Last week our intention was to have a grounding practice that focused on the Earth element. I felt that this was necessary due to some feelings of high/jittery/excited energy after the Clarity fundraiser the weekend before (mainly from myself!). But moreover, this type of practice is important at the moment because we cannot deny that the beginnings of a very hectic and over-stimulating time of year are definitely now upon us, and we need a bit of grounding to help us cope with it.
So speaking of coping, I’d like to bring some attention back to mental health again this week.
Over the weekend, I spent some time on a “family yoga break” organised by my yoga parents Dan and Gemma Peppiatt! Ironically, most of the people there were actually strangers to me, but being yogis, it didn’t take long for us to form a family bond (possibly aided by not spending much time actually practicing physical “yoga”, but instead focusing our energies on drinking wine, rum and prosecco, and eating copious amounts of food - my kind of people!!)
During this time, as the connections began to form and the boundaries and inhibitions started to fall away, I found myself having some very profound and personal conversations with some of these individuals. I felt comfortable opening up to these strangers because; 1) they were yogis so I knew they would totally understand and listen to me without judgement, and 2) talking about how you feel and your own anxieties and issues has become much less of a taboo these days, and can actually help during the healing process (as mentioned at the fundraiser).
“It’s OK to not be OK” was a slogan written on the t-shirt of someone who’s mental health problems almost resulted in devastating consequences (explained to me by a friend just before the fundraiser). It became somewhat of a mantra for this person, as it should most of us with or without a “mental health issue”.
It reminds us of exactly that – that it is OK to feel a bit cr*p sometimes, and it is also OK to open up and talk about it.
Although yoga teaches us that it is extremely important to put our own feelings in to perspective, and to practice gratitude for the things that we have and are able to do that others may not be so lucky to, we all feel down sometimes!! It is perfectly normal. That is actually probably why most of us practice yoga. Because we want to feel better. We want to feel physically, emotionally and mentally stronger, healthier and happier! In a room full of yogis, probably 99% of them have some personal sh*t going on, and that is why they are there!!
For me personally, I feel pressure as a yoga facilitator to look and come across a certain way. This pressure comes from nobody else besides myself! It exists within me, not out there. And I know that. But sometimes, even if I seem like I’ve got it all figured out, and I’m preaching contentment, self- love and acceptance to everyone else, it can be that the very opposite is happening for me, and I go through periods of anxiety, self-doubt and struggle too.
So this week take some time to tell yourself that “it’s OK to not be OK”, and do not give yourself a hard time for feeling a little out of sorts sometimes.
(and if you are actually OK, that’s fine too!)
Say Hi to Mum!
It was her birthday last week so I treated her to a delicious high tea at the weekend!
My mum and I have what I would describe as the classic mother-daughter relationship - we are often critical of one other, we bicker, and we don’t always say the right things to each other!! But there’s no denying that my mum is my absolute best friend and I adore her. I’m not a mother myself yet, so I haven’t fully experienced what it’s like to love a child of your own (although the love I feel for my niece and nephew terrifies me!! So I imagine it’s similar to that?!) but the unconditional love I feel radiating from my mum towards me is undeniable! She is the first person I go to when I am upset, happy, angry, feeling low, or just generally need someone to talk to. She’s always there for me no matter what.
And I also like to think that she raised me to be the person I am today - kind, compassionate, loving, and a little bit nuts?!!
Yoga is always meant to be a devotional practice, rooted in unconditional love. In the West, we’ve come to see Yoga as merely a form of exercise - we have forgotten that the reason we practice Yoga is so that we can be healthy in body and mind so that we can be of service to others.
Therefore our practice is always for the betterment of someone else.
This is particularly significant this week with my fundraiser coming up on Saturday. The amount of people that have shown interest in it just goes to show how compassionate humans truly are, and how capable we are of devoting our time and efforts to others, and to bask in one-another’s unconditional love <3
So just as the ancient yogis dedicated their practice to Buddha, or Hindu gods and goddesses, I am dedicating my practice to my mum this week.
Who/what will you dedicate yours to?