Pull yourself together….

You must be mad….

Pull yourself together…

Others have it worse…

You don’t know how lucky you are…

Perhaps you’ve heard one or all of the above before and you really wish that you could ‘just snap out of it’ but for someone who hasn’t been through mental illness, it’s so tricky trying to explain what it’s about.

Tomorrow sees the start of Mental Health Awareness week and although society has made some progress it has also taken a turn for the worse in other ways.  Even up to today I heard on the radio about how students are committing suicide more than ever due to the pressure that they are facing.

Online bullying is increasing and as much as I love Facebook, I sure am glad that it wasn’t around when I was in school.  School was tough as it was.

So why am I writing about this on a yoga blog?  I find that when I’m going through times of stress it’s a reminder for me to get back to my mat as soon as I possibly can. It’s time to breathe and flow through asanas that help to heal my body.

I love sharing these asanas with others and as a yoga teacher sometimes I see the effects that anxiety has on a students body.  Yoga is one of the ways that people can find some relief from anxiety and depression. Not just by practicing yoga but also through attending classes and becoming part of a community where you can get to know other people.

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One of the things I love most about teaching is when I see a full class of people from different backgrounds with one aim in mind to practice yoga and to learn more from the practice.  By coming to class they are able to get in touch with how their body works, heal their body and hopefully meet others with common interests.

If you have been too shy to try out a yoga class, ask around or even post in the comments below.

If you have been feeling too depressed to move then one step at a time and one asana at a time.  It all comes back to the breath.

When how you look becomes part of your yoga practice.

170815 Yoga WheelAs part of my yoga teacher training we had to get in touch with our ‘demons’, those voices in our heads that criticise and put us down. For many people, it was that their class would be boring or that they would forget their class plan. For me my fear was that people would judge me because of my weight, wondering to themselves why their teacher is overweight, and I don’t look like the stereotypically slim yoga teacher commonly seen in magazines and on Instagram.

Not fat but generous

Now I would never refer to myself as fat as I think that it is an ugly negative term, however, in terms of health, I’m aware that I do have more than just a couple of pounds of weight to lose and it’s been a focus of mine for a while. As with my yoga practice aspects of it are personal to me, knowing that when I eat healthily I know that I can take the diabetes that I have into remission. That said rather than affect my practice in a negative way it has enabled me to dialogue more with students who have faced their own battles with weight loss and others who are accepting of their weight but have other life battles. It has enabled me to engage with students both on and off the mat. That said I don’t take it for granted that it is because of my rather generous size but also because I genuinely care about the people who join my class. That’s a trait that comes from within no matter the size and shape of the person holding space for others.

Love, passion, and Yoga

Originally yoga was not about being super slim though I can completely understand the discipline that goes with staying slim if it’s not one’s natural body shape. That said yoga is about love and passion and I happen to have a passion for food that is shared with my family, in fact, it would take a will of iron to turn down some of the food that is cooked by my family who are excellent at what they do.

“Awareness is like the sun, when it shines on things they change.” Thicht Nhat Hahn

What yoga does bring to my students and me is a greater positive awareness of our bodies and what they can achieve. It is not something that can necessarily be placed in a box and labeled. I would love to continue to share my yoga practice with as many people as I can regardless of whether they are a size 0 or size 20 plus.