I’m not just going to give you all of the wonderful changes this last year has given me but I’m going also give you what I thought would change and hasn’t and what is yet to come.
I haven’t gone vegan, I don’t listen to spiritual music, and I don’t speak softly and calmly. However, I don’t judge myself or others much at all, and if I do I quickly realize and look deeper at why I am. I am more centered and in the moment, and I have better connections with people.
In the past year, I have become more ‘ME’ than I have been for years and years, and that feels amazing! During the last year, there were sick days, so I would meditate instead, but overall I really stuck to it.
So what’s changed? I have broken down changes into mental, physical, and personal. Let’s get into Mental first – the most important!
I am a big believer that yoga is first for the mind and second for the body. If you take up yoga just to get toned and lose weight or to just do poses that look good on a camera, then you are missing out on the awesomeness of yoga for the mind! The body will come anyway so it’s all good (plus if you stress yoga as a workout it will be harder to want to do some days).
I find myself:
- More relaxed
- Looking forward to each day
- Have less self-doubt talk
- Not as judgment to myself or others
- Have more awareness to be present
- Enjoying everyday moments more
- Appreciating the beauty of nature
- In the moment and forming better connections with people
You are taught in yoga to really slow down and sometimes do nothing but focus on breathing. Some days you think about a good intention about your life and keep going back to that thought in your practice. Yoga helps stop all of the clutter in your mind so you can enjoy being YOU for that whole session. In other words, you are meditating, and the more you practice the more these feelings transpire to become part of yourself outside of yoga practice so you feel calm and present when enjoying everyday situations.
It’s no secret I have anxiety and that I started yoga to help me cope better day to day. This part of yoga has been a life changer for me and I am so grateful for it!
Panic attacks and constant worry was the norm for me for years. In the past year, I still get anxious but I’ve only had about ten days of mega worry and physical sick symptoms from anxiety compared to about four a month. I have also only had one panic attack in the past year, compared to a year and a half ago when I had three in one week! The panic attack a few weeks ago was about booking flights and the thought of going on a plane :/
Yes, I lost weight and toned up, but it wasn’t until I changed up my diet that I really noticed a difference. For the last nine weeks I have cut out all sugar, gluten, dairy, coffee, alcohol, lactose and fructose (yes fruit!). I’m not doing this to lose weight but to find out what I am intolerant too. After about six weeks of cutting these things out, I noticed I lost weight more than the past 11 months of yoga did for me. So if you are after weight loss I would say look at your diet also. (Not saying you should cut all of that out at all! It’s a horrible way to live!!).
The physical changes I have noticed:
- Better balance
- Weight loss
- More flexible
- Not as many aches and pains
- Better sleep
- Better skin
You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga and you don’t have to do what others in the class may achieve. Still, after a whole year, I can hardly forward fold or touch my toes when sitting and my legs are out in front of me. Bodies are all different shapes and sizes, with different injuries and past and everyone just does what works for them in a class. A teacher will never push anyone to do anything that doesn’t work for their body, and everyone is so engrossed in their own practice you don’t notice what others are up to – which is so comforting to know!
Some sessions are harder than you would think – Now that shouldn’t be off-putting, but I thought it was all slow and easy movements with a few over flexible poses I wouldn’t be able to do. There are poses and flows in yoga that gets your heart rate up, you get sweaty, your muscles shake and you get a damn good workout, and I haven’t even tried Bikram yoga (hot, sweaty, harder workout). Yin is the most gentle form of yoga where you hold a pose for a few minutes before moving into the next, if not done right you can come away with aches and pains – so don’t push yourself. Ultimately though, yoga is so peaceful and enjoyable and you hardly notice the amazing workout your body is getting.
When you feel like yourself again and you’re more confident and happier it’s easier to put yourself out there and get into the things you forgot you loved! For years I have always wanted more in life and had an urge to let out a creative side of me, I have wanted to run my own business (I already run a business with my hubby) and to have that sense of fulfillment in life.
- Something I always wanted to do yet was too shy and had too much self-doubt was acting. In the last year, I have been in three ads and in a fourth one as an extra. They are not talking rolls and are only seconds or minutes long but I have just loved it and it is something I was never sure I would get to do!
- I have always been into fashion and social media (since it’s been around) and so I have combined the two and started Heidi and Kate Boutique, my own online jewellery boutique. Being anxious about what people would think of me has always stopped me getting into this industry, but hey with my new found “Who gives a ***** about what others think of MY life” I am all in baby and loving it!
- Since I got married 10 years ago we have always said we would go off to an island to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. We are going in a few weeks and the best feeling is that I am going feeling the best I have in years! I feel happy and satisfied with life, I have a sense of achievement in different areas of my life and I have a stronger connection with my hubby and kids and can’t wait to holiday together.
The changes that didn’t happen!
Sooo, I still get road rage (I’m no yeller or pull the finger, but still!). I figured yogis have it all together and don’t get fired up or put a foot wrong.. ha! Sure I have mellow days where I really don’t care if the granny in front is doing 70km in a 100km, but catch me on the wrong day and man that sets me off swearing away (if the kids are not in the car 😉 ). I have seen a good saying
‘People think we are calm people who yoga. We yoga to keep the crazy calm’
My body is not as awesome as I thought it would be. I thought I would be rocking a bikini by now and feeling amazing, confidence is still lacking there and I could get over it and just do it anyway… but thought I would have close-to-abs or something by now.
I thought I would be able to do more advanced poses and find it easier. Don’t get me wrong, I have come a long way probably without realizing any achievements, but I thought I would be able to do a better handstand or even a better forward fold by now. It’s all good though, I am still practicing! It’s not about the pose, it’s about the feeling.
Bonus moments and highlights!
One of the best parts of the last year has been the connections I have made with people. From my first Yoga teacher Amber Jane to Silke at heartspace to my lessons in the park with Olivia Leckie and all of the people I have met in between. If you have tried out yoga and it didn’t felt right, I would go looking for another teacher until you find one you gel with – it can make all of the difference.
There are LOVELY ladies and friends I have got to enjoy doing yoga with at different classes and people I have heard from through social media who have started yoga as a result of my blog or posts!! I LOVE our supportive Facebook group, the people who have connected on Facebook and Instagram and the lovely friends and family who just ask ‘How’s yoga going?’.
Some of my highlights have been:
- When myself, my Mum and Daughter all had a private yoga session together with Amber Jane (take me back!)
- Going to Nikki Rolston workshop here in Napier
- When my hubby joined in a yoga class
- Receiving messages from people who have been struggling with anxiety also and are finding yoga has helped them, or my stories have helped them understand someone in their family better
I still have plenty to work on and want to keep working on myself. There is no doubt the past year has done wonders for me, but it is a life journey that never reaches a final goal. It is about continuing to grow every day and accepting who you are and what you can improve, then enjoy looking back each year at the difference in all that you have achieved.
I’ve always believed that if you can be the best you can be, then you are at your best to help others. And that will always be something I will work on through the help of yoga.
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Thanks so much for reading this and please share with anyone who could do with a good dose of Yoga in their life, and leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you xx