I’m 42 years old this year and I haven’t got a bloody clue what I want to do with my life. I mean – I thought I might’ve found my life’s purpose by now. One thing I am sure of, is I hate my current job and I have no idea how to get out. I feel trapped. Sure it pays the bills, but if it were a competition between the job and watching snails race… or paint dry…or any other of those synonyms that explain how excruciatingly bored I am at work… How do you start a new career at 41 if you don’t even know what you want that career to be?
I have tried many ways to work this out. I have delved deep into my soul. What makes me happy? What am I good at? What can I do with my one wild and precious life? This soul searching resulted in a massive heart to heart with my partner last night, who cuddled me as the tears fell and the frustration came pouring out. He asked of me the same questions I have been asking myself. I do not know the answers. Yet.
As we followed my ideals and dreams, we ended up taking a journey to live in the Lakes (for the outdoors and running and hills) with a hippy shop selling crystals and beautiful jewellery and books. There was a room for holistic treatments and also a big space at the back (with a wooden floor) for Yoga, meditation, art classes, creative writing workshops, etc. He said dream big. I don’t think he was expecting that I have got to 41 and my big life’s dream is to be a hippy.
I think I have been waiting for some divine inspiration, something to fall out of the sky so I can say, “yes, that’s me, – I want to do THAT”. I am happiest when my brain is active – or the opposite – when I can lose myself in the creativity. I love writing, but have been suffering huge writers block from the moment I decided I wanted to write. I love painting and drawing – and yet I have not picked up a pencil or a paint brush in years. These are things I need to remedy, not least as they are the things that make me most happy.
I have realised that I cannot wait for the magic opportunity to land on my doorstep. Hoping and dreaming is not enough. I need to take the time to create the life I want to lead. I need to take steps to start. After all, the book ain’t going to write itself.
Recently I have been hearing a lot about yoga and reading a lot about yoga. Yoga is presenting itself in so many new varieties – the combo classes; beer yoga, aqua yoga, acro yoga, wine yoga, dog yoga, power yoga, pizza yoga and of course the trendy classes; aerial yoga, hot yoga..
Do you even Yoga??
I mean – it’s a growing trend – but I’m not one of those to jump on the bandwagon, “just because”.
I wish I could be like the cool kids.. erm.. perhaps not…
I like to do my research and whichever way you look at it (I would say “or do it” but I’m not sure about some of the combos..) the benefits of yoga are second to none.
“Several studies have found that yoga can help improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, balance, and overall quality of life — and it can even reduce stress, anxiety, and pain.” Health.harvard.edu
“More and more people and athletes are participating in yoga based therapies to both recover from and prevent injuries.. Yoga opens up the mind, body and spirit. It literally can heal your body.” Cleveryoga.com
OK, as a runner recovering from injury and a long time sufferer of bouts of depression and anxiety (now mostly managed.. but still), dealing with the bereaved on a daily basis and having a sometimes slightly stressful job..
I need to get me some yoga..
But which class? Even in our sleepy, slightly slow to catch on market town there are several yoga classes and, more importantly to me, yoga teachers to choose from.
After a few months of procrastinating and making excuses, I realised for some reason I just didn’t feel comfortable joining any of the classes. So, I downloaded a few instructions and videos on sun salutations, which I practised at home for a few days before I got bored and gave up my dreams of achieving those oh so perfect bendy “insta” yoga poses (love-hate Instagram) and that was that. Then one day I was sports massaging a client from JDW Fitness, Ellie, who I knew was a keen yogi and a little spiritual being (small in stature, big of heart) and she was telling me how she was taking herself off to India for a month to become a bendy guru (yoga teacher). Wow. I mean, what an adventure!
Ellie returned, fully teacher qualified, and immediately set up some classes to share her newfound knowledge and passion for yoga.
Now, call me a bit of a traditionalist but while doing “research” I realised that while contemporary Western yoga tends to focus on yoga as physical exercise – power yoga, hot yoga, aerial yoga – the history of yoga is actually much broader than physical poses alone. I love that it has a rich philosophical and ethical ethos. I understand how beneficial breathing exercises and meditation can be, and without sitting cross legged and chanting (totally puts me off). This is what I want from a yoga class – am I asking a lot? I don’t want to go there comparing myself to flexibilty of others, or compete to see who can get that perfect pose. My research tells me that the fundamental philosophy of yoga encourages us to be non-judgmental and compassionate to others and ourselves. I want to become attuned to my own individual self, self-aware and accepting. I want to learn new stuff and I also want to be Zen.
I also read that some yoga teachers integrate lessons on important principles, such as kindness, truthfulness, and self-discipline into their classes.
So how did I know this is what Ellie would provide in her classes and this was a good one to choose?
I didn’t. Instinct maybe suggested she would be a good fit, but I just got my backside there and gave it a try.
I love Ellie’s Vinyasa flow classes. They are everything that I was hoping for and more. Challenging, inspiring and relaxing.
I’ve only been twice and weird things happen in Yoga that I totally wasn’t prepared for – which is a whole other blog.
Needless to say, I think it’s filled a hole, something that was missing in my life. My journey with yoga may have just begun, but I know without a shadow of a doubt it’s here to stay.
You can check out Ellie’s Vinyasa Flow classes at the Town Hall in Thirsk every Tuesday night at 8pm.