Summoning Your Inner Yogi When You’re Bent All Out of Shape

Written By

Annelise Piers

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So you’ve created this image of yourself — the superwoman, the multi-tasker, the independent one, Ms. Reliable, fill in the blank with something I’ve missed — and day after day you wear that Monalisa smile like a badge of honour.

Been there … done that … and every now and then I find myself having to step out of the frame to see the big picture. Over the past two years, I’ve learnt to do that as I step onto my yoga mat, grounding myself and stilling the noise. These 90 minutes which began purely as ME time (an excuse to hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door — one my dog learnt to read) has taken on a whole new dimension as I find my practice colouring how I see the rest of my day.

It’s not easy, and I don’t profess to have mastered the art of Zen; however, I’ve learnt that I can paint over smudges when I choose or just allow the colours to run into each other and see what transforms.

Remember those value lessons we learnt in school about truth and non-violence, not hoarding and perseverance? I’m not ashamed to say that though I was a very compliant child and scored an A then, the real test has been recognising and applying these principles today when stuck in traffic with loud horns blaring, when your team goofs up big and it’s on your shoulders, and/or when you come home and find his undies on the floor.

Ok, so I’ve left out all the zillion other opportunities I’ve had to test out my ‘new yogi wings’, but you get the idea. In the beginning, my yogi equivalent to ‘count to 10’ was to pull out my mat to find ‘me’ in all the chaos. In time I’ve learnt that when I believe the very ground I’m on is my mat, life can be quite the magic carpet ride, complete with its twists and overturns.

Again, not easy … and ever so often I find myself in a heap on the floor, reminding myself to breathe, accept how much I can ‘stretch’ and allow myself my limits for now. This is ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence) at its best, one of the yamas that’s core to every yogi. In time, with practice and A LOT of slow breathing, you learn to extend the same acceptance to the incorrigible neighbour, the know-it-all boss and even ‘you know who’.

Yoga began as a form of exercise to fix my digestive problems, which now I know were a result of the stress I was carrying. I was so tightly wound, holding my peace and putting up with crap (pardon the pun).  While the asanas worked on my physiology, making a conscious practice of the yama ‘satya’ (truthfulness) brought about a deeper detox. It’s not like I fibbed a whole lot; it’s just that I never really spoke my mind … my truth. As I began to study this principle in greater detail, it took on a whole new hue, one of following my purpose, and so it was back to the drawing board for me.

Something I knew I was head over heels, crazy about doing was teaching yoga and encouraging women like me to be well. So with clarity of purpose, I took out my canvas and began to colour outside the lines, unleashing my creativity and transforming landscapes.

Being at crossroads, however, has its own challenges, one that has me sometimes a tad fearful, I must admit. When in that momentary flux, I call to mind the niyama I picked for the course of my teacher’s training — Isvara Pranidhana — surrender. Just like a grip sheet over your yoga mat keeps you from slipping and helps you turn all your focus to your practice, I know that there is this unseen hand that holds the brush and turns you into a masterpiece.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annelise Piers is a hippy yogi (minus the dreadlocks -- for the moment) who has immersed herself in the practice, researching and delivering content in an easy-to-apply design. Women's hormonal-balance coach, health blogger and yoga teacher, writing is her way of staying out of trouble. A corporate trainer/coach gone rogue, her newly-discovered purpose is to help women stop bouncing off the walls ‘those’ times of the month and trade in their broomsticks for magic wands.

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