Traditionally in yoga, 108 is the sacred number. 108 sun salutations, 108 prayer beads, 108 sacred sites. But this weekend has been all about the number two for me – a couple, or double; a pair. Two days of the Om Yoga Show, two hours’ practice each day. Two green juices both days to fuel my asanas; two hands firmly planted into the earth with two feet reaching up high into the sky.
No, I didn’t mix those last two up. One of the highlights of my weekend was a handstand workshop. I was nervous beforehand, and the instructors did say that fear is what holds most of us back from being able to do a handstand. They’re not wrong there. I learned lots of new tips to improve my inversions, and even got up into a handstand in the middle of the floor. OK, so I had a spotter who made me feel super safe – and they definitely let go at one point so I was freestanding!
I also got the chance to try out three different types of yoga – Iyengar, boxing and Jivamukti. I have always just “done” yoga without a thought of which school I was, adding in and taking away bits as I felt necessary, though the Jivamukti class really resonated with me. The teacher was bursting with energy (Andrea Everingham of One Yoga Studio in Chorlton, if you’re local!), the music loud, and the flow fast. We got to do stuff I love like balances, back bends, and inversions, and I really felt like I opened new doors in my practise – I did crabs, crows, and I nearly did a one-legged arm balance before faceplanting. I didn’t mind though! I firmly believe that what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you and it was great to take my yoga practise outside of the box.
The Freeths of the Freestyle Yoga Project ran the handstand workshop I went to on the Saturday, and Mark was telling us about the progress he’s making with one-armed handstand. He can showed us how he can do it against the wall, and is working on freestanding. I was thinking about this whilst watching the couple’s demonstration later that day – if these guys are still working on poses and appreciating their progress, then I shouldn’t be too hard on myself when I don’t get crow or headstand press straight away. Everyone is at their own stage of practise and progress can’t be forced.
There were some awesome stands to nosy about, too, but sadly the intention I set was to not buy any more crazy patterned leggings. I have to save pennies! Sad though as I could have easily spent on peacock Onzies or galaxy Teekis. I did allow myself to buy some foodie bits though – I’ve newly discovered 9 Bars (I know, where have I been?), chocolate Koko milk and Chi coconut water lattes, which are made from 100% coconut water.
I’m so inspired and excited now to get back onto my mat to put the knowledge and courage I’ve gained this weekend to good use – I feel I’ve been able to let go of some fear with the help of experienced instructors, spotters and helpers. My only problem with the show? That it’s not every weekend! Seriously, it was such an incredible experience, I will certainly be there again next year.
Namaste, Om Yoga Show!