Why having a yogi family might just change your life.
It’s January, the ubiquitous words yoga and detox can be seen which ever way you turn your over-indulged head and you’re seriously starting to wonder if lycra leggings and lotus poses might not be such a bad idea after all. While, I would never claim that yoga can transform you into a slinky limbed Gisele look-alike (it just doesn’t, that’ll be all the virtuous gluten-free quinoa and hours with a personal trainer), it can! it does! it will! help you fall flat on your face back in-love with life and one of the magical ways it manages to do this is by entrusting you with a whole new group of ‘yogi’ buddies. In my personal experience, these fitness friends can lift you up from under a pile a dirty nappies, unremitting bills and perplex relationship problems and help crack open (no, not the bottle of wine) the True You. In short, cultivating a yogi family can help you become a glorious goddess around the domestic family table too - so what are you waiting for?
I was with my oldest of mates last weekend enjoying a natter and a catch-up, a rare indulgence nowadays after babies and relocations. We weren’t, thankfully, on the dry January wagon, instead we were enjoying the Spanish Rioja I’d piggybacked over from Bilbao and her homemade flapjack bars, a few hours in as she lovingly appreciated the new (but old) twinkle in my eye she sensitively enquired, “So, what really helped you turn a corner after the postnatal depression?” I answered without pause, “It was after that yoga course I went on two years ago.” Was it? I hadn’t even really realised. I certainly hadn’t learnt anything about how to cope with depression on that course but as I reflected on my mystifying answer I realised that ever since that point I’d been UP as oppose to down, I’d gone from directionless to focussed and if I dare say without sounding silly, getting-there content and peaceful. It feels so nice.
In everyday life, unfortunately we don’t generally have a minute to come Home to ourselves, we are so caught up in our stress-fuelled, busy lives and careers, where all we seem to focus on is the next holiday/car/baby/gadget, we are constantly living in a non-existent future or an unchangeable past that creates anxiety, unreality and conflict. Step into a yoga studio and, abracadabra, one Whatsapp free hour later you haven’t had anything external stimulating your desire grabbing senses, you’ve literally just been transported back to the present moment, your true Home. You come out and start mingling with your elastic comrades on a whole different level. Your true, natural state is one of joy, positivity and love - go there and that’s what you’ll get more of. Put fifteen something yogis on a retreat together and one week later you’ve got a new person shining through. It take years to get lost, thankfully it only takes a few breaths to come Home and a sprinkling of good friends to encourage such transformations.
When you’ve known someone for years, live together day-in and day-out you might be misguided into believing that they see the real you, but that’s not always the case - they often see the tired, stressed, suffering, desperately desiring you which is of course, an inevitable part of life to be loved, but that’s not the real you. You are positive, vibrant, focussed, determined and amazing and it certainly doesn’t harm to have a few backbending friends to remind you of this fact. “You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi.
I see my extend yogi family several times a year now, if they don’t come and help me teach on one of my retreats, we might travel somewhere to study for a few days together or meet for hummus and chai in London. I always leave smiling and full of zest for life in this moment, which is the only moment we ever really have. Love your blood family, cherish your new family, enjoy your urban family and watch yourself grow in the arms of your yoga family, I know I did.