And it’s not because it’s grey and boring, although I guess it can be.
It’s because it helps you build your tower.
Ever felt like you aren’t quite sure what the flock you are doing? Or where you are going or who you are trying to be? Maybe you have felt, or do feel a bit lost in the uncertainty of life (one end of the spectrum) or what to do today (the other end).
For me, this is where yoga comes in. But don’t let the name put you off if you assume it’s all about gymnastics, heavy breathing and sitting with your eyes closed. It does involve some of that stuff, for sure, but it’s so much more than that. It’s like cement.
Why is yoga like cement?
It’s because it’s your foundation. It helps you build yourself whilst keeping you connected to the ground. With a splash of creative thinking, you make it into what you need it to be. Because you need to work with it, and be open-minded to the opportunities it presents. Because it’s more versatile than you may ever understand. But it also weathers what you throw and it, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
Allow me to attempt to explain further.
Yoga has many elements, way beyond the physical. It’s much more than what you can take a photo of, or even put words to. You might already know this, you might be rolling your eyes and saying ‘whatever, it’s still not for me’. That’s OK. Some people describe it as magic but that kind of limits it to people who believe in magic. I think everyone can believe that cement exists though, which is why I’m using this metaphor.
A number of years ago I reached a point when I had to start over from scratch with pretty much everything in life. I started with the basics that would allow me to start to function again – working to pay my rent, buying food for energy, talking to people…This was me laying my foundations.
Once all that felt settled (if not fully solidified) I started to work really hard at exploring anything and everything I could find that would help build me up to a place where I could do more than function. I’m not discrediting the importance of functioning – it serves a purpose and I know it can be incredibly challenging, but it’s not very exciting long-term.
So, I found or re-found hobbies, worked on friendships, learnt what I could rely on to make me laugh, explored different types of exercise…I see all of these things as building blocks for my tower (or life), but individually or in isolation they aren’t enough to help me live as I wish to. I needed something reliable to keep everything together – I needed cement.
My cement is yoga.
I might replace bricks in my tower when one crumbles or is no longer appropriate, but the yoga cement can fill the gap temporarily or help bed in the replacement. There’s always more to learn about yoga. If there’s subsidence or anything that makes my tower wobble, I know I can pour more cement (cement = yoga – are you getting it?) into my foundations to help deal with it. I could happily keep this metaphor going forever – let me know what you would contribute!
It’s also why yoga will never be the only thing my tower (or my life) is made of. A big pile of cement is not so interesting . I’ll always have hobbies like cross-stitch, enjoy non-yoga based exercise, be obsessed with dogs and occasionally drink too much wine. But I’ll also always have yoga.
Building yoga foundations – your cement.
Here’s how to blend yoga for yourself to create the cement for your tower.
- physical movement
- breathing with awareness
- activities for your mind
- further study
- sense of humour
- Combine the ingredients to your desired consistency. NB: small amounts of each are fine and you don’t need equal quantities. Keep it simple.
- For best results, mix regularly. If this isn’t possible, take it one step at a time and start small e.g. 10 minutes once a week.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with the mixture. You don’t need to do the same thing every time!
- Try your creation and reflect. What worked? What would you do differently next time?
- Repeat steps 1-4.