It’s about as overdue as a Southern Rail train on a blustery, wet February morning but the time has in fact, finally arrived.
I am going on Teacher Training in April. Deposit paid. Flights booked.
I’ll be training at the Raja Yoga Academy with Craig Villani. Apart from the to-be-expected excitement and terror, I’m also a little bewildered. I know that seems an unfitting emotion for someone who’s been wanting to do this for six years but I’m not where I thought I would be come this day.
Two years ago, when I felt really ready for teacher training, I was slim and my practise was strong and focussed. But then I started to put on weight and my practise changed. I have a very on again off again thing with my weight and it’s directly related to being in a relationship. It’s not unusual for me to drop almost two dress sizes in the first few months of a relationship. I remain slim throughout, and for a year or two afterward, and then slowly I put it back on again. The weight gain, along with a handful of other challenges, saw me struggle with my practise.
Consequently I have been waiting to get back to where I was two years ago: for my practise to regain its strength and focus and for the weight to fall off, neither of which has happened. I realised one day last year that waiting for my practise to be the best it’s been and for my body to be slim and toned was hugely hypocritical. When I talk about what I love about yoga I don’t only talk about the healing it has brought to my body and mind. I talk about how much I love the fact that, when you really get into yoga you realise that not every yoga teacher has the perfect practise, or the perfect yoga body. I love that some my favourite teachers aren’t slim, toned or super-flexible. Of course some of them are but by no means all of them. Their practise, like ours, fluctuates, as does their weight. I love that when I walk into a yoga class I don’t find myself feeling awkward because I’m the only one with a tummy, bingo wings and dark eye bags. I love that we are all different shapes and sizes. Yet, despite this I have still managed to get caught up in this weird little drama that didn’t allow me to go on teacher training until I was slim and toned.
I’ve been working on that a little bit and it’s helped to shift my “waiting until” story.
But it wasn’t the only thing.
I have just spent two months in South Africa with my family following the very sudden, unexpected death of my brother-in-law. He had been in my life since I was a toddler and having never known life without him he was never my brother-in-law: he was always my brother. I respected him, and I loved him. I idolised him. And he loved me back in a way that said I was also not a sister-in-law, I was the little sister of the love of his life and as such I was his little sister too. We all loved him dearly and depended on him greatly: more, I think, than we had realised. He was the constant and consistent rock of our whole family and for this reason I think we all just assumed he’d be there for us, for many many years to come. His passing has been a deeply challenging thing to come to terms with, not that many of us have yet. Even now, three months on, I still flinch when I hear the words “when Mark died” and I find it even harder to say them. I continue to refer to it loosely, and have refused to say the actual words more than a handful of times. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and despair of my sister and nephews. So full of life, laughter, nonsense and adventure he was. He and my sister were so looking forward to this year when he’d semi-retire and they could do some travelling. Mark told me more than once that by cutting down to three days a week they’d be able to go away for long weekends, go to new places, explore. “Next year” used to be just around the corner. It’s utterly, immeasurably heartbreaking.
But somewhere in amongst the overwhelming sorrow, heartache and fury, there is a resounding message that I carry with me from this tragedy: live life with purpose, and do it now.
So I am.
The ‘do it now’ letter holder is my mom’s which she’s had for forever. I’ve never really paid much attention to it but suddenly, during my time at home whilst making the decision to go on training sooner rather than later, it caught my eye nearly every day that I was there.
Do it now indeed.