Judging by the demographic of my students and (presumably) readers . . . I’m sure I’m not in a minority when it comes to suffering from the monthly curse of pain, fatigue and irritability associated with our natural cycle. Since my mid twenties I’ve dreaded the approach of that time of the month, but over the years I've learned to listen to and honour my body and it’s natural rhythms . . .
As many of my friends and students are aware I have become a passionate advocate for Mindfulness Meditation over the past few years. Meditation is no longer perceived as New Age mumbo jumbo or a gift for those with the luxury of time to retreat to an Ashram or Himalayan cave for several weeks, months or years. High profile celebrities, artists and business leaders alike are attributing their success and happiness to a regular Mindfulness Meditation practice. And my own journey from stressed, disillusioned corporate executive to happy, motivated yoga teacher and business owner has been largely a result of the same.
The reality is that every lifetime inevitably involves degrees of suffering, and it is the tools that we possess to help us deal with that suffering, and our response to suffering that ultimately define how happy or fulfilled we are. My greatest challenge was to come in my late thirties and early forties, when it became increasingly apparent my natural assumption that I would one day become a mother was not going to be realised. After laparoscopic surgery to remove Stage IV endometriosis from my bowel, bladder, ovaries, liver and diaphragm, my gynaecologist asked my why I was postponing having a baby. Immediately after the surgery (and before my fertility rate started diving like a gannet) was most likely my best opportunity of ever getting pregnant. There was only one hurdle . . . I was single. And had been for several years.
When was the last time you did absolutely nothing? I don’t mean zoning out in front of the TV, or even reading a book by the pool or on the beach, but absolutely nothing. When was the last time you sat in stillness and simply experienced being, without the distraction of tasks, television or a tablet . . ?
As many of you will know, the physical practice of yoga – the poses or ‘asanas’ that most people are familiar with – is only one of eight limbs of yoga. Like many Western yogis I was initially attracted to the physical benefits of yoga. Who didn’t want a body like Madonna or Geri Halliwell in the late nineties? But I soon discovered the many ancillary benefits of the practice – generally feeling calmer, more centered and less stressed on a daily basis – and unlike step aerobics or my G-string leotard, yoga in its many forms has remained with me for nearly 20 years . . .
So, for several months I’ve been contemplating whether or not I should start a blog. Aside from the mixed advice about the importance of having a blog to improve the search engine ranking of my website, I seriously questioned what I could possibly write about on a regular basis that would be of any interest to anyone other than my Mum (who isn’t even online). There are numerous more talented and experienced yoga teachers, more professional and prolific writers and more wise, witty and insightful philosophers out there in the blogosphere. What could I possibly bring to the table that isn’t already served up imaginatively conceived, perfectly cooked and delicately plated for my potential readers to devour . . ?