Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes. No.
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
Donkey: Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs.
Shrek: No. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
Donkey: Oh, you both have layers. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions.
Just a heads up. If you didn’t know yoga is a lifestyle. So when I mention it throughout the blog I’m not just talking about the physical practice. It would be great if moving around and breathing deep was enough to create insight and awakening.
Sadly I have way too many layers and need more than the physical practice to peel my onion.
It’s ok to be a Bad Yogi
Sometimes I have students come because they think I have all the answers.
Because I do yoga and practice the philosophy I must be some sort of enlightened Buddha-chick, have a perfect relationship with my body and thoughts purer than untrodden snow or no thoughts at all.
Well, I don’t – yellow snow my friend, yellow snow!
When I first started working in the wellness industry 13 years ago as a Holistic Therapist I acted as if I had my shit together. Not out of trying to be deceitful but more out of fear and not having the strength to look deep within.
I just wanted to help people and make them feel better, which funnily enough was a way to bypass looking in the mirror at myself.
It didn’t take me long to realise that putting myself on a pedestal wasn’t helping anyone especially myself.
I didn’t live up to my own expectations.
I even tried to cover my arms so no one could see I had tattoos. I seriously thought people would judge me for my ink. Can you imagine how hard it was to do full-body massages all day in a hot room fully camouflaged and layered up from head to toe? It was a killer.
This actually made me very ill. I was trying to achieve something beyond the lessons life was teaching me which caused a great deal of stress and anxiety as well as about a 3 stone weight gain.
I was trying to be perfect – whatever that means.
Once I woke up from this ridiculous delusion, whipped my tats out, showed my true colours I began to feel more like myself. It was very liberating so much so I started to act like myself and not some airy, fairy perfect spiritual being and guess what? people still wanted me to see me. Why? because I showed myself fully and they could see themselves in me.
Learning to be me warts and all, and not changing myself to blend in with society and others expectations, has been my biggest learning through therapy work, mindfulness, meditation and yoga both as a partitioner and a teacher.
Am I a Bad Yogi? Well no. Simply because I’m on the path and peeling away those layers!
As much as my ego kicks off when these words flow from my fingers onto this page, I can hand on heart tell you that I am still a human being. I fear many things and I’m nowhere near purity of the mind and body.
I reckon that will take at least 2 more lifetimes.
In my next life, things will be different. I will keep my bloody legs shut for a start. If I knew what came with having children I wouldn’t have bothered.
All joking aside. I want to share with you 4 things that I hoped would change but haven’t that much.
It’s often an inner battle to get myself on the mat
“Be where you are, not where you think you should be.”unknown
Unless I roll out of bed onto my yoga mat I can pretty much guarantee my thinking mind will try and come up with every excuse not to practice.
Kids, bad nights sleep, dogs, washing, cleaning, cooking, work, hangover (yup), bad day, bad hair day, bad mood, start again on Monday. You name it, the mind goes there.
Do I let it get in the way? Yes, sometimes I do. I have to write my practice sessions in my diary and treat it like a doctors appointment or it really ain’t gonna happen.
Do I feel better once I have practised? Unless I have some serious PMT going on then 100% yes.
I still worry about my weight
Body acceptance is a big part of yoga, loving ourselves fully is so important but this is the one thing I find really hard.
It’s like there are two little voices in my thinking mind. One completely accepts that I love food, a tipple or three (hic) and tells me all the time that I look amazing just as I am.
The second one is constantly telling me that I need to lose weight, work out more, eat kale salads (yuk)and only drink pure spring water bottled by nuns and monks. She says “look at the bendy Wendy yoga models on Instagram Lynz, you need to sort yourself out mate”.
The fact of the matter is I LOVE food, I LOVE drinks, not as many now – hangovers in my 40’s are something else. I have been brought up on pie and mash, fish and chips and massive Sunday dinners and I LOVE sharing cake with my friends and family.
I’m just not willing to give that up.
I’m not overweight per se. I have been a lot bigger, but you try telling that to the evil witch that lives in my head.
So as much as I can I listen to voice number one and have compassion for the witch.
If I can get through a day being a nice human being then it really doesn’t matter that I’m secretly eyeing up your cake while I’m eating mine!
I am not all love and light
Love thy neighbour
I suppose this is a double edge sword that has given me the most life lessons.
While I’d love to love all beings and see the good in everyone I don’t.
I did try, but now I don’t!
In the past when I was desperately trying to be all spiritual and stuff I’d have a go at loving everyone. I found people really began to take advantage of this. Maybe not consciously but they did.
I have been in a very abusive relationship and I’ve let people have walk all over me. At the time I was like “oh well the universe is telling me that it’s a lesson I have to learn”.I would carry on with toxic relationships and friendships because I thought that’s what I had to do to grow.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not innocent. I’ve done plenty of things to upset other people in the past, things I deeply regret.
I have two practices that help me with past relationships gone bad
1) Forgive me – If something I did in the past starts to bother me I simply ask myself “Lynz, would you do that now?” The answer is normally a “nope, nada, no way” and this seems to pacify my inner critic (the witch).
2) Forgive them. It’s to help me move on. Just because I forgive people from my past sure as hell don’t mean I’m gonna sit and have tea and cake with them. If I had to they would have the smaller slice and I would lick it before it got to the table.
I now try and follow my dog’s philosophy. If they don’t like another dog they turn their noses up and walk away or give them a good old fashioned bark to warn them to back off.
It’s ok not to like everyone.
I still need help sometimes
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”African proverb
I’m a big believer that we can heal ourselves and that we don’t need others to do it. I ditched my career as a Holistic Therapist because I found that too many people expected me to fix/heal them. I’m talking generally here.
I love yoga because it gives people space to work through things on their own at their own pace (myself included).
I see myself more a facilitator of space.
You deal with your stuff on your mat and I will deal with mine on my mat. Let’s do it together but not for each other.
Saying that I know that we all need a little help from a friend sometimes. When I’m struggling I’m so deep in my suffering that I need someone to show me the woods, as I keep knocking myself out running into trees.
It’s taken me a long time to let down enough walls to ask for help. There’s a little voice in my thinking mind that doesn’t trust people, it’s probably the same witch that tell me I’m fat.
I’ve come to realise this being human is a very challenging journey and as a pack animal, I can’t deal with everything on my own.
I could have hidden behind a ‘how to blog’, it would have been easier but that would mean me putting my camouflage on again.
I really feel that yoga and all it brings is changing me for the better and I really want to practice without feeling they need to be perfect and have a perfect life.
I certainly have a big bag full of tools to cope with the slings and arrows of daily life and can recognise my own self-sabotaging actions. Doing something about it is the challenge.
I hope to look back at this blog in a couple of years time to see how much I have changed but then that’s having high expectations, isn’t it?
I tell my community that I’m in it with them. I might have the qualifications but am very much working on wisdom.
I am human and yoga hasn’t made everything perfect.
But do you know what? I’m ok with that!
If I wrote a blog full of the benefits the practise has brought me and what has changed we’d here forever. You will just have to try it for yourself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts? Drop me a comment below and lets have a natter….