This week marked the start of my return to yoga after quite a few years away (8 maybe).
The last time I practiced yoga regularly was when I was living in the Yarra Valley. I had a lovely teacher in Warburton who knew how to work with all sorts of bodies in a caring and non-judgemental way.
A few memory images of that practice have stayed with me; one during Shavasna where I experienced violent visions of crows smashing into the windows of the old church where the classes were held, another where all the women who were menstruating were snuggled up with bolsters and blankets during some of the more demanding poses.
Reflecting on this as I embarked on a yoga practice once more, I remembered that this was going to be as much about stretching my mind as stretching my body.
Over the past year Fat Yoga has emerged as an alternative space for people who want to experience the benefit of yoga without the pressure or perceived judgement of their bodies. It is an extension of the body positive movement which encourages paying attention to how we feel about our bodies and repairing some of the damaging messages we may have internalised about them.
For me, as I confront the changing state of my body, the (still) undiagnosed pain that radiates throughout it, the unpredictability of energy levels and the emotional work of processing all of this while balancing life’s demands, opening up a space to be with my body seems like a deep need that I must fulfil.