The first requirement of yoga teacher training is a sturdy pair of boots.

IMG_2413 When I decided to begin a teacher training in yoga I thought that I would arrive somewhere.

It seemed like a good opportunity to sort out my stuff and make some big changes. I had my money on metamorphosis and I was excited. I wasn't interested in the whole journey rubbish. I was interested in the prayer beads and the yoga pants and the freakin Zen baby! I may have been interested in a better body along with my clearer mind, but the point is I wanted it yesterday.

Well how do you hope to get anywhere without a journey?

I've now completed 200hrs of teacher training and the road stretches long both before and behind me. 

It occurred to me that I've taken about 150 million steps in my lifetime. Sometimes I ran like a tap or stumbled around in circles. Sometimes I strode like I was on a mission and sometimes I tiptoed quietly from the scene. But I've walked and walked and walked.

hate the word bloody 'journey'. I blame reality TV for completely overusing what used to be a rather romantic notion. I've witnessed too many tear stained beauties crying over their saggy soufflés or self imposed incarcerations. "Oh go and be quiet about your journeys and your pursuit of the Master Brother award for the best bloody Block! I'd rather watch Ross from friends than listen to your bleating."

Each day I just walk.

I can't decide I want to be 100 million steps in front without putting on my boots and taking each-single-step. The only way to move along is to move along.

I've learnt a lot in this past year. I've loved being challenged by yoga philosophy, I've faced some big fears and even stood on my head a few times. I've hurt myself and healed myself and made some good friends along the way. But most importantly, what this year has taught me is to put one foot in front of the other.

Where I stand today is exactly where I need to be.

Present.

More than the fancy poses and the yoga fads. More than the beautiful arms and hypnotic chants. More than the bliss and the bali huts and the mala beads and the love ins - I think that's actually yoga.

Just two feet on the ground, heart open present.

Grace

8a80a-img_1221 The wind blew your name across the wild grasses

the spiny call of the egret left

the air, out there

wheaten

hung over the idols of my youth.

Seed against cerulean sky

blown

promises suspended

caught for a moment

in a current of uncertainty

to fall at my bound feet.

I have walked

towards that sound,

made up ground,

in skins and ceremony.

I have carried a village

that spoke not a word of

worship

nor ever wrote

a sanguine wish

for peace.

In my memories,

we were sundered by the sea.

A glassy swathe

of welcome water.

Grace that brought

a flood to feed the earth

and flow between us.

I felt you near

still

in time.

We are free....

IMG_1187 You and I are just a whole bunch of stories.

We might think we're skin and bones and hungry bellies, but thats just another yarn we hold close. And so we should. There's some precious truth in that tale after all, us being of the flesh and full of life.(Look after the vessel.)

But today we told ourselves a story.

And yesterday.

I am guilty of telling myself all about what I should have done and didn't. Moments all tangled in a past tense that keeps perpetuating. It's gone my friend. That story has no future if you'll pardon me stating the obvious. I suggest you thin it out, take only what you need and leave the rest for dust (and it's all just waste on the wind).

We're free you and I. Much more so than our busy lives would have us believe.

We are free to speak gentle words full of praise and pretending. Funny make believe fancies. Stories worth reading over tea and toast, with a blanket and a beloved. Or tell a tale of whimsy for your pint sized pirate or  sleepy eyed princess.

Tell yourself a nice story at 3am, when you worry the sun from the inky night sky, as the house creaks and shadows fall down the hall. Ask that fearful, cynical you to take a long nap while you write yourself anew.

Clean down the page and start again.

IMG_0388

You get to choose your character, make her good and strong and kind. And big. Please make her big and bold and let her fill the page with purpose. Make her laugh often and long. Fill the moments in between with words of friendship and gratitude. Make her a generous cook and a great listener and give her a strong back for all she holds aloft. Put a babe at her feet and fill her arms with family. Give her soulful eyes and a warm smile (and shiny locks).

Give her the strength to move past the wrongs in her wake. It's just dust out the door. Forgive all the villains, they didn't know they could be someone else, brave and strong and good. Be gentle with the scared ones and patient with the silly.

Life will be a glorious adventure my friend.

If you speak it so.

 

Why Yoga???

35fba-img_1202 I love yoga. Like most people my experience with yoga began in a local hall on a few feet of recycled rubber. In recent times however, the practice of yoga has carried me off the mat and through to becoming...

Healthy.

Happy.

Whole.

There are of course benefits that are really obvious. I sleep better, I eat more intuitively, I  live more intuitively. I'm stronger, both mentally and physically, wonderful perks that come from regular asana practice.

All of which I was talking to a non yogi  friend of mine about the other day. Her response was to probe a little deeper. "Yeah that's great, but why yoga??"

Umm.....

It took me a little while to gather my thoughts on this very broad question, but here goes my top five reasons.

Yoga has taught me that I am not my labels...

I am not the daughter, sister, mother, artist, writer, partner, funny girl, emotional one, hormonal female, foodie, friend or hot chick. Ok, I may have made that last one up but you get the idea. For most of my life I have walked around believing I was all of this and more. Yoga has taught me that I am none of these things. I am in fact infinite and expansive, a divine manifestation of love in a transient body.

Yoga has taught me to honour my body....

Like many women, my relationship with this bag of bones has been fraught with negativity. I have never in my life treated any other human being as poorly as I have treated my own body. I've endured eating disorders, horrible harming behaviours, ridiculous diets and loathsome dialogue. Yoga has made me appreciate the extraordinary functionality of my greatest claim to humanity...the skin I am in. It's a miraculous, supportive and creative experience of being me. I no longer hate my sturdy thighs because I know they will carry me through warrior poses. I am less concerned with how my body looks and far more focused on how it works.

Yoga has taught me not to impose on others....

Not my children, or my partner. Not my beliefs or my bullshit. I'm so busy with the business of my own 5ft of evolution that I don't have the time to live other people's life for them. That doesn't mean that I'm self-absorbed and unavailable to be a parent, but I don't assume that I know how anyone else should live. Including my immediate family. I actually think my children have been sent to me to teach me a thing or two.

Yoga has taught me to breathe first and ______ later.

Fill in the blank any way you wish.

Yoga has taught me about love.

It has taught me the art of being present with another human being. About the destructive force of small thoughts in a powerful mind. It's taught me to pause when I face conflict and pause when I am at peace. Or laughing. Or doing my five year olds homework. Every day I make a decision to enter a state of loving, in this way I become a manifestation of Love and Light in the world.

Nameste

Michelle xx

 

 

Be here now

The pull of melancholy has often added some tension to my days. That strange trickster that takes your present joy and gives it the ache of all that might be lost.

It happened this morning and I saw it's wile machination, I saw it and I told it so quite squarely.

"I see you."

I was sitting with my children having breakfast when to my surprise they unexpectedly broke into Happy by Pharrell Williams. All three of them, laughing and singing into their cereal, dancing in their seats. I was overcome with a really good hearty serve of gratitude for this moment. I was crazy pre-coffee happy and then.... this odd insidious sadness-

One day this will end.

One day my children will be grown and they won't sing around my breakfast table. They will be old and I'll be even older and this life won't be the same ever again. The sadness seemed to just swallow my joy like a piece of toast, until I saw it.

I see you Melancholy. 

I tried really hard not fall into lament, to pull back from that feeling of loss. I took back my happiness and willed it to be bigger and stronger. I let it fill up the room and have it's crazy impromptu performance moment. I told myself to have a good hard look at what's in front of me. Noah, with his wild hair and imaginary drum kit. Charlotte giggling so hard, she sings like nobody's listening. Isaac with that face that changed my days.

Be here now.

It will all end, someday. But now, I am here, surrounded by this mad bunch of beautiful people. I am lucky, but the greatest gift I have is that see my good fortune. I have learnt to take the time to notice and I have learnt to spot any threat to it's continuation. I'm not about to let myself just imagine bad stuff.

Yes one day the wolf may arrive at my door, it might be tragic and sad. Life sometimes is. Until then I'm with Pharrell- I'm a room without a roof!

 

 

 

Michelle xx