When I started writing this blog entry on sunday I was sat on the beach at Woolacombe leaning against a rock, enjoying the September sun but trying to hide from the powerful wind. I was damp from the sea, covered in sand and shielding my eyes from the sand being blown around with a scarf wrapped round my head.
I hadn’t planned to go in the sea at that time, and certainly was not prepared. I had been walking down the beach and suddenly had the urge to get in the sea. Thought to myself I will walk back to the car in a bit to get my bikini and towel and then suddenly changed my mind. I didn’t want to wait. I didn’t care what was sensible. I wanted to go in the water then and there!!
Fortunately (for everyone else) the side of the beach I was on wasn’t busy so I stripped off and ran in!! It was the best feeling ever!! So invigorating! So energising! That true feeling of the waves crashing around you and washing away the stresses and emotions to somewhere far away…….
This weekend I was on a yoga retreat with Helena Bingham and crew a Natsley Farm in North Devon. The location was AMAZING!! Its such a fantastic house, huge spaces and its own heated pool and hot tub. I don’t think I’ve every stayed in a holiday rental quite so luxurious and in such a stunning location. Would HIGHLY recommend it for anyone wanting to go away in a bigger group ( http://www.natsleyfarm.co.uk/about).
It was also a great group of Helena’s friends, all with their own fantastic qualities and quirks 😉 It was so interesting to speak to people with completely different lifestyles/backgrounds but yet with one thing in common…. yoga. In a strange way you also open up more to new people in these environments too. I learnt a lot from the group with their advice and their ways of living. So many different hints and tips on things that could help with my various ailments, even simple things like adding some extra spices into my diet.
The weekend involved over 8 hours of intense yoga….. strong sessions on hip openers and shoulder openers…. Yin yoga with hideous 5 minute holds… breathing exercises… meditation…. Yoga nidra (finding that blissful place somewhere between consciousness and sleep where you are truly at rest).
The saturday/sunday afternoons were left unstructured for our own time. I found this all a tad overwhelming. There was no one to suggest I did anything, it was all my own decision. Did I want to go for a walk? Or did I just think I ought to go for a walk for exercise and to make the most of being there, rather than because I WANTed to?? Did I want to just chill out? Did I want to be in the pool? Did I want to read? etc etc…. Too many choices… not enough structure. I think I’m so used to planning out my days around hospital visits, classes, seeing friends that I don’t stop and think what I actually want to do in that moment. I just plan my days so I don’t have that opportunity. Then when given that opportunity this weekend, I really struggled!!
When you take all the stresses of everyday life away, what do you actually want to do?!?!
With all the choices and all the intense yoga sessions by the sunday afternoon I got myself in a bit of a jittery state! I was crying, but I didn’t really know why. I didn’t know what to do with myself! It was like the flood gates had opened. A couple of the girls were still around and chatted with me and helped to support me. Maria suggested I go to the beach, initially I wasn’t sure as I didn’t want to drive, but when I got there it was just beautiful. Coming down the hill into Woolacombe with the sun shining, it was just stunning.
This is what led to the skinny dip on the beach! I walked one way down crying, and after my swim and journal writing I walked the other way almost smiling.
Sunday evening/Monday things still weren’t quite right with me. I was still a bit jittery, and it was quite a tough journey home with bowel issues (probably purging the emotions fromt he yoga too) and bad traffic. But when I got in and finally relaxed in bed I had the best nights sleep I have had for aaaaaaggess!!! Even my garmin watch agrees with me!
So over the next few weeks I plan to set aside time to establish what I need to learn from this weekend. What I can take from this weekend… what have I learnt about myself and from others. What would I benefit from continuing in the daily/weekly routine. e.g. daily practice/meditation, eating a healthier plant based diet, spending more time being in the moment.
Focus on the here and now…..