Why I Started Yoga 🧘‍♀️

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Rewind 10 years ago if someone told me that they did yoga as an exercise regime I automatically assumed they had major issues, wanted to practice relaxation and breathing techniques, or were going through a hard time. I would always associate exercise with lots of sweating, high impact, full body training and yoga didn’t fit into that category.

About 18 months ago I hit a point in my life where I nearly lost my shit and the struggles of a husband working 2 jobs, almost single parenting a very demanding and literal 4 and 6 year old and trying to be a good mum too, and then on top of that trying to front up in my very busy corporate full time job, exercise, cook, clean, see friends, kids activities and birthday parties blah blah, all got the better of me. 

Whilst a number of things needed addressing at the time one thing I knew for certain was that I needed to find time to look after my self, quickly! 

My kids, husband, friends, family and work were all suffering because I was trying to be perfect at everything, and too damn proud to reach out for help, say no or tell anyone for fear of being viewed upon as a failure. I could not accept any washing in the dirty laundry basket, any un made beds, unwashed dishes, unread emails in my inbox and a quiet schedule on the weekends. 

But sadly because of this I was failing miserably at everything and starting to hate the person I was becoming especially that person in front of my kids. I was constantly yelling, under pressure, stressed and tired, in fact my whole family was yelling and tired, I wasn’t seeing any of my extended family or friends and seriously disillusioned that any of this could be fixed. 

People would often say to me they don’t know how I cope what I am doing, that I was amazing at what I did; I would just smile, put up that incredibly strong and resilient front, but I was actually crumbling inside. 

I then found yoga. Or a mentor of mine suggested I needed to do something to improve my perception of what’s important “right now” not “later” and she suggested yoga to set my priorities. I am sure I didn’t really understand what she meant, but I listened.  

She recommended that I see a beautiful lady Margaret who happened to practice at her home right around the corner from my work. Without really thinking I committed firstly to a few weekly sessions during my busy working day. One hour to myself, to only think about me seemed too good to be true. 

Over a year later I really haven’t missed a session unless I am away for work or Margaret is travelling or away herself. We practice for an hour, it’s high intensity at times too (I burn 300 calories in any one hour session 😂), we chat a lot, and then she finishes with shavasana session following the theme of the practice and then a card reading (my favourite).

I love yoga and it’s part of who I am now. It gives me clarity, balance and helps me prioritise what’s really important. I am calmer and more attentive especially with the kids, and I don’t care for the little things, I don’t care that the beds are unmade when I get home (lie, I still care about that🤪) and everything can wait. 

I try and be balanced in what I do and how I approach things as best as I can as at now or today, not tomorrow and not for anyone else. I sleep more and I rest more too. This is the constant struggle I think in everyone’s lives, things are busier and we all make them busier.  Don’t get me wrong things are very often hard and a major struggle but I am approaching things far differently now and somehow able to handle the challenges a lot more easily.

One thing I hope you get out of reading this is that if you don’t look after yourself, what ever it is- going for walks, movies, exercise, meditation, and find time for yourself regularly, make it part of your diary, you cannot possibly be 100% to those around you. It’s a bit like the airlines when they demonstrate the emergency proceedure before takeoff; help yourself before you help others.

Namaste 🙏 

Coming back to work from maternity leave

Having studied at uni for 9 long years straight that included an undergraduate  and then a masters, there was no way I was going to stop my career for anything let alone a baby!  I was far too important to stop, and at the time was not prepared to listen to anyone who was telling me otherwise.

At 32 when I fell pregnant with my first child not only did I hide the fact I was pregnant until I couldn’t any longer, but I told my boss I would be back at work within 6 months, due to fear I brought upon myself that I would fail at and stall my career if I took any more time off.

It wasn’t until I had my first baby James (June 2011) that I realised how disillusioned I really was, and what a gift it was to not only have a child but be able to care for them with 100% devotion at least the first year, and how work just stays the same and the only thing that really changes is you, and for the better.

So, I thought I would share a few things for those of you are worried about your work and your job, to reassure you, that if you are not allowed this time away, you are probably not working for the right organisation anyway, or its most likely in your “head” which is surely was for me.  I can assure you that whilst daunting there is light at the end of the tunnel, and not only will you have the time away that you deserve,  you will change as a person, for the better.

PS I did end up going back to work, not full-time, part-time after 6 months, as I suffered a little bit of FOMO, and I felt I was losing a lit bit of sense of my self.  Everyone’s different, the key thing is that the choice and decision is yours, no one else.

Here are a few things about me that changed.

  1. Whilst I was tired (very) at the beginning, I adjusted and learnt to work on empty and in fact I was more alert and “on” than ever.  I got shit done quicker, because I wanted to get home to my baby.
  2. I started sleeping a lot earlier, as soon as baby was down, I was pretty much down too, which made me a morning person and I started to get more done in the morning than at night.  That has continued, sort of!
  3. I say no to more things, or manage my time better – helps to set expectations.  As  a result of this, people / my boss etc actually give me more work to do, as they know I will get it done, but in a time frame that is achievable and manageable, by me.
  4. My patience and tolerance for late people, colleagues and clients, is a million miles higher, which makes me much nicer and more accepting to be around.
  5. I now take a very keen interest in my colleagues, staff and peers, their home life and kids, developing stronger personal relationships at work.
  6. I appreciate my job and the people I work with, including their differences, things I would usually hate etc.
  7. I am far more organised and structured at work and at home, keep a calendar for home (paper) and my diary through Outlook for work, without them both I am lost.

One thing I am still working on and continue to struggle with but am getting so much better, is when I am home, being at home, 100% on the kids, husband etc.  At the beginning I used to try send emails, take calls whilst being at home.  I have many war stories of locking the kids in the house (where I could still see them) so I could take a work call.  I even remember doing a radio interview once and I could see them both at the window bawling their eyes out 😦  This does not work for you, your work or your kids.  So, when I am at home, I must remember to be at home.