Inflexible enough to qualify as stone

Today I went to another session of mother and daughter yoga. I am easily the least flexible person in every class I attend, and I have attended a few. I sort of take pride in my unofficial status of ‘person most likely made of stone’. But this is of little consequence, as I really enjoy going!

I can’t touch my toes in any known yoga position. Except sitting crosslegged, but think that ‘might’ count as cheating. I don’t fold over very well. I can’t twist. I cant put my hands flat down on the mat and hold any pose (I go with either fists or ‘splayed out fingers raised just enough to give the semblance, if not the actuality, of a flexible wrist joint’. It now occurs to me that I must have super strong fingers – fingers of steel! (But I know this something of a misnomer as I still can’t bar a chord on my guitar) But on a positive, I maintained ‘downward dog’ position for longer than I usually can, so for me, that was a big win.

Me and my daughter are monster funny when doing yoga too. Other mother and daughter ensembles are pictures of grace and elegance and we are sitting on the mat, mostly laughing with somewhat incredulous looks on our faces. My daughter is hypermobile, and as such finds some of the poses painful. I was told by my physio that I likely was too, and now my body compares to an elastic band that has been overstretched, which accounts for my lack of bendy. I don’t know what would make a person more bendy, and am not altogether sure that I would want to find out.

I play guitar, I swim, I dance, I game, I read, I paint. My hobby pursuits are varied and I have varying levels of success (much variance, oh so much, never play shooter type games with me, I will definitely not kill anything, unless it is on my side..). But yoga is different. I am genuinely terrible at it, but I still pursue it. Several thoughts occur to me as to why. Being bendier is a long-term aspiration, I want to be a springy elastic band, not a sad saggy one. But other than this class, I have not prioritised my journey into an undulating twisty twirly thing. I love this class for the glorious time I am there with my daughter. Experiencing the funnies, the violent massages (my young one is not always a gentle little flower, I think that she believes my body to be a piece of wood that has been very bad. And must be punished by a brutal chopping motion) and when I attempt to massage her, it tickles so much she crumples into someone six times as flexible as myself and occasionally we experience the success at mastering a pose.

Reflecting on this session it occurs to me that I show my daughter a woman, who despite failing multiple times, is still prepared to turn up, do her best, and feel immensely proud of her achievements. I show her that I am prepared to take risks (some poses really feel that way!) and whatever the outcome, I leave the studio in an upbeat, relaxed and happy mood. And maybe this is more important.

Map Point. How do I define achievement?



Yoga is my happy place

Initially, I started going to mother and daughter yoga for the bit pertaining to the mother and daughter. It is nice to know there is a fixed time where we can relax without the usual humdrum interfering. But am beginning to also go for the yoga variable too.

I am not a naturally bendy sort of person. Touching my toes would be something of a miracle, as to date, it has never happened. I sort of kinda hang, and the tippy tips of my fingers come to about the level of my knees. On a good day. I took my daughter to yoga when she was small, as I understand the massive yoga benefits. I just never thought of it as something for me.

Yoga always seems to make me laugh. Tears streaming down my face, don’t look at anyone because it will just make it worse, face aching sort of laughter. I think that this comes from the teacher. She is utterly okay that for around half of the moves, I will have a go, but I mostly just sit on my mat, looking at my daughter, and we laugh together (she is hyper mobile, meaning every so often she needs a little rest!). In the last session, the laughter started when we were attempting a ‘laying down crow’ (even writing about this is making me laugh.. With tears too!). For anyone unfamiliar with this, it involves laying on your back holding your feet together with your hands. In essence, creating an ‘O’ with your legs which you can look through. And I did, locking eyes with my yoga teacher who was doing the same. She then made a comment about it not being very dignified, at which point my face engaged in wetness.

It also really challenges me, and I am amazing myself. When we got to regular crow (hands on floor, attempting to balance knees on elbows, with feet in the air.. much more dignified, and at least a hundred times more difficult than rolling about laughing on the afore mentioned mat), I suddenly felt really motivated. My hands really hurt as they were attempting to take the weight of mind, body and soul. But I kept trying (didn’t succeed this time around… but next time for the win!). This move involves strength, but most importantly, incredibly good balance. I was becoming sort of worried that my hands may never function in their fully working capacity again. But as I left the studio; my hands were fine. This really shocked me, as it turns out, I am stronger than I know.

As we walked back to the car, I felt really light, really clear. I didn’t feel like I could conquer the world, but I was utterly sure of my place in it. I may attempt to find a class just for me at some point, with one definite in mind. The teacher absolutely must make me laugh.

Map Point. When have I surprised myself?

Additional thank you to the teacher of epic’s epic daughter too! Every session she takes photos which are then mailed out. Being a parent of the single variety there are very few photos of me and my daughter together, so these photos are really special to me. Massive amount of gratitude to you both! xx

Third letter

Dearest Daughter,

To start with, I only have one daughter, and you are most certainly it. My only offspring. I want to explain every hope and aspiration that I have for you, everything that I think you will be, but this doesn’t serve you, you will make your own path with all the love and support that I can muster (a lot!), so instead I want to tell you about the hopes and aspirations that I have for my own life. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are in life, change is always your choice.

When I was around your fine age of eleven, I saw my life the way that everyone else I knew did. We would go through school, go to university, get married, have children and then be ready to ‘make a life’ by twenty-five. In my family, no one apart from me had been to university, but amongst my peers, it felt expected. Some of my friends chose baby names and planned wedding ceremonies. I possibly did this too, but cannot remember any details. As I grew older, and some of my friends became more fixed on that path, I realised that perhaps a path with fewer prerequisites was likely a better one for me to follow.

I then followed a path of education and two long-term relationships. I am still following the path for knowledge (MA application is in process!), but rather than needing a relationship because that’s what I thought I should have, I now see a relationship as a choice to be with someone who I can develop with, and help them to develop too. It feels to be a very different, and more authentic way to be.

Some people find their calling when they are little, others never find one thing, instead, they find many. As a child, I loved photography, drawing and writing, mostly poetry. I also loved playing the guitar. It occurred to me this morning that these have always been my passions, but for many years, I chose to ignore them. I chose to pursue things that seemed practical, that felt like things I should be doing, rather than I wanted to be doing. It has taken me a long time to get back to doing what I love, and it empowers me so much. Whatever you choose to do, do it from a place of love, obligation will not serve you long term, always keep some things in your life that make you shine.

Every dream and aspiration that you have will change over time. Every time you reach a goal, you will see new ways to pursue growth. Never stop learning. Whether this is new information or better ways to understand yourself, this is what has motivated me. Some times will feel dark and there will be incredible times too. Both you can take lessons from; this is how I choose to live my life. Don’t get stuck in a negative place for too long, but learn all you can from it. And utterly relish the highs, these will be your most important memories.

I love you to infinity empion

You are a lifetime of many, many moments