Learning to love yoga doesn’t always come easy. If you’ve been searching for “your” yoga, Movement For Modern Life might be just the ticket – as dedicated mover and our new columnist, Kate Blake, discovered.
Kate Blake writes:
Yoga feels to me like learning to love. I have flirted with it in the past but it’s taken me some time to find the real thing.
My first experiences of yoga when I was younger – and a busy busy achiever – left me bemused and frustrated. I focused on learning the moves. Later, I had a holiday romance with it, fell passionately in love with it and came home determined to practise every day, which I did, ignoring the pain caused by repetitive pushing at the same short sequence of moves I had learned and ending up at the osteopath.
Next I had one to one lessons with a lovely yoga teacher who taught me a lot but I paid more attention to what she said than what my body was saying. Then, thanks to my daughter Rosie landing her dream job with them, I met MFML and fell truly in love. This is the real thing.
Yoga Was Something I Needed In My Life
I have had ME/CFS for 7 years and am very limited in energy, stamina and physical capability. I have had to rethink my whole life during this time and have learned a lot about myself. Simple mindful movements and stretching has been part of my routine during my better times. I felt sure that yoga was something I needed in my life, that it would deepen what I was learning about a new way of being more attentive and conscious but I could not get to a class, and working on my own was not really deepening my practice.
When I first heard about MFML, I thought it would probably not work for me with my limitations, but as soon as I looked at the site I was excited. I could see straight away that it included meditation, mindfulness and yoga nidra – familiar places for me to start.
It’s Okay To Be Where You Are Now
I began to feel I could find my own way with this, and practise according to the needs of my body. After all, no-one is going to see if I choose an easier pose or do fewer moves than the teacher are they? I love the fact there are so many beginners classes. This reassures me. It doesn’t feel like it’s pushy pushy – move on and up – it’s really for everyone and the message feels like “It’s okay to be where you are now.”
This is just what I need. It’s what I have to learn and relearn every day for myself. It’s giving me the confidence to enjoy this place, focus on simple practices, but making them deeper – getting the yin yang balance, working with my breath and beginning to be tuned into my body enough to identify what is restorative for me and my body, which is crucial for my healing as well as my wellbeing.
I started with breathing and meditation practices where I felt safest. A recommendation on the Movers Group Forum – which is worth a post all to itself it’s so fab – from Clive Fogelman for the classes of his which might suit me, encouraged me to give it a go. I tentatively did the Grounding Flow on the Back over three days in three shorter sections, doing as much as I felt able. The class felt nourishing, gentle and supportive and increased my confidence.
>>A super-slow and mindful yoga class, the perfect way to wind down the day. Includes mindful breathing and meditations, try this mindfully paced slow flow for yourself>>
Developing Skilful Intuition And Understanding Is Necessary
But, as with my illness, always working within my limitations will keep me where I am. Moving forward requires intention, awareness, courage. I need to work mindfully, finding my ‘edge’, knowing where that is in each day and in each moment. I have discovered with my recovery that ‘rules’ don’t work, and developing skilful intuition and understanding is necessary. This is where I believe yoga will help me. And MFML with its flexible classes, range of different practices, fantastic teachers, Movers Group support and holistic ethos is my way of developing my own practice into a whole new way of being. I am full of optimism, confidence and LOVE.
Kate Blake is a former teacher who’s life was changed by illness. Kate’s column tells how yoga has brought joy into life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and shares tips about the best classes to choose on Movement For Modern Life.