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“Get busy living or get busy dying”

~Stephen King

As part of my yoga teacher training I was asked to give a small presentation to the group on life lessons I learned from Yoga. 

So I decided to turn that presentation into a blog for you all. Here it is.

I think I’m addicted to chaturangas? (For those who don’t know what a chataranga is, it’s a kind of Yoga push up).

Or it might just be that I’m addicted to that feeling of seeing results and knowing I am in control of my own mind?

I’m not sure which but I done 70 Chaturangas yesterday. 

Just one week ago I couldnt do even one!!! 

Yesterday I challenged myself to try and get to 60 after being told by my teacher Prashant to do 50 a day as my shoulder was blocked. 

Honestly I thought he was crazy when he first said it to me. 

Doesn’t he know I’ve had 6 strokes!! That was my ego was talking. 

I’m not very good at hiding my emotions so he probably saw it in my face. 

Last night after reaching 60 chataranga I realised I had 10 more in me so I got on the floor and got them done. I was tempted to try and get to 80 but I had to finish this presentation… Sooo maybe next week. 

I had originally written a whole different presentation before this one. If I have extra time I’ll just read you that one as well!! If there is still time after that maybe I’ll just do some chaturangas. 

The reason I wrote a whole new presentation is because. I was reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and came across the following quote. As soon as I read it I thought it sums up what Yoga has taught me over the last few years. Im not sure how to say it in Sanskrit. 

But in English it translates to. “as the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind. If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you. Only your attitude towards them does that”.  

When faced with a challenge I will always back down!! Initially. Then from nowhere there’s this other voice that makes me fight. When Prashant first told me to do 50 Chaturangas a day. My first thought was “he’s crazy I can’t do that”. My second thought was “actually he’s still crazy but I don’t need to do them if I don’t want to”. So I decided in that moment that I wasn’t going to do them. Then My final thought lead by that little voice was “who loses out if I don’t do them?” Certainly not Prashant. I could be sat here right now still unable to do a chataranga and absolutely no closer to fixing my shoulder or doing that wheel. So now I realise Prashant is not crazy at all but indeed a very wise man. I was bound with my first two thoughts. But as my buddi, also known as intellect, kicked in that last little voice reminded me of everything I have learned this month. If my shoulder is blocked I needed to unblock it and get the energy flowing back in. My last thought liberated me. Maybe next week I’ll do the wheel. We’ll see. 

 At 14 I was diagnosed with a genetic illness that caused me to have 6 strokes. 

At times I have felt very bound, I’m not able to drive due to my vision loss and I have hated my body, my walk and my arm. I have felt angry that this happened to me and I always thought I’d been given a tougher path and it didn’t seem at all fair that I had to deal with these things on a constant bases. 

My last two strokes were less than a year apart and I was beyond angry at my body, my brain and whatever gods or karma or fate were making this my life. 

As the anger started to fade I started to look for solutions and ways to fix my body. I looked into my nutrition and played around with it until I found a diet that made me feel better. That’s how I ended up vegan! I’ve not really explored Ayurveda before but in learning my dosha it actually confirm lots that I’d already discovered, I will definitely be looking further into that. I started buying crystals, looking at the moon cycles and noticed how these things affected my energy. Then I joined a gym and I thought erm maybe I’ll give that yoga thing a go. After one class I was hooked. The teacher really knew how to help me modify the poses and for the first time in a while she managed to help me stand straight. 

My teacher Kellee would talk to us about how yoga can be brought into our lives to bring balance. I started to realise I was not my illness and it didn’t need to define me. I could choose to be a victim or I could chose to get busy living!!  

My teacher came to me one day and said I’ve noticed a shift in your energy, what’s happened. I told her I’m sick of telling myself I’m healing so I’ve changed the story I tell myself, from I’m healing to I’m healed. It’s crazy whatever you tell your mind it starts to believe. 

So I started my own business, I helped out with a brain injury charity and most recently I booked a flight to India to train as a yoga teacher and here I am. I decided my illness would not bind me to the life of a sick person. I have so much living to do and I’m pretty determined to make the most of it. 

Im hoping now to use Yoga to help others who have had brain injury. I hope that through sharing my experience and knowledge of the breath, asana and philosophy I can help others to feel liberated and not bound by their circumstances. 

 I have discovered that with the asana practice, Pranayama and meditation I can balance my chakras, clear my mind, strengthen my body, and with daily practice, consistency and learned knowledge I will be able to liberate my mind so that I am no longer bound to the disturbances if the outside. 

The outside circumstances (vrittis) will always challenge the mind (Chitta) that is part of life. It is in learning how to react to these things that we can become our own greatest person. A quiet and calm mind will liberate itself. So yoga teaches us how to quiet the mind so that the seer can be our loudest voice

Maybe one day I’ll challenge a student of my own to 50 chaturangas a day. In fact I challenge you to face your 50 chaturangas a day and see if you can find your strength in your weakness? 

If you want more details on the amazing teacher training course you can find all the formation here

And to join my gym for Kellee’s amazing yoga classes click here

Finally for more details on my own yoga classes, watch this space ☺️