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Cheaper than therapy

Zen;WHEN?!

Today marks International Yoga Day and I am giddy with excitement because this evening, my gorgeous friend Clare and I will be hosting our first ever event together; A Summer Solstice Supper down at Church Farm, Wirral. The aim of the evening is to gather people together to welcome in a new season, set new intentions and let go of any regrets and things that you no longer need bogging you down or holding you back. We’ve got candles and affirmations and new bolsters and food and fizz basically; the works. We can not wait!  It has come about a bit by accident- as the best things often do; Clare is a brilliant yoga teacher and I am half way through my yoga foundation training which takes place at Clare’s studio, we are mum mates from the school run and it just sort of evolved.

summer solstice

But, what is the course like I hear you cry well- let me tell you; Since January, on the first Sunday of the month I head out first thing for a full on day of yoga- or so I thought! Far from it being a chilled out day of backbends and yoga nidra (code for a delicious slice of sleep!) it has challenged me way beyond anything I expected. Yes, the days do include the physical practise and the relaxation as well as tea and cake and chats and yes; I have learnt more about the postures and poses, about the muscles we use and the benefits of the stretches but, in many ways that has been coincidental in comparison to the deeper learning and, fundamental ‘meaning’ of yoga- from my learning anyway…A part of the course involves keeping a journal- I am not 100% sure that this is what my gorgeous yoga teacher had in mind but- yoga calls for you to be your authentic self so, I’ve embraced that;  for me, at the half way point, these are my take aways.

The pose is not the point

Yoga is not about the perfect pose, about nailing the headstand or managing to hold boat for any period without capsizing! It is about being kind and gentle to yourself and others. It is about trying and not worrying about the outcome. It is about listening to your heart and to your body- doing things that feel right for you in that moment, not being driven by your ego because the person in front of you has her knees behind her head! It is doing things without expectation or hope of reward, which, to my mind, is just basic humanity and at should be the foundation of any religion or belief system or lifestyle choice. Don’t do 50 hail Marys every morning and then ignore the lonely mum in the playground. Don’t perfect your downward dog but park in the disabled bays at Tesco. In short;

dont-be-a-twat-off-the-mat.-1.png

 

It’s about the journey, not the final destination

Generally speaking, in the West, we have a penchant for instant gratification. Credit cards and fast forwarding adverts and Deliveroo and Amazon and 24 supermarkets mean we want everything NOW and, I think that yoga can be viewed in that way also. Simplified, dumbed down, reduced to an exercise class- something that will get you slim and tone you up so you are “beach ready” and “fit for summer”. Hot yoga…so your muscles warm up faster so you can stretch further so… Not really the point (in my humble opinion and, baring in mind that I am only just dipping my toe into my yoga education) clearly I have a loooong way to go with the whole letting go element! Yes; yoga can give you an amazing body but- what it should do is remind you that you already HAVE an amazing body. YOU’RE ALREADY THERE. You might get stronger, you might become more toned, you might become more flexible but hopefully along the way, those things will become less significant to you and the more important aspect will be how you listen to your inner voice, how you accept yourself as you are and how you quieten down your inner critic.

you are a child of the universe

 

We are all teachers; we are all students. 

There are 12 of us on my course, each of us different. We have all arrived here from different starting points, are looking to take different things from the sessions (which for me is a really evolving) and, as such we are all seeing things in our own ways. This is one of the elements that I am enjoying the most- getting to know new people and see things from another point of view (plus; there are some excellent bakers in the gang!) Signing up for something new, stepping out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to learning again is as exciting as it is scary but it is always worth the risk. The course is helping understand myself better and be more accepting of other peoples views and ideas.

Share the journey

I am loving yoga with my girls and, given the massive mess that we are in as a planet, anything that we can do to teach a bit of mindfulness, compassion and ways to understand ourselves is really valuable. Depending on you and your child and your mood and the weather and basically LIFE- the sessions might be magical, they might feel a little like herding cats. Honestly; sometimes this has been utter bliss and sometimes it has left me feeling fraught because they are not where I want them to be in terms of their patience or concentration or their mood again…not very yogic…there’s the journey analogy again! I am learning to go with the flow and to be more understanding of where they are at and some tools have been really helpful with this;

Mindful Kids cards from Barefoot Books are great for giving you options so you can work with the emotions in front of you.

Cosmic Kids on YouTube is a winner with loads of sessions which you can select based on what you need to get out of it in that moment.

There are also more and more yoga sessions for children and families setting up across the country. Schools are beginning to include it in their days or offer it as before or after school sessions so…we are moving in the right direction but, doing it as a unit, when it works is just pure joy and, the more you practise…the more you all know how to relate to it and each other. WINNER!

Bethan 2

 

Do what you can when you can. That is enough.
This is as true of life as it is of yoga but bloody hell it is tough to remember that isn’t it. Slowing down, taking a break, saying no, we don’t do it enough. Hold your space, let others hold theirs and don’t feel bad about it. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty about the stuff that you can’t and…when you’ve mastered this come back and tell me how!

 

Speaking Sanskrit is hard

Nothing to add here; it just is!!!

 

Yoga is just one piece of the puzzle; 

I am not yet the person to wax lyrical on the 8 limbs of yoga, the mantras, the chakras and the deep teachings of the gurus- there is just so much to take in and digest. The history of yoga is MASSIVE and it absolutely blows my mind. The understanding that people had of the mind, body and soul connection all those thousands of years ago totally and utterly BLOWS MY MIND. I can not believe that so many of the human race managed to get so far away from the original teachings and mess things up so badly for their health and that of the planet in their striving for more more more but, I guess that is human nature, we have to try things hey?! As always for me, it is the reflection, the opportunity to digest stuff and write down my take on things that gives me real peace and, as I continue to develop my own toolkit for selfcare I am allowing myself more time to do the stuff that fills my jug and makes my heart happy which, as it turns out is exactly what we’re all meant to be doing.

Let me leave you with this- a truly beautiful quote which gives us all permission to be that little bit more epic than we might otherwise have dared. I love it.

 

our deepest fear

 

Happy Summer Solstice all.
Wishing you love, light and a little bit of fizz!
Namaste!

Tanya

XxxX

 

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Why are women so weird?

This evening I have been running.
By running, I clearly mean breathing out of my arse and sweating like a pig whilst dragging myself after Mr L who offers words of encouragement whilst I swear under my breath and ask myself why I am doing it!
It is the same almost every time. Sometimes I get the legendary runners high but, I’ll be honest, it’s not a given.
When I got home I was so red and out of breath I couldn’t talk but, now I’ve inhaled a pizza and three chocolate digestives I’m almost feeling human again.

So, as I delicately nibbled at the biscuits, I was leafing through Facebook and saw one of my friends was talking about the good old self-worth/body image fat/fit/thin debate and I thought you are SO right. What the fuck IS this?

Why is it that beautiful, intelligent, funny, articulate, sexy, interesting, sassy women equate their size and their body shape with the way that they feel. It is weird. AND it is sad.

I posted here about how I want my children to feel about themselves and their bodies, it certainly isn’t the way I feel about mine at the moment.

I thought back to yoga on Monday night. It was quite literally the hardest thing I have ever done. Ever. Including labour and after one of them I had a 3 pint blood transfusion.
Because it was hot yoga (If you haven’t been, go. It is awesome but I realise that the previous sentence may make you doubt my sincerity!) I wore a crop top and, as I was flailing about like an upside down tortoise I caught sight of myself and the teacher in the mirror and I was genuinely really upset at what I saw.
How shallow is that?
Instead of thinking;

  • YEY me. You totally held that pose for around 4 seconds this week.
  • YEY me. You could be sitting at home right now.
  • YEY me. You are getting stronger every week.

I was thinking why the fuck don’t I look like her??

Well, let’s think shall we,

  • This is her job.
  • This her life style and she is hugely passionate and committed.
  • She almost definitely does not eat pizza and chocolate for dinner.
  • (And two mars bars as a little lunch time treat)
  • She hasn’t had 2 children in quick succession and as a result is unlikely to have had a second arse hole ripped for her preventing any meaningful exercise for some time.

I think there is a genuine need for women to rewire their brains. To think of all the things that their bodies DO do.
To think of themselves as more than the shell that they reside in. Basically we need to become Sikh- check this out- it’s an oldie but a goodie;

Sikh Woman Teaches Reddit A Lesson in Tolerance

A Sikh woman’s classy, thoughtful response to a mean-spirited photo of her posted on Reddit has not only warmed the hearts of people around the globe, it has even forced the man who posted the photo to look at his actions and repent.
The original photo posted of Kaur, with the caption “I’m not quite sure what to conclude from this”

sikh womans idea of body image

Kaur’s response:

Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn’t know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled 🙂 However, I’m not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. 🙂 So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. 🙂 I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.

That story was published on Mashable in 2012 but it will be incredible forever.
I wish I had a bit of that ladies acceptance. It is incredible. She must have so much space in her brain for important stuff since she filtered out all the rubbish about wrinkles, saggy tummies and cellulite. No bloody wonder she’s got the headspace for a neuroscience and psychology degree!

So, I will carry on running.
And I will carry on avoiding the magazines that remind us every week that we’re not quite up to scratch.
And I will continue to go to yoga.
And I’ll always accept a biscuit or two… Because I actually AM more than the way I look and so are you.

Night.

XxxX

positive body image,

 

 

I am linking up this particularly angry, sweary post with Brilliant Blog Post by Vicky…I hope she doesn’t mind!! You can check out some other BBP’s by clicking the link below.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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