How My Husband Has Responded To My Yoga Practice
While I have a whole bunch of posts planned on topics like developing a self-practice, learning to flow by yourself, finding time for yoga amidst a busy career, my yoga teacher training, and some specific poses I have been working on, I was stopped in my tracks the day after I launched this blog/website by a question on my Instagram from a friend (a London based wine expert if any of you are looking for one!). She asked me how my husband had responded to my practice, and whether he has taken up yoga.
Hmmm. How has my husband responded to my practice?! How have my friends and family responded to my practice?!
The one word answer is easy: positively!
But breaking that down in to something actually explanatory for you all is a little harder. Because then it gets all caught up with how this yoga journey has changed me as a person, and how the people that are most important to me have reacted to that.
I spoke in my very first couple of posts about I have absolutely zero background in sports of any kind, forget about something related to a high level of body awareness or strength or flexibility. So for them to witness me, for me to witness me, living a life where the use of my body takes a central role is pretty shocking! I come from a family where the use of the mind is at the forefront. Your ability to hold a conversation, to argue a point, to debate and to parry and to banter was what mattered.
My parents met at university and both completed further high level degrees when I was a teenager, both me and my siblings grew up assuming we would go to university (which we all did), and once I left I threw myself into a career which depended mostly on my ability to synthesize vast quantities of information and sell a view that came out of that. So this is all a surprising turn up for the books!
But with all of that came a huge amount of stress. Mostly self-inflicted as it was a product of constantly striving for control and perfection. And lets be honest, starting a high octane career and working through the drama that is your twenties is not an environment that comes with a lot of either of those things!
But my husband, and my family and friends, were always there to pick me up when I crumbled. To remind me that I could do it, that it would all be ok, that I was smart enough to be in the seat I was in, that I could compete with those around me. And I will forever be grateful for that limitless support. Because I needed it nearly every single day.
But then in my late twenties yoga came along.
And something began to change.
I was calmer. I was more able to deal with setbacks as they cropped up. I had fewer extreme emotional reactions to outside events. I relied less and less on outside events to set my happiness. I began to learn that you can choose your own emotional state; its not simply the sum total of all the things that are happening to you in any given moment.
[Side note: I will write another post about exactly why I think yoga has this kind of impact. Because from the outside it looks so so strange. How can moving your body in a particular way while on a piece of rubber have this kind of impact?! It makes no sense! And even once I started feeling that impact, it took me a long time to work out the why. But that is for another day...]
So back to my husband/friends/family... how did they respond to this new person? Well, they were pretty bloomin' chuffed! Because this kind of person is A LOT more fun to be around! Less drama, more tolerant, happier, calmer... not perfect by any stretch of the imagination lets be clear, but a lot more fun for sure.
And on top of that, the physical transformation has inspired them too. My wonderful mum has taken up yoga (in her sixties! Though I can't take full credit as my sister also practices and is through the first section of an 18 month yoga teacher training so she has both of her daughters knee deep in yoga land).
My darling husband has started attending a yoga class at his work, and has committed to letting me teach him as well, specifically so he can one day do a handstand, and be my acro-yoga partner (guess which one is his goal and which one is mine - ha!) . But more than that, this year he has taken what was an intermittent interest in cycling and dialed it up a notch, signing up for two 100+ mile plus sportive's this summer. Which means most weekends he is off and out laying down 50+ miles around south London, and that I no longer have to feel quite so guilty about my regular abandonment of him for a yoga class or my mat. And now I get to sit back and watch the transformation happen in someone else. And it's lovely.
So let me round up this post by saying that while I am obviously passionate about yoga, I don't think its the only path to health/fitness/wellness. It is what has worked extraordinarily well for me, is now the only type of exercise that I do, and has moved so far beyond just being exercise. But it has taught me that the key is to find something that love to do. If you find something that you want to do more days than you don't, real change will happen. Real, lasting change. And you will be extraordinarily grateful you took those first steps, and your family and friends will be too.