As I lay here, on the beautiful Greek Island of Samos, looking at the below view, I found myself reflecting on day to day life, and then thought of Claire’s email inviting us all to share what being a member at Inspire means to us. So here goes, my attempt at writing my first ever blog.
So, what does it mean to me. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a membership at one gym or another. Always, like many, feeling self-conscious about how I look, or not feeling as energetic as I’d like. I’d always have my bursts of going, pounding the treadmill, attempting “burpees” (which I loath), or covering the screen on a gym bike distracting myself from counting the seconds until I felt I could justify getting off. To then let the membership lapse, until the next burst of going. But then, for me, something truly amazing and as cliche as it sounds, life changing happened. Thanks to ‘Inspire’ I found something I love, that’s not a chore. Something that both challenges and relaxes me, bringing a sense of focus and well being, all in one beautiful package. I found ‘Inspire’. I found hot yoga.
It’s been pretty much a year since I found this truly amazing place, and I can honestly say it means a lot to me, (so much so that my husband has actually been known on more than one occasion to usher me to our front door and pack me off to the next available class!).
I remember a year ago, after my first class at Inspire, (Sunday morning, Heat 26 with Lorraine), I was telling my 93 year old grandad, (a regular dancer), about how much I enjoyed it. During our chat I jokingly dropped in that as much as I enjoyed it, it was a challenge as I hadn’t been able to touch my toes since I was a young child, and that I was chuffed if I managed to reach my ankles with even a micro bend in my knees! I can still hear his “tut” and astonishment.
So, fast forward 1 year and now I am well and truly hooked. “Exercise” is no longer a chore or something I feel I ought to do. Through my yoga, it’s now something I truly look forward to doing, and plan into my day; as important as speaking to and seeing friends and family. It gives me a great sense of well being, calming my mind and bringing perspective to any a day, (I probably look a tad odd always smiling to myself at the start of the classes if one of the teachers says “leave your thoughts outside, the next 75 minutes is for you, on your mat”). It’s funny, as I always thought of exercise as being more about the physical goals and results, but for me, this perspective and balance has definitely changed to also include emotional well-being, and whilst yoga’s played a part in that, I don’t think it would have been the case if it wasn’t for the truly inspirational people I’ve met along the way. From Claire and Alan always there to welcome you in with a big smile, whether it be the crack of dawn or the end of the day. To the fantastic teachers, who really take the time to listen and train you, to also attending a Reiki workshop, something I’d never heard of before, but left feeling enlightened, and, getting back in touch with an old school friend, Vayia who taught the session. I think I’ve also changed physically, feeling stronger, and now, I can’t just touch my toes, I can stand on my flat hands without bending my knees! ? Joking aside, not only do I feel more confident in myself, I’m also a lot more aware of what I eat and how I eat. All in all, helping to bring that greater sense of well-being.
So, laying here on the beach I’m smiling. Yes, this place is beautiful and in two days time I get to watch 2 of our closest friends marry, but I’m also smiling because I feel truly lucky to have found something I now know I couldn’t be without and will always be a part of my life. So thank you ‘Inspire’ for showing me how awesome yoga is and the beautiful benefits it brings.
I’ve never packed anything exercise related to take on holiday, (it was always the perfect “excuse” to not do anything), but this year, I’m armed with my yoga mat. So, on that note, I’m off to do what I’ve been wanting to try – practicing my yoga outside.