Today is the International Day of Yoga, so considering my ongoing obsession with yoga, I thought I would do a post to mark the occasion! I still haven’t got round to sharing all my posts about the yoga retreat I did, but those are on the way (I promise!) and I’ve shared a few more photos of SUP yoga throughout this post too. Check out my yoga category for more posts on my yoga journey.
Before starting yoga, whenever I had to lift anything (even a full bottle of lemonade!), I would joke about how weak I was; if I had to pick up something off the floor, it was how little flexibility I had because I couldn’t even touch my toes. I knew that strength could be fixed by spending some time on training, but I didn’t enjoy any exercise then so I didn’t do it. I didn’t know that I could become more flexible though – just look at how much difference some stretching makes:
Sometimes when I’m tired and bored, I do #yoga in my pyjamas with no yoga mat in front of the TV, just because! The awesome thing about yoga is that you can go full on and set up the room with low lighting, incense, get your yoga gear on, get your fancy mat out and get meditating. Other times you just feel like letting your body get stretched out, and that’s how I was feeling last night! This pic is to show that, plus what stretching does. After a full week at work where I’ve only managed to do 2 lots of yoga, my muscles were feeling pretty tight last night, so reaching my toes was a no-go when I first stood up. After 20 mins of stretching and Sun Salutations, hello ground! Message here is to make sure that you’re warmed up and stretched up for yoga #namaste ? #yogainpjs #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #yogaeveryday #forwardfold #yogi #yogisofig #yogainspiration #beforeandafter #yogabeforeandafter #asana #stretch #relax
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Yoga isn’t all about the exercise though, in fact, it’s only a really small part for most people. When I went on my yoga retreat, I did alone. For me, that’s a big deal. I was 17 when I got together with Ben, so I transitioned quickly from living at home to living with him and had no time where I had to live by myself. It means that I don’t well if I’m left alone usually – I forget to eat at normal times, I’ll stay awake reading until the early hours, and I’ll worry over everything.
Doing the yoga retreat alone though, I realised that I can be alone – it just takes a little practice. And actually, I’m an introvert – I need time alone to regenerate. Spending half an hour on yoga on a lunch break gives me the time I need to regroup before going back into the office.
This was my yoga retreat mantra. I didn’t go in with one, but when we did yoga nidra on the first night, Victoria told us to hold a phrase in our minds that we wanted to accomplish – over the weekend, in our lives – and this came into my head.
I struggle with confidence. I’ve had a few setbacks but I’m constantly growing, and the last couple of years I’ve managed to start to understand how to be more confident. Coincidence that the last couple of years have also included a lot of yoga? I think not!
Like I said, I hated exercise. Exercise reminded me of teachers who shouted at me to push on even though I was running on a sprained ankle. Exercise to me meant pain and fear. Yoga was the slow introduction I needed into exercise to help me appreciate that I didn’t have to hate keeping fit. I’m now a little bit of a Cross Fit addict as well as a yoga addict!
Another mantra that popped into my head during the yoga retreat, and one that has stuck – I am enough. I think most young women experience the feeling of being inadequate a lot of the time. We’re not only told that we’re not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not good enough at what we’re doing, but we also believe it. I’m coming to understand that life isn’t a battle to be the best; it’s a journey where we can constantly improve ourselves if we want to. Taking time in my day to do yoga makes me appreciate the fact that my body is improving in strength and flexibility constantly. It’s not a thing to be picked over, pulling apart everything that seems to be a flaw; it’s something that keeps me alive and working and enjoying life. Even making sure to feed my body properly so it can continue to work is something that seems obvious now but hasn’t always been, and I’m sure so many of you can relate.
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