Malvern Wells Yoga

Smile, it's yoga! Yoga classes in the Malvern area.


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My sister thinks I’m weird!

…or more accurately, she thinks I think I’m a cross between David Bellamy and Beatrix Potter.  I think of myself more of a fatter Barbara Good from The Good LifeFelicity Kendal I will never be, but the sentiment remains.

“I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.”
Johnny Depp

I don’t think I’m anything, weird or otherwise. I’m me.  Everyone has their own life solution, and this is mine.  Admittedly I was a bit of a numpty in my teens and my twenties, but in my thirties I’m happy to just get on with living.  Life is hard, but you have to embrace it and carve your own path.  Enjoyment and contentment will not come to you.  You have to go out and find it.  It’s not, “What can life offer me?” but, “What can I bring to the party that is life?”.

I believe that everyone has something to bring to this party and every experience you have, good or bad, sets you on your course towards the destiny that you are meant to fulfil upon this earth.

 

 

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6 signs you’re totally stressed out (funny)

We undoubtedly live in an era where most conversations with your friends being with, “Oh I’m so stressed!”  The 21st century lifestyle means that everyone will have encountered stress somewhere along the line.  Unless of course you are one of those really annoying types who wears a coat made of Teflon, so the stress just slides right off you.

Stressed out Mary

Stressed out Mary

All of the following are completely true.

1. You arrive at work, take off your coat, make a drink, turn on your computer, read some emails… then a colleague points out that your jumper is in fact inside out.  If you can get away with it, it’s best to pretend that it is supposed to be like that.  Otherwise you look like a complete flake.  You’re sh*t out of luck if said jumper has a huge washing instruction label on it though.

2. Having visited your local purveyor of fine produce and olives in little tubs, you carefully place your very expensive purchases in the boot of your car, ensuring that the olives remain upright, lest they spill their olivey goodness all over the boot (that’s trunk if you’re an American).  Your posh eggs from very happy chickens are reverently placed on the front seat so you can keep an eye on them.  You return your trolley to the bay and leave your handbag, containing your brand new phone and your wallet in the trolley.  Luckily I got it back.  And everything was still inside my wallet.  Honest people do exist… at least they do where I live.

3. You wake up in the morning only to find that during the night you’ve been digging the nails of your left hand into the palm of your right.  The resulting marks take all day to fade.  There is not a lot you can do about this apart from not waving at people across the office because then they’ll realise you’ve been maiming yourself in your sleep (again).  If this becomes a regular occurrence you need to keep your nails short and consider wearing gloves in bed.  Seriously.

4. You forget that you’ve promised to go to Hot Yoga with your Yoga BFF, and now you feel mortified and embarrassed and daren’t phone her because you are a total stressed out mess.  This comes from not really knowing what day it is.  A solution would be to try to keep a paper diary with your appointments in your handbag (providing it has not been left in a supermarket trolley), and then actually LOOK AT IT so you can see where you are supposed to be.

5. Going to bed seems like the best course of action, even though it’s only 3.30pm.  Cuddling up with a good book and the cat at 3.30pm in the afternoon seems like a good idea.  Where do you think I am while writing this?  However, if it happens too often you might need to have a think about why you are in bed.

6. Knocking over a cup of tea results in an apoplectic-raging-beast-screaming-crying-fit that causes you to nearly pass out in anger when you realise that was the last of the milk too.  Birds in trees get scared and take flight.  The cat runs out of the room at top speed, leaving a cloud of fur behind that then floats nonchalantly into the big tea puddle on the floor.  Each and every tiny, simple task just causes you more stress and inconvenience.  And so you sit sobbing in the middle of the kitchen floor, hot tea soaking into your eco-friendly yoga leggings until your poor long-suffering husband/partner/boyfriend concedes that he will go fetch some more milk from the shop.  Anything to get away from the noise!

Now for the serious bit.  If you have symptoms of stress, if you feel out of control, anxious, depressed and/or unable to cope, you need to get some help.  Talking to loved ones, doing something fun, getting a massage and attending a regular yoga class are all things that can help relieve some of the burden you feel you are carrying.  Don’t suffer in silence.  Try a little smile right now… go on, you can do it!


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About friends

I love my friends.  My mates.  My chums.  My buddies.  The Kindred Spirits.  The ones who’ve seen me cry.  The ones who know my bra size (seriously classified information, people!).

My friends from school, the majority of whom I am still in touch with via Facebook.  It’s amazing to see us all grown up, with jobs and kids.  I honestly never thought that I would meet anyone else like them.  I like to think we were the closest knit group of friends ever and that the camaraderie will never be surpassed… and actually it probably won’t because we’re adults now and drinking Thunderbird on the school playing field on Friday nights is just not cool anymore!

Over the last couple of years I’ve met some amazing people.  Fellow yogis, business people, work colleagues, people from Twitter, people I’ve met through music, long lost family members on Facebook, the people who attend my yoga classes…  D’you know what though?  I hardly get to spend any time with any of them.

Recently I’ve become friends with a few really inspirational people who are more accessible to me, by virtue of the fact that they live in the same town as me!  But you just know when special people enter your life.  The sort of people who make you feel amazing, like you can do anything.  They believe in me, they get me.  They make me happy when I’m around them.

Don’t get me wrong, I carve my own path.  I don’t need the affirmation or admiration of those around me but what I do need is that simplistic good fun element you get when you’re with great friends… whether that’s getting high on caffeine with a fellow yoga teacher (seriously, 3 shots man!), being manhandled into Pincha Mayurasana by my Yoga BFF or tramping through a park in Vienna in heels and a posh frock… these are those priceless friend moments that everyone needs.

I have so many lovely people in my life right now, new friends and old.  I love each and every one of you.

I urge you to make time for your friends.  You never know when they’re going to move to Australia!

Claire & Me

Up to good stuff in Claire’s yoga room
Image from http://travelswithmyyogamat.tumblr.com/


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Farting and other stories (6 funnies from the yoga mat)

I am by no means a seasoned, veteran yoga teacher.  However, I’ve seen and heard some pretty funny stuff in my 15 months of teaching and I would like to share some of it with you.

1. Farting

Yup, if you are a frequenter of yoga classes, chances are either you or someone else in the class has farted.  What do you do?  Where do you look?  Do you pretend you’ve not heard?  What if it smells?  Luckily the folks over at DoYouYoga have made a helpful video to tell you what to do (funny).

Unfortunately what the video doesn’t tell you is how to hold in a fart if you are the teacher, or what happens when you hold in a fart for 90 minutes and then you sit down in your car and try to drive home…

2. The Fanny Fart

That’s right, the fanny fart.  This happens to me on rare occasions during shoulder stand or headstand.  It has never happened to me in Warrior 2 or Side Angle Pose.  In this particular instance, a lovely lady in my Tuesday class was in Warrior 2 when she let out what we all assumed was a bottom burp.  When it happened again and louder this time, she told us that it was what she believed is “commonly known as a fanny fart”!  Where do you put your face when this happens?  How do you rearrange your face into something resembling a composed Yoga teacher?  Perhaps the nice people at DoYouYoga will make another video…

3, The woman whose arms didn’t work

Sometimes at the beginning of class I like to do wrist warm ups.  Beginner students get tired wrists quite easily and I think it’s important to get the blood pumping into them before you start doing anything weight-bearing like downward dog.  Anyway, generally we do a few flexes of the wrist and some circles with the arms stretched out in front of us so that it works the deltoids as well.  One particular lady, fairly early on in my teaching experience, tried about two rotations, then said she couldn’t do it because it hurt her arms.  She then bent her elbows into her sides and proceeded to do the exercise like that.  It just looked incredibly funny… maybe you had to be there.

I find it really interesting that people often struggle to distinguish between mild discomfort and pain… but what do I know (see point 4)?

4. Being accused of being so bendy that yoga must be really easy for me

The only thing I can do is laugh when people say this to me… and it happens quite a lot.  Let’s get this straight, yoga is not easy for anyone.  The reason I am so flexible is I worked hard as a gymnast and a dancer when I was a kid and then later on as a yoga practitioner.  I have maintained my childhood flexibility BY WORKING HARD AND KEEPING MY BODY MOVING!  Being bendy is more of a curse than it is a blessing.  It is easy to over pronate and hurt myself really badly.  I work hard to develop my muscles in order to protect my flexible tendons and ligaments.  Injury is not funny.

5. The hardcore know-it-all Ashtangi

Again, this was fairly early on in my teaching career.  She put her mat right at the front of the class, scowled at me as I described ujayii pranayama as sounding a bit like Darth Vader (I had two blokes in the class, I thought it would appeal to them), her chaturanga was better than mine, she ignored my instructions and did her own things and her headstand was a perfect straight-leg lift.  At the time I was mortified.  I wanted to throw a diva strop and ask her to come to the front and teach the class instead of me.  She’s never been back to one of my classes since.  I don’t really care about that.  She taught me a very valuable lesson, not to let my ego get in the way of delivering a good, safe class for my students.  I think (I hope) that I now teach with a lot more grace and humility and I am confident in what I am doing.  My classes, taught my way.

6. Flower power pants

One of my lovely students wears black leggings that are somewhat transparent, especially in downward dog.  I have seen her flower power knickers quite often.  It always seems to be the same pair… maybe they’re her favourite pair for doing yoga.  Either way, it makes me smile!  I know some people have a problem with it (I’ve read enough blog posts about lululemon pants to have picked up that some people consider totally opaque leggings essential).  Who cares?  As long as you show up and do your practice, who gives a f*ck what you wear.  I do it in my pyjamas on Sunday mornings.