite engulf me today, as I'd feared it would last night. But today's yoga sesh was pretty damn chill even if I do say so myself.
Day eight of my personal thirty day yoga journey led by You Tuber, Adriene Mishler, was along the theme of 'Salve' - in other words to soothe, ease, alleviate or comfort. After feeling like I'd hit the proverbial yoga wall yesterday, it couldn't have come at a better time.
So after dropping two very bolshy Lads off at school this morning (they seem to think they are entitled to a day off if it's raining), I power-walked home, all the while knowing that a peaceful sanctuary lay in store for me . . . that's if I ignored the breakfast things in the sink, the washing yet to be hung on radiators and the workshop I needed to plan for tomorrow. NB: I'm getting very good at ignoring such things.
I certainly wasn't going to do this so-called 'restorative' practice by half so I rolled out my mat, picked out the chubbiest pillow and the softest blanket, lit a stick of incense and even made use of my 99p Buddha by lighting a candle that's been kicking about in the cupboard all year. The scene was set.
According to Adriene's supportive email for the day, there were only two rules for this practice:
1.) Breathe your ass off
2.) Enjoy your ass off
This was MADE for me.
I smiled as I closed my eyes, beginning the gentle, soothing movements, and remembered having gone to Bangor University two years ago to do my mindfulness teacher training. When I say Bangor University, what I actually mean is a retreat centre called Trigonos, deep in the valleys of Snowdonia that couldn't have been more picturesque if it tried.
I remembered this because I think that was the last time that all I was required to do was breathe and enjoy. Yes, we were learning a heck of a lot, but it was all so engaging, so rich, so enjoyable. And the breathing? Well considering we were meditating morning, noon and night, let's just say we had that covered.
Actually, there was one more thing we were required to do at Trigonos. And that was eat. A lot. I ate quite possibly the most delicious food I've ever encountered at that place (all thanks to the vegan chef, Lee Watson, who looks like Jesus AND cooks like a boss). Sometimes we were required to eat in silence so as to meditate on the experience of stuffing ourselves and do even more enjoying. And also nearly die of the giggles when the desserts came out. Obvz.
It was November when I did my mindfulness training. November in Wales. Not the most clement of climates. In fact I think I ruined my fake Uggs forever traipsing backwards and forwards along the sodden, muddy paths between the buildings. And all of this breathing and enjoying and breathing and eating and breathing was taking its toll on me. I had to do something.
And that's why, in my immense wisdom, I suggested to a small gang of likely lads and lasses that we should jump in the lake. Because that would surely be the ultimate mindful experience. I mean the lake was just sitting there. Asking to be jumped in.
And it WAS the ultimate mindful experience. A friend snapped this shot of me as I emerged from the deep and I think my face says it all.
And this morning, as I was sat there with Adriene and her dog Benjy, breathing and enjoying and breathing some more, I was reminded of that mindful immersion. Whilst my thirty day yoga and blogging challenge is not quite a jump in a freezing cold lake, it is a bit of a shock to the system. I mean, I could have just carried on with my January in the usual way - making hopeless resolutions whilst dragging myself and the Lads into a mindless routine of sorts - but actually, this time, I just wanted to do something a little different.
I think I can safely say I have climbed the wall I hit yesterday and am about to jump off onto the other side. Which is a bloody good job, as apparently tomorrow's practice is twenty five minutes of, and I quote, 'opening up to the unimaginable'.
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