I’ve always enjoyed yoga – mainly the more relaxing meditative or hatha styles where you get to move really slowly or lie really still but it still counts as a form of exercise! One Sunday morning I rolled out of bed, threw on some comfy joggers, scraped my hair back, and wandered down to my local gym to try out the Yoga class advertised. I barely listened to the introduction, confident in my previous experience, overlooking the mention of ‘Vinyasa Flow’. I realised, about 3 minutes into the class, with sweat dripping down my forehead and my muscles burning with unexpected exertion, that this was yoga, but not as I knew it! I left that day convinced that I’d just experienced a form of torture, vowing never to return. And yet, I did. Over the course of the week, as I felt my muscles ache from the session, and I remembered the crazy things the instructor had asked us to try, like bridges and headstands, I felt this urge to go back and give it another go. I loved the idea of actually trying some of the crazy yoga poses you see in the movies/on tv – we had barely moved in the previous yoga classes I’d tried!
As part of a mission to challenge myself and face my fears in 2015, I had booked a yoga retreat in Andalucia, in the picturesque Suryalila centre. I later realised it was actually a Vinyasa Flow retreat, and felt grateful that I had a convenient Sunday class to practice for couple of months before I went, rather than showing up there sleepy in joggers and landing back down to earth with more than just a bump! This retreat was a challenge in a number of ways, not least of which included having to hire and drive a car (on the wrong side of the road!) after living in London for so long I had almost forgotten how to drive on the right (left!) side of the road! I was going away by myself, not to visit friends or family, or with the reassuringly familiar company of my boyfriend; just me, on my own.
I had assumed, mistakenly, that there would be plenty of other people staying at Suryalila, but I had inadvertently booked in between retreats, so I was the only student there! After I had gotten over the initial discomfort of feeling scrutinised in my private class, I managed to feel the benefits of having a teacher’s attention. She would ask me to try what felt like impossible poses, but because she believed I could do it I thought I’d better at least give it a go. And then I experienced a revelation: the transition from a physical and intellectual state of disbelief through to the actual achievement of a pose – albeit briefly, for fractions of seconds – helped me to realise that my ‘impossibility’ was entirely self-constructed. All I needed was a safe place, and the support of someone who believed in me. I felt invincible; I could achieve anything I put my mind to, if I could just harness that sensation.
Imagine my delight then, given my love of Ted Talks and admiration of Harriet Minter, when I came across this little gem: what yoga taught me about business, bravery & bras. Enjoy!