Discovering Yoga with Kathryn Murphy...
If I’m honest my initial interest in yoga was borne not from the seeking of spiritual enlightenment but rather an admiration of Madonna’s biceps in her film The Next Big Thing!
Whilst the film didn’t last the Noughties my interest in yoga certainly did.
An enthusiastic dancer and gymnast in childhood I settled as a young adult into a meditative routine of mid distance running and strength gym work. Attending my first proper yoga class in my 30’s whilst visiting a friend in Australia, I loved the feel of re-connection yoga gave me with my physical body in a way my other exercise hadn’t.
Once home I avidly practiced in my lounge following a couple of celebrity led videos only really getting into a studio setting after spotting a new class at my local gym some years later.
The teacher – Samantha Walker – introduced me to a mindful practice, providing me with a thread of continuity that has ran though my life ever since. With encouragement from Sam I joined her first cohort of yoga trainees and have continued to share my enthusiasm and knowledge with many students over the last 12 years.
That ‘yogic thread’ of continuity has allowed me to stay active and healthy, helping me perform mindfully and safely through the varying stages of my own life. Yoga has been a constant all the way though the physical and mental ups and downs of life - pregnancy, childbirth and the balance of home and work life. Now as I move through my middle years it seems a more mindful approach to every area of life is ever more important.
The practice of yoga makes us look inward, often to face things we don’t like the feel or the look of – particularly in middle age! It also teaches us balance, not just in the physical capacity to stand on one leg but in the metaphorical sense of balancing one’s life. Those ups and downs, which can often feel as though you are trying to do everything whilst balancing on one leg – are made a little easier when we take the time to take a step back and just breathe.
Yoga reminds us to do just that. More importantly it gives us permission to do so. It is increasingly difficult to find the time to sit and just be. Never more so as more of us work from home and so the separation from work and home life gets blurred.
Yoga enables us to give ourselves permission to exert more balance in our lives, helping us to find time for adequate physical and mental recovery; to step away from our phones and ever busy lives.
Whilst I have always loved the physical practice, wanting to share the many benefits of yoga is what moved me to teach. I gain so much pleasure from seeing people come to class but even more when I see the difference an hour for themselves can make.
The Madonna arms continue to be a work in practice…!