I first tried yoga around 10 years ago. I was having an early 30’s existential crisis, as you do, and decided to go on a yoga retreat to Ibiza to collect my thoughts and work out what the hell I wanted from life. Profound! That didn’t quite materialise but it did sow the seed of what has now become my life’s passion.
I initially started off with Ashtanga Yoga (an intense flowing yoga set to a prescribed sequence) then Bikram (bloody hot), but that came to a swift end due to an unfortunate incident involving the repeatedly escaping sweaty testicles of a fellow yogi. Traumatic.
Finally, about 7 years ago, I discovered the Hot Power Yoga studio in Clapham founded by Dylan Ayaloo. It was a breath of fresh air, very friendly staff and an athletic, challenging style that I love.
At the time, my husband and I were having a lot of problems conceiving. It was our ‘annus horribilis’ but the challenging yoga classes really took my focus away from our troubles. As I started to feel fitter I decided to detox my life and eventually was blessed with 2 little girls, 17 months apart.
I continued to practice modified power yoga during my pregnancies but after the last baby I suffered from excruciating lower back pain from an inflamed sacroiliac joint. Carrying the babies and breastfeeding had taken its toll. My body felt weak and I was exhausted with the demands of two infants.
In January 2014 I decided to take back my power.
*Cue swelling orchestral music*
Although knackered, I started to go to classes again and gradually regained my strength. Yoga for me now is an essential part of my self-care. And if I am fit and well, then my family and everyone around me benefits from it.
So here in a nutshell is why I love Power Yoga:
I AM STRONG
I practice at least 3 times a week now and feel as strong as before my children. I don’t weigh myself but I feel toned and my pre-pregnancy clothes are actually a bit too big. I still have a bit of a baby tum but I don’t care about that. I am strong and I have a great butt. Hah!
I AM FLEXIBLE
This is a work in progress as I am not naturally flexible but regular practice has massively improved my range of movement, especially in my hip area.
I AM TALL
Bizarrely I am half an inch taller! I used to have a rounding at the top of my back from hunching over my laptop and cycling with a back pack but that is now gone. Thank God!
I AM PAIN FREE
I have no pain at all in my body now. This is immense for me.
I ENJOY REGULAR ME-TIME
Yoga is the only time of my week when I am on my own and with 3 children this is a BIG DEAL! I try to go to two classes a week and also have a few mornings of self-practice if I can get up before the kids. If I am ever in two minds about not going to class I just remind myself that if I stay at home someone will ask me to do something for them.
I AM CALMER AND LESS STRESSED
The definition of Yoga is the “union” of mind and body. For me, practicing the poses is like a physical meditation, helping me to relax and concentrate. And the fundamental breath work (pranayama) is teaching me to breathe deeply, probably for the very first time. I am learning that it is our breath that actually heals us.
When the kids are crying at the same time, just slightly out of sync for maximum ‘nails down the blackboard’ effect, the only thing that keeps me sane is to breathe deeply. This also works with husbands.
I AM ENOUGH
We all have voices in our head telling us that we are not good enough or we are not loved and I used to be particularly gifted at listening to them.Yoga and especially pranayama and meditation are helping me to get out of my head and acknowledge that I am not my thoughts. This is my life’s work and I have to remind myself frequently not to beat myself up. Yoga has taught me to differentiate between the truth and that pesky little sabotaging voice that doesn’t really exist.
And there you have it. What’s not to love?!
If you have any questions about yoga or about our classes then please do feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mama Love Yoga London