Yoga off the mat

We’re very lucky to have the best job in the world, but even yoga teachers like their time away so, with that in mind, Debbie and I had extended birthday plans to go stay in a castle this weekend and turn our hand to sea kayaking and fishing.  But, as we know, the best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.  Debbie’s son ended up in hospital, which happens from time to time (he’s doing well); we are both mindful to these things happening and, Debbie as a carer and mother, me as a mum on my own, we both recognise that things can change in a heartbeat and are non attached to our plans.  Change happens inevitably and being ok with that means life flows on an even keel, rather than a choppy sea. It is this change though that gives us opportunity to practice yoga off the mat. 

Yoga Off The Mat by Debbie

We talk about going to yoga but actually yoga is a way of life.  When we first bring yoga into our lives, it usually involves attending a class, asanas (postures) and breathwork but as yoga subtly begins to get under your skin, you find yourself walking away from arguments, breathing through problems and generally feeling calmer in your life.  You realise it has become your way of life.

Yoga for me has been a life saver.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind I was heading towards a serious breakdown due to high levels of daily stress so “I went to yoga”.  Before long I noticed something had changed!  My situation remained the same but I had changed. I was no longer getting upset about things. I was able to accept things that I had no control over – the way I reacted to everything changed, I no longer worried over everything.  I therefore became calmer in my approach to all areas of my life.  As a carer this has become fundamental in me having a life outside being a caregiver.  One of the eight limbs of yoga is non-attachment, which when I first heard the word, it sounded awful.  I was a mum, I loved my boys and my family and friends, how on earth could I become unattached to all that.

Meanwhile my caregiving was all consuming, with me hoping things would turn out a certain way, expecting people to behave the way I thought they should and still struggling a bit when outcomes weren’t as expected, people did things differently to what I wanted, that’s when non- attachment kicked in! I finally understood, non-attachment meant losing expectations of what people did, what people said, how situations unfolded or ended. Realising sometimes we can step in and help with things but very often we have no such power so non-attachment meant letting things unfold naturally, not emotionally fighting against things that were going to happen anyway. I could still love my boys, my family and friends, that didn’t change but I could lose the illusion that I had any power over how things should be, how people should behave and what the outcomes were going to be, allowing me to just be in that moment, that hour or that day!  It was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders – Freedom!



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