HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER
I know it's not a sexy sounding affair but trust me this love changed my life and is a relationship that's still going strong. I want you to read this blog knowing that you can have this kind of love in your life too!
I get asked the question 'when did you start yoga' a lot. My answer isn't exactly clear but when I fell in LOVE with yoga was when I met a pod. And if it weren't for Hotpod Yoga I don't think I would be here today writing about it.
WHAT I THOUGHT I WAS MEANT TO DO
I grew up on adrenaline sports. I was an avid snowboarder, I loved going waterskiing and tubing and had convinced myself that the only way to exercise was HIIT and other punishment style classes that left you feeling more abused than reinvigorated. I had been to a couple of yoga classes, some at studios and some at the gym. These classes were either way too slow and filled with women that were closer to my grandma's age than mine OR I walked into a studio filled with people who were all slim, wearing a specific kind of clothing I knew nothing about and moving in a way I knew nothing about. I felt very much like this 'yoga' was not for me and that it was a club I didn't belong to.
So off to the gym I went year after year. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes hardly at all. But what remained consistent was that I didn't REALLY want to go to the gym, really, ever. It wasn't because I didn't like moving, sweating and working out because I did...I just had not found a place where I felt comfortable and enjoyed it.
CRITICAL STRESS AND OVERWHELM
So time goes on and I am still in this relationship with the gym and exercise. It isn't making me happy but I don't know how to leave it. I'm also an English secondary school teacher, in Hackney, and moving up the promotion ladder. As I climbed the ladder my stress also ramped up. Harriet, my then girlfriend and I were getting into more and more arguments. I couldn't relax or let go of my work stress. I was binge eating and TOTALLY not looking after myself. I was arguing constantly and always angry. I honestly felt like there was no way out of this until I came across an intro offer at a local yoga studio. FALLING IN LOVE
It was love at first sight and love at first sweat. I had never experienced a yoga class or exercise class quite like it. I was greeted by Catherine Westin, who is hands down one of my favourite teachers. The pod was buzzing, people were chatting and I was welcomed in. I was HOOKED.
My intro offer ended and I took the next step, quickly for some but I went in, head over heels and bought a full membership. I broke up with the gym. I had no idea where this yoga journey was going to take me. But I kept going week after week, day after day, and I never stopped loving being in the pod. This was about to change my life.
My usual weekend wake-ups at 11am with a hangover slowly morphed into 8am bright eyed and ready for the 9am class. I would leave work and head straight to a class, sweat the stress of the day off of me and then go home to spend a lovely evening with my wife or friends. I was addicted. It was the best addiction I could have ever had.
Here is what I love about Hotpod Yoga:
The darkness: the dark of the pod and the gentle purple lighting help you to unwind and relax
The Pod: talk about being cut off from your day to day stress. This place transports you away from your worries as you drift further into you practice and let go of it all.
The Music: it is modern, it doesn't distract from your practice or your mind, it blends perfectly together. It enhances everything
The Teachers: friendly, warm, accessible and diverse
The Smell: I know you may not believe that a hot pod could smell nice but trust me it does and the blend of bergamot, lavender and orange is the perfect mix!
WHAT THIS RELATIONSHIP HAS GIVEN ME
The biggest shift for me was the slow reprogramming of my body shame. I had been taught to believe that being a 'bigger, curvy woman, with fat' was bad and I felt ashamed of the way I looked. This has always been heightened ESPECIALLY in an exercise class.
I can't tell you how important the moment was for me when I took my sweat soaked top off in a class and continued in my sports bra. There I was. In just a sports bra. In a fitness class. Without the 'ideal' body type AND I was COMPLETELY killing it. Eventually I started going into the pod with just a sports bra and didn't rush to cover myself back up after the class either. For anyone who has suffered with body shame you will know the fear of exposing skin. You will know the longing to be able to be comfortable in not only your clothes but also your own body. Suddenly this WAS me.
I felt happy and validated not for the reflection in the mirror (p.s. there aren't any mirrors in the pod) but for how my body moved. And it moved so much better than before. I was becoming stronger, fitter and could do things I never dreamed possible.
YOU CAN HAVE THIS TOO
That day, in the pod, on an intro offer I was set free of so many heavy narratives that I had been carrying around my whole life. I was set on a new journey. This journey was a love affair with the pod.
A love affair with yoga.
A love affair with my body.
A love affair with movement.
A love affair with everything I was capable of.
You can find exercise and movement that makes you this happy and empowered too! If any of this has resonated with you get in contact with me. You can come and join me for a class in the pod, join me for an online yoga class or join me in my ABUNDANCE course. Try different types of movement. Different teachers. Different styles. Don't give up! If you enjoy something stay with it!