In life, seldom do we pay enough attention to our health.
Most work a lifetime to prosper professionally, at the expense of their physical or mental health sacrificing relationships for wealth.
After more than 15 years working for the rich, royal and famous celebrity clients I have encountered the opposite end of society often out of the realms of most people's reality. My observations are many and without naming names I saw few truly happy wealthy clients.
My yoga journey started here as a result of one of them...
Often we would share ideas and philosophies on life, love, learning, growth, spirituality and what wealth really means.
Wealth, without health means nothing was the conclusion of six months together.
Then, like a cloud in the sky on a windy day, he disappeared and we will most likely never meet again.
But, he got me thinking...
I have worked hard for more than 20 years in my industry. Dedicating my life to my art, my clients, my trade.
That hard work was recognised by many clients and as a result of that many opportunities have come my way.
Have those opportunities been worthwhile?
I think they have. For a multitude of reasons.
Mostly because they have all led me by an interconnected web to where I am today.
Yoga has been the outlet for me to dedicate some time in my calendar for just me. My practice. Albeit in a great group of people, wherever I have been, I enjoy this time I can dedicate to my own health. Both Physical and psychological...
A chance encounter via an Instagram post brought me to the Hot Pod Yoga studio in Glasgow city centre.
I've dabbled with yoga over the last 7 years since before I moved to France. I was 4 Sundays in to a regular class in the East end of my home city then I upped sticks and moved away. A great series of opportunities for me, but more importantly a reinforcement that I need more time for me. I feel lucky to have learned these lessons now. Not a heart attack, or a stroke or some sort of stress borne illness. A lightbulb moment that I need to take care of myself better. I owe it to myself. I am worth this investment. It comes at a pivotal time in my life where I have began a new chapter of my life with Vanillaism which I hope will be an outlet for me long into my retirement. The opportunities Vanillaism has extended to me have given me some of the happiest people, working equally as hard as me, who need my help to learn and live in the equal and opposite way that I require. They need my help to acquire a little more material wealth to grow, whilst I need the chance to grow spiritually.
In October 2018 I travelled to Bali on my most recent expedition, and spent a week at Radiantly Alive in Ubud...
I can't say that I felt Alive on arrival. I was tired and jetlagged, but I was ready to open my head, heart and soul to this new world.
What I found, was a myriad of yoga studios, opportunities and some truly wonderful people.
I tend to find good yoga people have a zen calmness about them which resonates when you are in search of a similar mindset.
I found so many of them in Ubud, I had to stop counting them. Even finding them in students attending the classes. I had expected it to only come from the teachers. I was pleasantly surprised.
I found some wonderful teachers, who were just so on the same yoga wavelength despite 10, 20 or 30 years of yoga practice... I was in awe of how long these people had managed to dedicate to their practice and subsequently helping others as well.
I quite literally could not believe these yogis could speak my very beginner language yet lead a class of 50 strangers through a class we could all manage. Relatively well.
I always like when I'm not the newest (read worst) member of the class. I can't lie. I like being better than others and live for the day I am the best. My suggestion is that is a long way off. But isn't it a wonderful goal to have for your life??
I nearly signed up at the Yoga barn.
It's a big, trendy yoga barn, weirdly, that gets rave reviews but I decided to check it out.
I went for lunch.
It was massively disappointing.
I felt like a number.
So I didn't sign up.
Back to square one, I asked a local contact.
Bram, a most wonderful local (now friend for life) recommended Radiantly Alive near where he lived.
I wandered past twice, unable to locate it.
When I opened my eyes I saw the studio.
I made enquiries.
I liked the vibe.
It had good energy surrounding the space.
Staff were friendly, Like all Balinese people.
But I felt welcome, whilst reassured and as if my business was appreciated... so I jumped in for a week of unlimited yoga!
A week that changed my yoga life.
7 days, 5 teachers, 3 class types, many new experiences, lots of new friends and a few new yoga poses I never thought I would master...
My week in Ubud was brilliant, but I had to return back to my Vanillaism quest.
The most important thing about yoga, is that the practice is yours alone. Whilst many compare themselves to the others in the class, the best metric is being honest with yourself and gauging whether or not you have been able to step forward or gain anything against your previous practices. That is tough to get your head around. But it is a skill I have grown to enjoy. I like a challenge. But I haven't ever had to compete in a competition against myself. Now, my competitive nature is telling me to run flat out to achieve first place. But I have been doing 10+ hours of yoga per week for a few months now and I can't do any more work to get better. Therefore I have to change my mindset and take a longer term plan of action at this... And I had a small breakthrough moment when I returned back to the Hot Pod after my trip to Bali. My first full bridge pose. I had been working on it for months. It was short, but definite. I literally had that "i'm doing it! I'm doing it!" moment before crashing down awkwardly on my neck and back in a crumpled heap. I haven't had such a smile on my face like that in a long time.
Small victories in life are a little bit like small steps all join together to make larger ones...
I love my Small steps now.
I used to love running long distances.
It was a stress relief.
I now know that walking burns almost the same calories and that running just means you travel further from the starting point of your journey so you have to return a greater distance every time. Using more energy for the same outcome seems silly..
I like to make many small steps now.
I move slower.
I'm getting older.
I'm also wiser.
I'm thankful for my yoga journey so far.
What are you thankful for fellow yogi??