Excess is Easy – Yogahub Dublin, and the Benefits of Regular Practice

A poem I wrote here early last month inspired by the changes I’ve experienced through regular yoga practice has led me to further explain my new obsession with yoga!

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Excess is Easy 

Excess is easy. That much I know for sure. Too much, too little, too often. It is one of the easiest things to let ourselves indulge in the safety of the extremities. It takes courage, balance and practice to remain upright in the midst of it all, and stay grounded in the middle of chaos. Being aware that there will always be limitations, and things we cannot do – yet along with these limitations will be good things; positive and progressive possibilities with every new movement.

Yoga and the Yogahub in particular have helped me achieve some of the balance required to walk along the narrow space between these extremes I used to bounce between.
Already on my way through a slow but steady recovery, a regular, daily yoga practice added into my daily routine proved the missing link between the confused streams of thoughts that raced through my head on a daily basis. The breath being added back into my conscious flow of thought aided to bring me back to the now, to the moment of what is happening as I speak, as I write, as I sit here.

It reminded me that it is ok to occupy the space I have been given on this earth, within the often disagreeable walls of my body. It is ok, and perfectly acceptable to be myself, to be in my own skin, and to allow myself to enjoy being within it, even if I’m not always it’s biggest fan.
The Yogahub provides a healthy and friendly atmosphere for me to learn all of this, and to relearn it as required – because balance is not something you can achieve once and expect to be able to attain again at the click of a finger. Even though it is always fairly accessible, there is a constant upkeep and awareness required to maintain it – much like the physical balance required to ride a bike.

In the monthly unlimited membership I took out at the beginning of September with the Yogahub, I not only found this kind of strong balance in daily practice and attending classes, but it was a stable balance. Stable enough to maintain for a prolonged period of time.The variety of classes available, styles and flexible timetable really allowed me to personalise my practice and accomodate for all levels and intensities, to suit how I was feeling on a given day. Each friendly face glows with a welcoming smile as you step foot inside the doors, whether for a random drop-in class or a scheduled flow, the delicious HappyFood vegan and vegetarian café providing the perfect pre or post – class fuel to help your body move through the hour.

I’ve realised during my month with the Yogahub that yoga teaches me not to rush ahead – to remain calm and to accept what is happening when it does. There is no use in constantly casting your gaze forwards, anticipating anxiously things that are beyond your control. The one thing within my control is my own body – not even my mind is always controllable. With yoga, my focus is shifted back to the physical power which resides within my body, and the very fact that I was bringing this body on a daily trip in to the city centre to the Yogahub was enough to begin the positive reactions within, and aid me to maintain a comfortable and healthy distance from all extremities I used to reside in.

The people at the Yogahub eminate this contentedness and oneness with the world, hippie-style ‘tree-hugger’ labels really not being necessary or applicable in this sense – it’s just a truly calming place. The huge variety of yoga styles means that everyone is catered for, no matter what level, and each class welcomes newcomers with open arms (or elbows, knees, hips, legs, whatever you’re stretching into at the moment!!).

 In moving my body, and staying with it as it goes, I have grown more accepting of both it’s limitations and it’s strengths. I appreciate what it does for me, and I work daily toward improving it so it can bring me where I want to go, and move me all the different ways I want to move, difficult poses and balance included.

It will always be an ongoing thing – constant maintanance and awareness is what is needed, and the Yogahub has given me the strength to accept that I will need to maintain this. It requires effort and practice, yet each time now that I return to the mat and begin my practice, I feel the benefits mentally before even beginning to move.

The extremities are always going to be there, and I may not always be able to avoiding brushing off them from time to time. Instead of shying away from them and fearing the downs and bad days however, I try now to embrace them for what they are, and allow them to serve as a foundation on which to start rebuilding a new day, a new practice, and new movement. We’re only human, and I feel that limiting yourself too much in anything inevitably leads to an equalising swoop in the opposite direction, as your mind and body try to balance things out. In maintaining as level a field as possible for as long as possible, the breadth of that level is strengthened, and makes it easier to stand on.

It’s probably a good thing that the monthly membership limited me to one class per day though, as there were days where I wanted to stay and do more! On these days I had to pull myself up on the urge and remind myself that excess also comes in the form of good things. Finding and maintaining this balance is how I have come to be where I am now, and I am looking forward (but not too far!) to re-commencing my practice with the Yogahub as soon as I return home from travelling.

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Statue of The Buddha at the Royal Palace of Cambodia

#onlypositivevibes

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“You’re Grounded”

‘You’re (very) Grounded’

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

Gone are the days when being ‘grounded’ meant being punished or told what to do. For me, now, there is nothing more important than remaining stable within my own body and mind, and maintaining that connection and awareness with the ground beneath my own two feet.
It’s not something that people generally think to take into account regularly, yet when you do, the mental and emotional benefits are so reassuring. I am here, in this moment, typing what you’re reading right now. For the time being, this is me.
I’ve just finished a morning yoga session, having previously consumed a small cup of coffee. The combination of these two things made for a peace and sense of self far stronger and more empowering than any temporary buzz or high available from the excess consumption of a substance, be it food or alcohol. This is me, this is the real person within this body, touching the mat at three main physical points, aware of the weight of my hands, knees, and elbows on the mat. Aware of my space, and of the fact that I occupy it.
The fact that I was grounded meant not that I was stuck in one place, but that I was aware of being in that one place, and of my potential to be in any one of the endless places accessible to me at that time.
It’s a far cry from being told to stay in my room on the weekend and banned from the computer and television. The freedom that comes from realising one’s own mobility and potential is remarkable. It’s a freedom I never thought would be possible, and is liberating in the sense that not only do I know that I can go anywhere I want, but the availability and accessibility of the world has also become clearer.
Maybe the confines of being restricted to stay in one place indoors will not seem so bad if I consider them in terms of being physically grounded, as opposed to the mental guilt-trip of parents telling you you can’t do something. I don’t know. But here’s to constantly moving forward, and being always present in the place where I find my body.

“Cíbe áit ina bhfuil tú, is ann atá tú”.

I’d like to thank religion and modern societal constraints and perceptions for giving me such legitimate excuses to eat copious amounts of chocolate every couple of weeks.

First there was Christmas – a time when even the strictest of health and fitness regimes take a break and allow an extra helping of stuffing and one too many glasses of wine – I’ve heard that some gyms actually close for a day or two over the holidays- imagine that?!
Chocolate at Christmas comes part and parcel (excuse the pun) with pudding and turkey nowadays, no Irish household completely prepared for the feast-day of our Lord without the blue tin (or plastic box, of recent years) of Cadbury’s Roses nestled smugly under the tree amongst brightly coloured gifts that serve as the starter course for the day of indulgence.

Fast forward through the ‘dry January’ and empty New Years’ resolutions; swearing that you ‘don’t even want’ the leftover nibbles and chocolates from the festive season (I’m still steadily working my way through a selection box and a giant Toblerone), and we’re timely faced again with the prospect of a day full of love, this time in the form of fake plastic hearts which represent ‘affection’, as people show how much they mean to one another by giving the gifts of wine and chocolate – all filed and hidden away, as the Irish do best, in a sugar-coated ‘expression’ of love.
Yep, you heard me. I love you, so here’s some chocolate. Okay great!
No need to talk about feelings – I’ll just eat my chocolate and drink my wine until I’m sufficiently tipsy to ‘accidentally let slip’ that I do in actual fact have very strong feelings for you…or for chocolate. The lines get crossed so often at this stage that I can’t honestly tell the difference anymore.

In any case, whether you’re single, taken, or bound within an unspoken and uncertain agreement of affection versus hesitation to commit, chances are you’ll find yourself faced with some chocolate this weekend. And not necessarily as a gift from another, or a surprise purchase in your mother’s weekly shopping – I mean you literally may not be able to avoid being faced with it if you have any sort of tendency to go out in public during the day. Let’s face it- shops need something to work towards and market, so it may as well be your affections.

If it’s not a garish display of cupids and hearts and flowers, it’ll be a mass-produced and over-packed shelf display of purple and yellow boxes that have eagerly preceded their season already by encroaching upon the Valentine’s Day sales. You can almost see the hanging cherubs glaring as the ‘3 for 2’ offers on all medium chocolate eggs by the smug looking bunny rabbit is already proving more popular than the cheap tinfoil balloons he’s offering.
With the exciting treat that is Pancake Tuesday always surprising us at it’s proximity – It’s next week, guys! – and peaking Nutella sales worldwide, we’re left dawdling along for six weeks or so on a half-arsed health-kick, mildly aware of the frankly painful sounding ritual of ‘Lent’ that apparantly preceeds the chocolate-feasting gluttonous glory that is Easter.

Easter needs no introduction; suffice it to say that it is the one time of year my affection, need for, and irrational tendency to indulge in chocolate of all kinds; be it hot, cold, black, white, milk, mint or tiffin, is correctly and accurately catered for by retail outlets, TV ad campaigns and supermarkets alike – irrationally, in excess, and fabulously over-supplied.

Once Easter is over I begin to be thankful I was born in May…. #ChocolateCake

Know Yourself

Too Much.
This is a bit of a poem thing that I wrote based around the importance of knowing yourself, knowing your limits, and knowing when too much is too much.

 

 

It’s only when I stop and think
Of how it was;
Unassuming messages, and replies drenched in emotion,
Yet tastefully reserved;
The yearning still nudges its relentless head
Against the inside of my chest,
My mother telling her daughter in the shop when she showed her a toy;
“Oh yes, that’s nice. Now let’s go”.
The colourful and brilliant potential remaining in my head
For days after, maybe weeks.
Refusing meals that were made out of love,
This now grown yet stubborn body turned on the nourishment.
Nothing else would do.
Thinking back to before nothing was important
– because nothing is what it was,
Everything was unsure.
The huge footfalls of an elephant passing by
Are enough to frighten anyone into a corner
– but they can’t help being heavy.
Reserving their peace for the wild, the unpredictable,
They are content.
While I was living under a thatched roof,
Just waiting for the sparks to set it alight,
Yet poised and ready to pounce should they dare take any form.
Because dirty dishes pile up around the sink;
Like corpses after a particularly bloody battle;
And things can get lost in the haze of a busy weekend,
In a mess of unwashed clothes on the floor of a hotel room.
But unspoiled food can be reheated, and we’re lucky the plate didn’t smash completely.
How are they to know what too much is?
They can’t.
We know even now that wild horses can be reigned in, and raging seas, though at times enough to drown you;

Can be personally navigated gently back to shore.