Woman Has to Leave Sight of the Shore

Or Man, it’s not gender specific. But I recently posted this quote on my Instagram account and changed the gender – just felt like having a feminist moment.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to leave the shore. A quote by Andre Gide. The sentiment is there, you cannot discover new things in life until you can let go of the old things, the routine, the norm. I suppose this quote can be related to life in general and not just travelling. I found it perfect for me, especially when I was leaving sight of one shore (job, home, family, friends) and heading out to discover the new oceans out here.

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It’s so easy to stick with what you know, but you know, what you know will still be there should you wish to return to it after you have done a little, or a lot, of discovering. I’ve been away almost 5 months and I really feel I haven’t actually travelled that much! MY plan was always to study in Mysore for a month, go and check out Goa (as in my previous trip to India I didn’t get there) and then…well, there was no major plan, but it involved getting a job teaching yoga somewhere in the world, and if I could also get some surfing done, even better. Well fate had me end up in Thailand for now, where I am teaching at the wonderful Yoga Retreat, and having a ball. As I sit on my balcony with a view of the Gulf of Thailand across to the mainland I think how lucky I am to be ‘brave’ enough to have left the comfort and security of the shore. And how there is so much more out there yet to discover…..

Do whatever, just let it produce joy

The title is a quote from Walt Whitman.

I have so many friends who told me that when I was leaving the UK to start my yoga travels journey that I was ‘so brave’ – I really didn’t think I was, I was totally sh*t scared but I knew it was something I had to do. I realised after a long time in my previous role that what I was doing just didn’t produce joy anymore for me. So I made a decision to change my life. It’s a gamble, it’s maybe, at my age, a risk. But I haven’t regretted it one bit (yet!)

What about if we all pursued our dreams rather than dreaming them? I did this when I left school, I had a dream I wanted to be a dancer, a kid from fame, it didn’t bring me any financial security but it did bring me some of the best years of my life. I don’t regret making that choice and never will. I wasn’t brave, I just did what I felt was right for me. And I’m doing it again, many years down the line, it is never too late to change or path, you do not have to give up, you just need faith in yourself.

If I can do it, anyone can do it, find what you are good at, or what you have a passion for, hopefully both, and just go out and DO IT! Don’t let society tell you you can’t do it, even when people tell you you can’t do it, do it anyway. In fact as long as it doesn’t harm others just do it and to hell with the world. I love these video from Misty Copeland, and Kate Winslet who were both told they could not dance or act respectively and did it anyway, and succeeded.

Misty Copeland – principle dancer, Amercian Ballet Theatre

Kate Winslet – don’t doubt, just go for it

Don’t dream it – BE IT!

 

 

What Yoga Means To Me

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I have been pondering on this question for some time now. I think that the answer is that it is going to mean different things to me at different points in my life.

For the moment I am living and breathing a yoga lifestyle. I literally eat, sleep, repeat YOGA

Pattabi Jois describes yoga in his book, Yoga Mala as ‘upaya’ meaning path, or a way in which we follow or a means we can attain something. I think this is a great description

For me, like many others I know, I started practicing yoga as a way to exercise and stretch my body and compliment by dancing. Then, as I retired from dance and began teaching I always tried many different other forms of exercise, HIIT, the Gym, Insanity, Spin, Running, Cycling, Pilates and kept coming back to Yoga. I did enjoy most of those others too but they didn’t keep me long-term.

When I started going to Cheltenham Yoga and Pilates 4 years ago I really started to take things a bit more seriously. Firstly I loved how I felt physically after a class and also because in Shavasana I felt it was the only time (with a busy job and trying to renovate a house, a social media addiction etc) I got to truly have some time just to be present. And I found going to the studio a calming and restorative experience.

Then the opportunity to train as a teacher arose at Ella and Fleur, something i had been meaning to do for some time and so I signed up and well – let’s just say that changed my life. The training definitely took me on that path to which Pattabi refers to…again, coming into it from a purely asana aspect, i was pleasantly surprised when I started to enjoy the spiritual aspect. I found the history and philosophy of Yoga in all it’s forms, dating aback to the Veda’s and Upanishads totally enthralling.

I found a connection with my chakras and even began to enjoy the odd Aum here and there! I learnt that Yoga means so much more than a good workout, so much more than the asana.Friends and family could see a difference in me and I started to love something as much as I loved dance.

Of course, all this came about just when I was going through one of the toughest times in my life, and I can attribute the teacher training to something akin to therapy for a broken heart. It gave my life a purpose when I felt all was lost. And it gave me something to focus on that wasn’t the pain of heartache

It gave me a new identity when I really needed to be reborn. And maybe most importantly it taught me that I am good enough, where I am right now. I am striving to be the ‘best version of me’ and all those other corny motivational quotes.

And then I made the decision to come on my own path, to journey to the self, and I had a new romance, with Ashtanga. Which brings me to where I am now, if you are new here you can read my online diary of my yoga journey here: from Mysore to present

So, what does Yoga mean to me? Yoga is a lifestyle, it’s MY lifestyle. I’ve given up a career in education and left friends and family at home to pursue this lifestyle now. It’s not just asana (postures) it’s a way of life. It’s my way of life. It has made me reflect on the life I had, the person I was and make some positive changes. I feel healthy and happy and have a true sense of who I am. I’m working on my practice and myself everyday. Practice and ALL is coming.

headstand in Goa