By Jo Scrimshaw, Jan 2 2020 08:43PM
How do you feel in the mornings? Bright and happy? Ready for the day?, Tired and irritable because its early, dark, Thursday ? or do you have no idea why life is impossible before coffee etc?
I have found a cure. I am now able to identify how I’m feeling, physically, emotionally and mentally. I can, as the Joker once said in the Batman film, “give a name to my pain”. I am also now able to turn a day from “its not looking good already….” into a much better one. How? … you may ask.
Well the answer has surprised even me. You see, I was born without any genes that make exercise a fun thing to do. I think my brother got them all. He has always been very sporty, Rugby, Tri-athlons, Running, Swimming & Cycling. He and his wife were once known as Mr & Mrs Motivator. Me… not so much. I did like Skiffing (wooden racing craft, often spotted on the Thames). I also spent many a Saturday (8 years worth) running on and off a rugby pitch administering First Aid. I developed a muscular physique performing sports massage treatments over the same period of time for the Rugby club. It was a tough job but someone had to do it…….. Apart from that I only had one love when it came to exercise and I didn’t regard it as exercise. Yoga. My favourite classes were the de-stress ones that allowed me to stretch my body and calm my mind. I have practised this amazing art, on and off, since I was 14. My yoga journal was always my favourite read and any chance to meditate or practice mindfulness made me a very happy bunny.
Due to children, work and family stuff, I always practiced yoga during the day or in the evening. Then in 2012 on holiday in Gran Canaria, I had the opportunity to practise in the morning. I knew that the ancient traditions of Ayurveda recommend morning yoga, but I had not truly understood why. After a few mornings I found a morning practice almost addictive. I would stand on the mat with my hands in prayer position, checking in with my balance, taking my attention to the heart centre, inhale and as I exhaled raising my hands up for a sun salutation. Then one morning I paused. Instead of one breath I allowed myself full awareness of the breath. My breathing became deeper and my focus moved naturally to the heart centre. Only I didn’t find peace, I found irritation and restlessness. I found my true condition on that day and I found honesty. It was our last day and I didn’t want to go home. I was happy in our peaceful, sunny, gloriously bright and shiny holiday refuge. I stood still with tears falling down my face as I realised that my body, mind and spirit were truly relaxed for the first time in many years. I also knew that if I wanted to feel tired and stressed again, that I had simply to return to the life I had left and make no changes. I wiped my tears away on my kaftan sleeve (as you do…) and made a mental note that changes were required. I set an intention to change. I’m still a work in progress (aren’t we all) but provided that the work is still in progress then there is a good chance for pleasing results.
Now my mat is a place for honesty. I pay attention to the way I feel. I pay attention to the thoughts in my head. When we sleep the subconcious seems to process all sorts of stuff and our body works on repair and renewal. Generally we don’t remember our brain activity overnight, but the quiet space on the mat allows the mind to offer up some thoughts for resolution. The physical space on the mat allows our body to communicate any aches and pains for attention. Our very presence on the mat allows the spirit space to breathe.
Me and my mat…. We are bff (best friends forever) and my mornings are happier because of it.