What does warrior mean to you? It’s such a famous yoga pose, its one of the asanas we see long before we know or experience what yoga actually is, incredibly iconic. And oh my goodness is it underrated. The amount of things you have to think of and do while you’re holding it (and the arm ache!!!) it’s been a pose I’ve struggled with since the beginning. It’s getting easier but it’s still hard.
I listened to a podcast by This Is Womanhood this week; it was the first podcast I’ve ever listened to from start to finish. I don’t know why I’ve never been into them before? I normally flick between radio stations or listen to a same old playlist on my half hour drive to yoga in the morning and the radio host’s daft stories, adverts and songs that are overplayed all irritate me. I end up flicking angrily and genuinely at least once a week (normally on the way home to work from yoga when the traffic is worse) I end up just turning it off and driving in silence.
Listening to an inspiring and positivity focused podcast for this drive was a much more practical thing to do, I got to Yoga feeling amazing, much better than that drive normally makes me feel. And during my practice as I held warrior pose I had this moment, it just struck me about how much meaning this pose has. And then I finished the podcast on my way to work and they talked about inner health as well as mental health, self healing and self care and it connected so much with the moment and feeling that had come to me during my practice that I felt compelled to share it.
I’m currently on a beginner’s 2 weeks version of the morning yoga course that I do, and this week has been amazing. It’s the end of week one and I’ve been journaling all week about how much I’ve enjoyed breaking it down and taking a step back to the basics. The sequence we do is very intense and I truly love it, but this means I’m often tired during it, this week because this course is slower and more stripped back, I’ve not been too tired and so I’ve been fully engaged during every moment and it’s meant I’ve really acknowledged by body in the postures.
Warrior has always been hard for me, I’ve spoken before about my tight shoulders and hips holding me back in my physical practice and that’s more apparent that ever in the warrior sequence. But I’ve been able to focus and engage and really listen to the queues my teacher has been giving. I’ve felt myself move deeper physically and found myself thinking, oh my god, I have come SO FAR.
And here’s where the moment hit me. Yes, I’ve come incredibly far in my physical practice, you can see that from my photos, I can see it in my body shape and tone, I can feel it in my stamina and strength and I love it, I love every single bit of it and how it inspires me to carry out, explore further, push myself physically and reap the benefits in day to day life when my posture is better, I sleep better etc. etc.
But how is my inner warrior? Is she ok? Have I been looking after her? Truthfully, she’s been a long way behind the physical. Well into my yoga journey I was still eating fast food more than once a week, binging, overly drinking every single weekend out of habit and eating heavily processed ‘treats’ like giant bars of Cadburys several times a week. I’m a worrier, an over thinker and an easily stressed person. I’ve moved jobs a few times this last year which has been unsettling, this has impacted my mental health which impacts what I eat, which impacts my mental health, which impacts what I eat, which impacts my mental health…(and no, that’s not a typo).
I’ve made a conscious decision to cut that back recently and can proudly say I have been 10 times better in what goes into my body during 2019 than I ever have before. I can feel the benefits, energy level wise, my skin is getting clearer, I feel happier, I don’t berate myself for the poor diet choices like I was doing before so I’m overall more positive. BUT, I’m still unkind to myself; my inner warrior is getting bullied by herself.
I listened to Chessie King and Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast the next morning and it really resonated. Chessie talks about how her mind bullied her body, it told her she was fat, too tall, had a big nose etc. and it made her go the gym twice a day. It made her miserable. And while I’ve been feeling better than before, I’ve still been bullying myself. I’ll look in the mirror and find 10 things I don’t like, compare myself to people on social media both that I do and don’t know. I’ll avoid certain outfits, have days where I sit in front of my wardrobe and cry and yet I’m being consistently told how good I look, how you can see that yoga is helping and I honestly can admit to myself and yourselves that I know this is true. I’m stronger and more physically capable than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m not too fat, I’m just a normal shaped woman. I have rolls when I sit down, but don’t we all?
So now I’m making a decision to choose to be happy. I don’t want to bully myself anymore, I want my inner and my outer warriors to connect and become so powerful with each other’s support that I can’t even dream of the strengths right now. I’m changing my life in so many ways and this is my next challenge. How can I pursue a career as a yoga teacher, which I want to do to inspire and support people on their journeys just like I have had from my teachers, but how can I do that if I’m not being honest? Honest with myself and with the people I’m connecting with.
So this is my declaration to myself. I will love you Megs, I will fuel you with good food, I’ll forgive for the times that you slip up, I will exercise you and I will embrace all your lumps and bumps, I will thank you for making everything I do every day possible. Without you, I wouldn’t be, and I promise to support everything about you better than I ever have before.
It’s not going to be easy, and as Chessie says, it’s a long long journey. But I can only imagine it is the most fulfilling journey I will ever take.
I’m going to finish with a saying a teacher once said to me, I may have written about this before I cant be sure but if I have it just reiterates how much the saying impacted. When you look in the mirror or at a photo of yourself and go to have a negative thought, stop and ask yourself; would I say that to my best friend? And if you wouldn’t, don’t say it or think it about yourself.