Women’s Weekly Assistant Home Editor Emily Dawe’s yoga affection…
It’s January. It’s cold. It’s dull. The twinkly Christmas lights are now packed up in the attic – let’s face it, January is not the most exciting of months. Having over-indulged over Christmas – the only time where it seems perfectly normal to start the day with a fistful of Quality Street and some sort of sweet alcoholic tipple – thoughts turn to resolutions, how can I improve my life? How can I be healthier and happier?
Every magazine and newspaper you look at has the ultimate guide to loosing pounds quick, and yes, that’s all well and good, but how about finding something this year that will not just change your physical appearance but completely alter your way of thinking?
The phenomenon of Yoga, of course, is nothing new, it has been practised for centuries. But I think in our busy lives, running to and fro, dashing to the office, doing the weekly shop, picking up the kids etc etc we often don’t take time out for ourselves, to unwind, to relax, to breathe. It’s easy to say there’s no time for that, but even if you just sit for a few minutes in the morning, on your lunch break, on the train to work to just close your eyes, relax your shoulders and concentrate on simply taking long, slow inhales and exhales you’ll be surprised how this can help you deal with the stresses of everyday life.
And you don’t have to be a yoga master to attend classes either. It’s about losing your inhibitions – leave your ego at the door, listen to your body, who cares if the lady next to you is twisting herself into knots, yoga is all about YOU, and no one else. In time you’ll be surprised what your body is capable of doing after a little practice. Bending down to tie your shoelaces will be a doddle! It’s a wonderful way to switch off from the hustle and bustle of today’s busy lifestyles.
There are many types of yoga, so do your research before attending a class so you find a style that suits your needs. I was truly blessed when I met my wonderful yoga teacher, Erin Pritchard. She has exactly the same ethic and outlook on life as me – she is not only a fantastic teacher, but a friend too.
I attended my first yoga retreat a couple of years ago – a weekend at Croydon Hall in Somerset, arranged by Erin. The thought of a whole weekend with a bunch of yoga masters terrified me – but I needn’t have worried. It’s not all early mornings and strict detoxing. The place had a very calming feel to it; we practiced yoga and meditation twice a day, went for strolls round the grounds, used the spa, drank herbal teas and (surprisingly) ate like kings! We were served the most delicious vegetarian dishes, and huge portions too! I was expecting a lettuce leaf. I came away from that weekend feeling like a different person.
Me in the car on the way to my first yoga retreat
Erin doing a back bend
Since that weekend, I have not only gone back to Croydon Hall, but I did a whole week’s yoga retreat in Morocco. I can safely say it was the most liberating week of my life. Watching over the beach whilst practicing yoga was unbelievable, I even learnt to surf!
Erin massages everyone- it’s so relaxing!
Enjoying some delicious dips
Yoga is beautiful; it can be fun and playful, empowering, challenging and transformative in many ways. You can read as much text about Yoga as you like, but the only way to truly understand and experience how wonderful it is, is to try it!