This week’s blog post is from our Meadowlark-sponsored athlete, Gen Whitson, who speaks of the power yoga can have both physically and emotionally, and the positive effect the practice can have as a guide and comfort through challenging times.
People do yoga for a lot of different reasons: to connect with like-minded peoople, to find inner peace, to support health in the body or even just to stretch that little bit further. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter, the main thing is that you’re doing it and supporting mental, physical and emotional wellbeing for your body.
Yoga has, for me, brought calmness at times when it hasn’t felt like anything else is going to stabilise. It has helped me accept the things you can’t change and find the energy to pursue the things I can, but most importantly it’s helped me to be more present in the moment, which is all we can really ever do. And this month, in particular, it has helped me heal as I have come to terms with the fact that my dream of competing for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games isn’t going to happen. I found out the news three weeks ago and have ploughed my way through a trillion emotions. Years of dedication, training and discipline have lead me to this point and, while it’s been a really challenging time, the regular yoga classes have made dealing with these uncomfortable emotions a lot easier. Our bodies hold onto emotions until they are released (they don’t just disappear, you really have to go through them!), so it’s really important to be able to let things flow out naturally and not block them up, as that tends to create a heaviness in ourselves that we can end up dragging around and that will begin to deplete your wellbeing.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘issues in the tissues’? This is the well-believed notion in yoga that we literally hold emotions everywhere in our bodies, and for the emotions we don’t know how to deal with tend to be thrown and kept in our hips. I have come out of a fair few yoga classes crying my eyes out after some very deep intense hip openers, sometimes bewildered as to how and what was going on but on the whole feeling lighter and happier the next day.
This month, as I’ve practised my sun salutations, and heart and hip openers, I’ve tried my hardest to be kind to my body and my head and let the feelings of sadness and disappointment just move on through. I am grateful that I’ve had Meadowlark Yoga available to me to help the healing process, even if it’s been awkward at times to face up to feelings that haven’t made me feel great because there are still parts of me that need acknowledging, but I do know that they will eventually pass.
So going forward, I really don’t know what is in store for me, and I haven’t felt this way for over 10 years. It feels like a chapter of my life has closed and I am creating a new path, but at least I know I’ve got yoga walking along beside me.
I also want to take this opportunity to say a huge, huge thanks from the bottom of my heart to Meadowlark Yoga for all of their support and positivity towards my cycling goals and my desire to be better at yoga. Coming to the classes each week and seeing so many smiling faces followed by incredibly supportive teachers has made it all so worthwhile. If you haven’t already tried a Meadowlark yoga class, you’ve got to be mad! Get yourself down there and book in to one.