As we draw closer and closer to the shortest day of the year, and temperatures drop below freezing outside, we may feel like curling up under our duvets more than ever before. The Mini Me Yoga programme, designed by Kate Bartram-Brown, is the perfect way to get 15 minutes of yoga, mindfulness and meditation into our short days; keeping us and our children physically and mentally healthy during these dark winter months.
This week’s blog, written by our wonderful Ambassador Clair-Louise Walsh, explains just how easy it is to be a yogi- no experience necessary!
What is Yoga anyway?
We all know what it looks like. Lycra leggings, expensive mats and insanely difficult poses, but what is it all really about? Well, before you read any further, let me ask you three questions.
1. Are you human?
2. Can you breathe?
3. Do you have intent?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, then CONGRATULATIONS you are (with or without the fancy pants) a yogi.
Long before we step into a yoga studio or on to a mat, we are yogi’s. From the moment we are born, from the moment we take our first breath, we are yogi’s. My belief, as a yoga teacher and as a yoga student is that yoga is the very essence of who we are. Now before you think ‘uh oh, here’s another hippy talking ‘essence’ let me explain what I mean.
Next time you are in the company of a baby or a small child, observe their acute awareness of the world around them. Watch as they take everything in. Their senses are in full force and they are tuned in to every small detail that surrounds them. This is such a natural way for us to begin our lives. Alert, awake, attuned. Then we get older and somewhere in the midst of everything, that awareness that we once had so much of ‘switches off’. Now here’s the important part….. switching off does not mean ‘getting lost’. It does not mean ‘broken’. It means, that just as we switch off a light when we leave a room, we can also enter the room and switch the light back on.
And here, my friends, is where we introduce Yoga. Yes, you’ve got it, Yoga is where we can switch back on. And what happens when we switch back on? We become Alert. We awaken. We become attuned. Enter… ‘Essence’! You see, it’s really not that hippy dippy after all. In yoga, we find a way of cultivating the same type of awareness that we were born with and therefore, reconnect with who we are. And not the version of us that has a million and one things to think about and do, but the simple, still, present version of us that we all have but don’t always get to hang out with.
We all need a bit of stillness in our lives. We are in a constant state of business and although this is a realistic part of living, it’s very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all . I hear a lot of people saying ‘I haven’t got time to relax’ or ‘if only I had the time to get to a yoga class’. Of course, in an ideal world, we would be attending yoga every day of the week and floating around the office on our Zen clouds but let’s get real with this not- always- ideal- but- pretty- awesome- world that we DO live in and what can we do to get as close to that zen cloud as possible.
Step one: BREATHE! All day, every day we breathe but how often do we stop and take a breath with complete consciousness? hardly ever. By taking a few moments throughout the day to tune in with your breath you can benefit yourself in several ways. The breath acts as an internal cleansing system and just as we take a shower to wash the outside of our bodies, we use our breath to clean the inside. And, identical to the act of ‘washing dirt away’ externally, our exhale can rid us of any of that dust’ that we no longer need on the inside. When we release what we don’t need, we create space to welcome new and positive energy .
Step two: BE HUMAN! You are, believe it or not, a human being. This means, you have thoughts and feelings, you make mistakes, you probably have a trillion things to do and you are, without a doubt, a much better person than you think you are. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget to take a few moments every now and then to express some gratitude towards yourself for everything you do and everything you are.
Step Three: Identify your intention. This doesn’t mean that through blood, sweat and tears you WILL ACHIEVE ALL INTENDED….. no, it just means that as you travel along your path you try to bring your awareness to an element that you wish to manifest in your life. A few examples of this may be patience, mindfulness, love, forgiveness, letting go. Setting intentions are a powerful way of bringing yoga in to your daily life without even attending a class.
And so there you have it! Hopefully, by the time you’ve read this blog, you’ll have identified with one or two of the things discussed. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll have realised that you, yes you, are in fact a yogi.
About Clair-Louise Walsh
Clair-Louise is a trained Montessori Teacher, a registered Children’s Yoga teacher and trained in India for a 200 hour teaching certificate in Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga. For the past seven years she has lived and worked in Luxembourg offering Yoga to children, adults and families. Most recently, Clair graduated from university with a degree in ‘Drug and alcohol addiction therapy’ and now uses yoga and mindfulness in her work as a holistic therapist.