“Forget about getting your feet behind your head. Just try lying still for ten minutes. With nothing left to do, you’re finally forced to come face to face with yourself.” Edward Vilga – Downward Dog

 

Five years ago my husband David died after a long and difficult illness. My two children (17 and 13) and I were left with intense sadness.

Six months on and friends were suggesting yoga. I don’t do yoga. I play racketball and enjoy walking, but yoga? Bit too touchy feely for me – too much sitting around breathing for me….but…. I trusted my friends and know that they wanted the best for me, so reluctantly I went along to Yoga Kula and met Angela.

I really hated the first class. Too much silence. Too nurturing – I needed to just keep going, to be there for the kids, get back to work. I didn’t need this space for me. Angela said, “just come back….just get on the mat….I think you need this”. So I trusted her. And I started to cry in the class. I cried at the start of the class in meditation. I cried at the end of the class in Savasana. I always went to the back corner of the studio so I could be a bit private and noticed that on a couple of occasions when I turned up late, that Angela had quietly put a mat out for me in my “safe space”. I felt uncomfortable being so exposed and resented Angela for reiterating that she felt I needed to be there. But I also noticed the tissue pressed into my hand when nobody was looking and the words she used repeatedly when teaching “remember to breathe….. do what is available to you;”

Gradually, the tears subsided. I found that in my everyday life I was more able to tolerate being on my own, my concentration improved and I enjoyed being sociable again. I was able to give more time and space to the kids and tolerate their sadness. I felt more in touch with my emotions – each class, forming an intention for the practice, I increasingly was able to notice it rising up rather than come from a “should” place. Physically, I felt stronger and more supple. A year after David died, I resumed my counselling practice.

So how had yoga helped? The safe, non-judgmental, non-competitive, non-verbal environment created by so many of the skilled teachers at Yoga Kula allowed me space to grieve. It was safe to open up.

So now I’m 57 and go regularly to hatha and vinyasa flow and have been to one of the wonderful retreats in the Lake District. I still play racketball and love walking, but if I don’t go to yoga I really miss it – it’s definitely an important part of my life now and I’m so grateful to Angela for creating a wonderful yoga space.