Last week, I did my first supported headstand. While for some, who practice yoga every day, this may not seem an achievement, for me, four months after surgery, this was like climbing my own Everest. Every part of this year had been building to this - feeling strong and understanding my body.
I write this blog as I am sitting in an airport, and instead of thinking of the work I need to do once I reach my destination, my mind is already picturing my practice for the evening, what I will need to do to unwind and feel peaceful after my flight. My mum and I started our practice within weeks of each other. Finding a place where we were able to progress at our pace was important. Finding a supportive, engaged, safe practice environment was a bonus we hadn't expected. At first, our practice was focused on unwinding, and finding mindfulness through our yoga. Both of us are busy, like many other people, and found excuses to not take time to look after ourselves. We anticipated doing a class a week perhaps.
Neither of us were prepared for how quickly we would want to practice more, engaging in learning about our posture and balance. For mum, it is restorative yoga which has become central to her week. The mindfulness she experiences during each pose calms her and provides her the rejuvenation she needs.
As each week unfolds, I am more focused on learning where my strength lies and how I can develop it further. Going deeper into poses and listening to my body, I found my breath could help me relax into the stretch and I could stay balanced for longer. The small changes, such as how I can “stay in the room” during each pose and building a little strength in each limb have become larger changes in my posture and muscle tone. Each flow shows me how much more I can do physically than I could when I started, including using my core during our sun salutations. Yoga has taught me the mantra of acknowledging my body and not judging it (as Andrea, Naomi and Teresa remind us) but instead reinvesting in it.