For this yoga series it’s a technical one but what it really all comes back to is: self love.
I’ve had very definite moments in my life when I’ve thought; I’m getting old. Losing entire weekends after drinking on a Friday night was the first sign. The latest instalment has been the surprising number of conversations I’ve had about hip replacements I’ve been having recently.
I figured this couldn’t just be me, so I looked up the stats: 160k hip replacement operations done in this county, it’s often associated with arthritis and people are having operations done when they’re younger. To be clear, I’m not having a hip replacement but it the concept seems to be creeping closer to my age bracket.
It’s odd for me to begin a series from this end: the physical. Usually, it’s more of a pull towards something more esoteric which, I must pull down into the practical. This time, I’ve had to zoom out, which is interesting. And when I say “interesting”, I am of course being euphemistic. What I really mean is “hard” and “uncomfortable”.
During my two week “break” over Easter, which means I was still teaching but more in a “what am I seeing” kind of way than directing the flow as much. I am noticing something. What I’m noticing is the precursor to what’s happening in our operating theatres. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but changing out a joint is a big deal, especially this hip and it doesn’t come out of nowhere.
It’s a complicated joint, there’s lots going on which it’s why I’m not attempting to cover the whole thing in a week. I’m giving myself the relatively luxurious time of six weeks to delve into this. Tongue in cheek, yes. Fundamentally though, it’s movement. If we don’t move enough through the day – and this was very true for many people during lockdown – our bits just aren’t going to respond as we expect.
I’m also conscious to be very clear here: it’s not a judgement, it’s an observation. The moment I say something like this in class, everyone sits up straight and pretends like it’s not them. Just everyone else.
I really believe that our bodies tell our story. I always tell anyone I meet (with minimal prompting required) that when I was born my baby fingers and toes overlapped my second fingers and toes. They still do if neglected. And that when my eldest was born, one of her legs was tucked in, leading to scans to rule out hip dysplasia. Honestly, this story begins before birth, and it carries on throughout our lives.
The subtext being: our bodies are incredible. We can put them through some truly outrageous things and what do they do? Keep going. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger
in The Terminator, or more like the weird metal stuff in the third movie. They adapt and morph to survive, it’s our most basic instinct and we carry it in our bodies. Start with that perspective: the body (and we), are not broken or need fixing. What it (and we) need is understanding and compassion and perhaps a bit of tlc. That’s what this six-week series is really about: self-love. It’s not easy but it’s incredibly necessary after everything we’ve been and are currently going through.