After yoga at Sweaty Betty Brighton tonight (it’s free, you should go), as I locked up my bike and wandered into the supermarket to get some salmon for dinner, Sheryl Crow’s If It Makes You Happy started playing in the store.
There I was, rifling through the reduced isle, full of love, energy, and light after an awesome but ever-challenging class, singing it loud and proud. I made eye contact with everyone who stared at me and got a few of them humming along too.
It was a fitting moment for a very fitting mood. I don’t know what it is but something happens to me when I practice yoga and I just let go of all the tension and stress inside me. All the weight I carry on my shoulders throughout the day, from work, training, day-to-day tasks and annoyances – they all just melt away, usually somewhere between me trying desperately to straighten my legs and touch my toes in a forward bend.
I’m not the world’s greatest yogi. I don’t yet have the range to do nearly half of the poses properly and I execute those that I can with the exact precision and grace of a herd of charging elephants. I can’t touch my toes, am in agony if I spend too long in Lotus with my hip, and my Standing Splits are more Crouching Fits as my body reluctantly shakes and battles its way through class.
Some things I can do though – I have no problem moving from Downward Dog into a full press up for Cobra, and bridges and balance work I’m not too bad at, even if my alignment isn’t always right. I bloody love Warrior, I feel so strong, and if I spend approximately 10,000 years warming up my hamstrings and walking my feet I can *nearly* put my heels down on the floor in Downward Dog. Sort of.
As the class goes on and I relax into the moment I’m able to breathe more deeply and create space in my body to move into the poses. I’m also getting pretty good at Savasana too, learning to shut off and be present. Relaxing is hard for me. Being still is sometimes impossible.
But it’s a work in progress.
Yoga builds strength for my running, calms my mind, and feeds my soul. I’m learning to feel my body, hear my breath, focus on healing. And let me tell you, doing Sun Salutations to Massive Attack, no matter how disjointed or misaligned my limbs are – it’s bloody magic.
Sweaty Betty run classes every Tuesday night from 6.15-7pm, mostly led by the wonderful Holly Cooper. Her classes are so challenging but totally blissful in equal measures and I look forward to making time for them every week. I learned tonight that the store also runs occasional Sunday yoga classes too, as well as Balates on Thursday evenings – a fusion of ballet and pilates. Find the full class list for Brighton and other stores here.
All classes are free of charge and are run in store, so if you can’t get in the zone and find your zen you can at least have a perve at all the beautiful kit and make a mental shopping list. Mine’s pretty impressive already.
Do you try to make time to regularly practice yoga? What’s your favourite pose and which is your nemesis and why?