What is your relationship to movement? Is it something you enjoyed as a child? Kat Farrants muses on how a growing interest in making shapes opened the door to an understanding of the mind-body relationship
The Joy of Movement
I first came to yoga looking for a way to stretch out. After some really bad experiences as a child in PE classes, I had a terrible relationship to my body and physicality. I had never learnt that moving could be a joyful experience. So yoga was absolutely eye-opening to me as an 18 year old when I first tried it. It felt just delicious, oh so sweet to be able to move non-competitively and feel the body. Then the progress started – whereas I’d started out as a really stiff teenager, I practiced daily and I found myself able to make shapes.
Yoga as a journey of physical discovery
I was thrilled and excited for the yoga journey. Where would the teacher lead us to next? And would my body be able to make the shapes? My body transformed fairly quickly, it was stronger, more flexible and I practiced hours daily to get into those fascinating shapes.
Yoga as a breath practice
Years later, I was in a car crash which immobilised me for months. Of course I was incredibly hurt physically, emotionally and felt at a loss as I could no longer ‘do yoga’. Yoga was what made me feel amazing. That was taken away from me. My yoga practice stopped, I went into a depression, my husband left me. And then, when I was attempting to rediscover my body, I found my breath. And finally, after all those years of practicing yoga, I discovered yoga within the breath work. That was invaluable in healing physical and emotional suffering.
Then a few years on, I discovered yoga nidra; this practice was the game-changer, the thing that finally made got me out of a ‘stuck’ life, a life in which I was half-awake and was half-lived. That’s when I started the Movement. When I, ironically, found that yoga had nothing to do with shapes or movement. It was the healing of the breath and the mindfulness that I knew was the powerful practice, it was the healing power of breath-awareness and yes, combined with movement is beautifully powerful, that I wanted to share with everyone.
Yoga off the mat
So it was a funny journey for me. A journey from where yoga was pretty much exclusively to do with the shapes, to about the breath and stillness. And now yoga is to me, well it’s more of how Andrea describes it when she talks about her yoga journey off the yoga mat and into the world in the podcast. Yogis are not just the ‘shapemakers’ Yogis come in different shapes and forms: Yogis can be gardeners, or anyone who has a close connection between themselves and their relationship with the earth.
In the podcast, Andrea discusses how the asana, the physical postures are a useful tool, but they are not the yoga. Yoga is ‘a philosophical system that can show us how deeply we can connect to ourselves’.
Getting a close relationship with our breath is one really wonderful way of getting into yoga. But in a world where the physical is given prominence above everything else, it’s worth remembering, as Andrea says, that
‘the practice isn’t about putting on an outfit and getting on a mat… it isn’t something that you do. It’s a state of who you are’.
I loved Andrea’s reminder that the real yogi sees the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Do check out the podcast here:
About Kat Farrants:
Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. This post was written by Kat and is inspired by her exploration into how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life.
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