While I am hopping around the Mediterranean I have a few guest posts lined up for you. Today's blog post comes from Helen who reminds us that sometimes we need to slow down and remind ourselves of what really matters in life. - Jayne xo
When I was 40 I wrote a list of goals that I still wanted to achieve. Doing yoga was not one of them, I didn’t even know what yoga was. The goals were big and hairy like ‘quit my job for one that I love’, ‘mortgage free by 45’ and ‘stop working so hard’. I had no idea how to achieve them but that didn’t matter, my Doctor told me to write some life goals that felt important and so I did.
My Doctor was running a four week pain management programme for chronic pain, pain that cannot be treated medically. It was a last attempt to manage my neck and shoulder pain caused by years of over working, burning out and stress. This is often the hamster wheel of modern life, of being ‘on’ 24/7; using the laptop late at night, too much driving, too many plane trips, too many different pillows, beds and generally not taking care of my body. Enough was enough. Help came in the form of Virgin Media – a job I loved and the space to take care of my body a little bit better. In 2009 I discovered yoga but only sporadically as my schedule was still a little crazy but the journey had begin.
Those big, bad ass goals I made in 2009 were fully realised in August 2016, aged 46. After the death of a close friend and three of our parents, Barry (my husband) and I took the life changing decision to move to Devon to run a holiday cottage business. Finally taking the time to find space and slow down.
In November 2016 I found the time to really committed to a regular yoga practice, it took the form of three classes a week at the local leisure centre. Two fitness yoga sessions and one Thai yoga session really kick started my love of yoga. When I started I couldn’t touch my toes, I had zero balance and my shoulders were up around my ears. Eight months later I continue with these classes but also I have also added in an additional class with just six other people in a yoga hut. This session is more hands on and the teacher focuses on alignment and has a more personal approach which I find I benefit from. I also love to attend yoga retreats out of the main holiday cottage season - Jayne’s Spring Yoga Retreat in Devon was awesome!
My hours spent doing yoga are the time when my mind is free of the little voice in my head. It’s so busy in my brain – I have never found anything to shut it up before! Gradually my muscles and joints are loosening however I know it’s going to take years to reverse the trauma I have put my body and mind through. It was only a month ago that something really clicked in my brain – that I can’t force my body to relax into the poses. I have to let my body go with it the flow and not force the pose.
Thai yoga has completely cured my husband’s sciatic pain – no doctor has managed to do that! Personally I’ve realised that I don’t breathe using my belly; it’s all in my chest - that’s definitely one to focus on going forward. I’d also like to be able to practice on my own at home but I don’t have that confidence yet; I’m not sure what’s stopping me?
I know it’s early days in my yoga journey but it’s helping me to discover new things about my body, mind and how I want to live the rest of my life. I do still have goals; I want to get my head on my knees in a forward fold by Christmas...
Bio: Helen Follett is the Chief Holidaymaker at The Folletts at Beer, three holiday cottages in Beer, Devon with stunning sea views. She loves yoga and Nordic walking; she’s recently started to walk all 630 miles of the South West Coast Path in stages. Her love of coffee knows no bound and it is her mission to travel endlessly each winter once the holiday season is over!