The tough practice yoga. Ok it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as the original but it’s certainly a good idea and, believe it or not, a practical one!
In my late twenties I flounced into my first yoga class in a foul mood after a humiliating experience. To say life wasn’t going well at that time would be an under statement: I was struggling with my physical health, my career was going down the pan and I was severely questioning my mental stability. I hadn’t intended to do yoga that day, I had headed for the gym with the intention of running off my fury and frustration on the treadmill, something I did a lot in those days! It was only when I was changed and ready to go that I discovered that I hadn’t put my inhaler in my bag and, being a chronic asthmatic I knew I couldn’t risk over exerting myself without it. In my desperation I consulted the class timetable in the hope of finding something I could do that wouldn't run the risk of an asthma attack. Unfortunately there was only ‘ Gentle Yoga’. I had always assumed that yoga would be something I would find too easy and therefore frustrating. Being a professional dancer I was used to challenging my body and enjoying the exhilaration of pushing myself to the limit. I felt annoyed at my options but signed up for the class anyway. It was with that attitude that I began my journey into the wonderful world of ancient practices.
I walked into the studio and rolled my eyes at the sight of everyone lying down quietly on their mats. What way was this to begin a class? No pumping music in the background? No adrenalin enticing atmosphere? I was in fighting mode and wanted something to come up against. I lay down and let out a resistant sigh, thinking six bloody quid to lie on a mat! At first I didn’t listen to a word of the relaxation exercise, I just wanted to get on with the stretching. Little did I know that I was about to experience a completely new way of being in my body. I don’t know if it was exhaustion or the deliberate and slow instruction that I finally gave way to, but it wasn’t long before I felt myself relax and drop into the gentle guidance coming from the teacher. And, as we were working gently in a pose called Warrior, I noticed a real strength arising from deep inside my structure. Of course I had felt strength in my body before, but not like this. I was fascinated as my internal chatter dropped away and my curiosity deepened with each posture. At the end of the class, I was lulled into a state of relaxation that I had never experienced before. It wasn’t the usual buzz and floppiness that I enjoyed after a good workout; this was different. It felt more like an unravelling, a deep satisfaction, like my body was saying ‘thank you’ by showing me a deeper kind of strength. I left the studio in a trance. My mind was calm and my body felt comfortable, spacious and worked to the core.
The experience was a huge turning point for me, the start of a journey to find not only true strength, and resilience but also deeper feelings of happiness and contentment. As I explored further I found that there were many other ancient practices that conjure up this powerful healing energy. An energy that demonstrates that kindness, respect and compassion are far stronger and more conducive to thriving than conflict, manipulation, force and control. To this day (30 years later) when I am looking for stability and peace it is that powerful, persistent quality of the warrior that I turn to.
In our modern day lives the wisdom of warrior will help us to up our game and stand strong through these unpredictable and often chaotic times. Yes prices are rising, war is raging, climate change is a threat AND the energy of warrior is there within all of us to help us turn the tides and create a better world for all. Chaos offers opportunity, the ancient greeks understood the word chaos as the abyss - the void at the beginning of creation. With this in mind this chaotic time is an opportunity to call on the warrior within, stay firm in our true nature and create a new world. A world that benefits all and has a foundation of compassion, kindness and respect.
So when the going gets tough … roll out your mat! And, if you'd like to dive deeper, join us as we explore the energy of taking action in our June Natures Rhythms update: Take the leap!
You can find more anecdotes of how I stumbled into the world of self help in my book Lessons from Leela.
And finally, on the topic of yoga; we are excited to be at Yoga Camp festival this year (10th - 12th June) teaching classes and offering free taster astrology readings and life coaching sessions. There's still a few day and weekend tickets left and we would really love to see some of your lovely faces there! 🥰
In the mean time, if you want to get practicing straight away, our membership is still open for a few more weeks before we close for the summer season. Join us and get instant access to our Daily Practice Library for a huge range of classes ranging from 1hr to just 10 minutes for those of you a little short on time. Find out more here!