Thursday, 29 September 2011

Having Time to Lift my Arches

I have a list as long as my arm of things I intend[ed] to start doing once we moved house. I'm so pleased to know that many of these things are now part of my normal routine, but there are always improvements to be made, and I'm continuing to try and shuffle my weeks around to make sure I find space and time for everything I hope to prioritize.

Probably at the top of my list was to join a regular yoga class; something I've been striving to do for way too long! I struggled to find the motivation to attend the class in York; I was too tired, it was expensive and I had very little spare cash, and after having visited the class I knew that it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a yoga session anyway.

I was excited to find that there are two yoga classes in my new town, and both of them take place literally 750m away from my front door. On Tuesday night I set out with my yoga mat in arm, slightly nervous that the class might not be everything I ever wanted from a yoga session, but so excited to meet new people and to actually do something with my evening!

The class was relatively small compared to the York class, but there was a much broader spectrum of ages, and a good mix of both men and women. We started with a breathing exercise, and then got into a sun salutation. Even though the poses were very familiar to me, I felt stronger in and more aware of my movements, and could instantly see the benefit of being in a class as oppose to in my living room. I felt that my practise was fuller, more intense, and more mindful. The teacher noticed that my arches are quite collapsed (something I'm very conscious of and desperate to fix), and immediately showed me ways to incorporate this into my poses, standing with toes firmly pressed into the ground and arches lifting away from the floor.

It seemed to pass in a flash, and before I knew it I was lying on the floor in the dark, wrapped in a few colourful blankets. I have to confess (and I am quite ashamed to put this in writing) that the final relaxation of a yoga routine is usually replaced with a token couple of minutes in Savasana before I rush off to the next thing; rarely do I allow myself a deep, long, intense period of relaxation, and I've been aware for a while that, without this, my yoga practise is pretty much coming undone at the final moment.

I allowed myself to completely indulge in the stillness, and found myself zoning out from everything; something incredibly rare for me if I'm still awake! This period of stillness is one of the things I am trying to increase, in various ways, now I 'have time' to be still. It sounds silly, but it really is impossible to be still when time is sucked away every day by trains, work, housework and exhaustion. Only now am I really breathing in the moments around me and watching them pass by quietly.

I couldn't have asked for more in a yoga class. The sharp edges of my days are fading into soft, felt boundaries, and I am able to push and bend my routine in new ways to suit my mood, my day and the spontaneity of my surroundings. And if my arches are fixed in the process then that will be a real cherry on top!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

This Weekend.

This weekend I sampled one of the bars in my new area. It was loud and busy - four nice bars/pubs to a whole village will lead to a struggle for a seat on Friday night - and full of such a range of ages and 'types' of people (as far as you can classify different 'types' of people from observing them in a bar), all mingling, laughing and drinking together. We perched on high stools for a good while, sipping pints and indulging in the best conversation I've had in ages. We left after the second bell rang, hurried by a barman with cleaning spray, and stumbled home to late-night toast and honey and a spinning attempt to sleep. I haven't been drunk in ages, and I thoroughly enjoyed it until I lay my head on the pillow.

This weekend we had a lazy Saturday breakfast - fried with toast for him, goodness-packed for me - and tidied our house in our pyjamas. I love being at home on Saturday morning, Radio 4 murmuring in the background as the weekend gets itself started.

This weekend I explored the nearby Baildon Moor with a short but challenging run. My first attempt at fell running alone, and I was glad to see so many walkers out in case of any nasty falls. The ground was soft but firm underfoot, and I had fun bounding down the moorside with my windmill arms (the techniques are coming to me slowly!).

This weekend we hit Ikea at peak time, and I was exhasperated after only 5 minutes. We chose a sofa-bed, some bookcases, a chest of drawers and a few other useful (or completely unuseful but pretty) items. We haven't got all of it yet, but still I can't wait to start setting up our new things. Soon this will be home just as I imagine it.

This weekend we watched Black Swan. With tea and biscuits. Before bed. Cue wierd dreams.

This weekend we set out on a drizzly Sunday morning for the first bike ride in over a month. It was a fantastic way to explore the area, and I am so excited to see how close we are to rolling hills, open moorland and quaint village tearooms. It was disappointing to find that I've lost some of the fitness I gained during training for the 100-mile ride (despite a lot of difficult running since!), but I soon found that pushing through the agony and breathlessness became easier at every hill. We crossed over Ilkley Moor in a cloud of grey, and it still managed to stun me with its desolate landscape and harsh wildness.

This weekend I made ketchup with my green tomatoes. I have lots of red ones ready for pasta tomorrow, but wanted to make use of the abundance of green fruits so that we can put my first 'grow your own' project to bed (they are currently sitting in our living room, and the fruit flies are pretty gross!). My kitchen is a wreck, but I have two jars of brown sauce (green tomatoes + red wine vinegar = brown ketchup!) which I look forward to serving at every dinner party ("ketchup with the curry anyone?").

Now I am being summoned for furniture assembly tasks! I can't wait to show you around!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Weekend Plans

Friday again. I am loving life right now and the weeks are spinning past.

This weekend I plan to...

...finish furnishing the house with a much-needed trip to Ikea further into my new book until I can't put it down (I've started reading '100 Years of Solitude', of which I have only heard fantastic reviews)

...take time to be still, both on my yoga mat and off it

...explore the nearby Baildon Moor in my running shoes

...explore a new place in our new local area

...get on my bike, for the first time since our big race

...write a letter to my Grandma

...get back into the swing of blogging

Life has taken a turn for the peaceful. I can't wait to share more of it with you!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Almost Back

It's been a while! A whistle-stop round-up of the past two weeks:

- We said goodbye to our rickety, ramshackle house in York and moved ourselves (with some help) to a modern flat in a village near Bradford. We can see the moors from our window, there are no draughts, and I can sit cross-legged in the bath.

- I took part in a 14-mile fell race, where I got lost and added a few hills and an extra mile to the fun. Officially the hardest challenge yet!

- I created a yoga studio in our new house, which is slowly being taken over as Daniel's room for discarded things.

- I spent a week at a conference in Birmingham where I tried to establish a routine with smelly canal runs in the morning, just-add-water porridge and 9pm bedtimes.

- The new house became home as I dragged my tired self up the stairs, soaking wet from the Pennine rains (which never stop for long!) and exhausted from the noise of Birmingham.

- I took part in the best race of my life so far - a 7-mile fell run over Ilkley Moor (bah tat, no less) where the mud came up to my knees and I almost lost my shoe - and came last! What a humbling experience!

- I celebrated my one year anniversary of being a full-time employee.

- I joined a book group.

Internet should return to our lives tomorrow. I've enjoyed this break from everything electronic, but blogging and University Challenge will be welcomed back into open arms :-)