Time – Slow down, please!

I received a phone call the other day from my Mum who was nearing the end of her three week island hopping holiday through Greece. Initially I thought we must have had a bad line but it soon became apparent that my mum was extremely upset – she couldn’t cope with being away from home for so long and the fact that nothing was in her control. At that moment I knew exactly what to say and how to reassure her, it happened instinctively. After the phone call ended I thought about the times I have rung my mum crying – her voice and words would so easily calm me. I thought about the times you see a child fall over and the way they look to their parents for that security, whether it be in a smile or a cuddle. It made me think about how a parent feels when their child goes to Uni, or even more relevant to where this is going, how does a child feel if you have to put a parent into a nursing home? When does it hit you that role reversal has already happened? When did I gain the ability to calm my mum down the way she did so well when I was younger? More to the point how does it feel to get older and realise you are starting to rely more and more on your children?

I recently asked a question on Facebook “What is the worst thing about getting “old” or what you imagine will be?”, the answers really hit home, here’s some of them:

  1. Loneliness
  2. No longer being able to speak to Mum and Dad  (I still cry at this one)
  3. Peoples perception of you change due to a number
  4. Fear of change
  5. Not achieving your goals
  6. Becoming dependent on others

The one that was mentioned most was losing your mental and physical ability which for me is terrifying, my Grandma passed away after suffering from dementia for nearly 10 years, my Nana has recently under gone surgery after she broke her hip – it has consumed her, she rarely leaves the house. My Grandad is 90, he still drives but his knees ache and I sense a feeling of him being a little lost – I can’t imagine how different the world looks for him now!

3 generations.jpg

Three generations

” Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone”

” Enjoy your body use it every way you can ,don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own”

“Get to know your parents you never know when they’ll be gone”

Quindon Tarver – ” Wear sunscreen”

A truly excellent song that sums up where I am taking this.

Our bodies and our minds are the most individual and exceptional things we will ever have, together they make us who we are. Your body is designed to move and stretch (ahem) as well as your mind being there to learn and expand – Don’t ever take that for granted. As we grow older the physical movements might not be as big and our minds might not be as sharp but we learn to adapt, we give our knees a longer rest that have been holding us up for 60+ years, we focus more on keeping a healthy spine and back and we may have to occasionally take a step back, a deep breath and acknowledge just how much the world has changed; but this is all inevitable and we are all going to be in that same situation eventually, so love your body and use it however you can, when it gets tired give it a chance to rest. Keep stretching your mind but if things become over whelming don’t be afraid to ask for help – whether it be from your mum or your daughter.

Stay young at heart – Grace xxx

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Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose; its a little bit like Marmite you will either love it or hate it, however hate is such a strong word to use as a nature loving hippie Yogi so let me rephrase that – Pigeon Pose will grow with you over time throughout your practice, in the beginning there might be a feeling of exploding knees and glutes, but as time passes and your practice deepens Pigeon Pose will slowly creep in and become a posture that can give you the most wonderful release, both mentally and physically.

 

Don’t be too eager to bend your body into postures it’s not ready for, remember the human body is like iron – the warmer it is the more flexible it can become. Before you turn your body into a little pigeon make sure you warm up with some Sun Salutations, if its your first time trying this posture i would recommend a couple of blocks to give your body some support.

 

pigeon-with-block

Pigeon Pose with use of blocks

Make sure your back leg is extended straight down your mat, then pop a block under the glute/thigh of the bend leg, the further away from your body you have the foot of the bent leg the more intense the pose will be. Try to lift and move your hips so they are sitting square as appose to falling to the side. Finally extend your hands forward laying your chest over the bent leg, use a block under your forehead if needed before using every exhale to relax your body deeper into the pose. Repeat on the opposite side.

 

 

pigeon-pose

Pigeon Pose

Next gently start to remove the blocks whilst being mindful of any discomfort in the knee, keep the extended leg straight back down your mat and the hips square. Extend your hands forward and rest your forehead to the mat. Depending on your body and level of practice hold this posture for 5-10 breathes. Repeat opposite side.

 

pigeon-with-mermaid-variation

Pigeon Pose with mermaid variation

Once you become comfortable in the above postures you can start to bring Pigeon Pose into a heart opening posture too. You will need to be able to sit up and take your hands off the ground whilst keeping your hips square. Keep pushing your glutes down to the ground as you bring the back foot up, from here place the top of your foot into the elbow crease of the same arm; for example if you look in the picture my right foot is snuggled in to my right elbow joint. Finally begin to lift and open the chest bringing the other arm behind you to create a bind. Avoid any strain on the neck by keeping your gaze straight forward. Repeat opposite side.

 

king-pigeon-pose

One Legged King Pigeon Pose

Don’t underestimate this posture or any heart opening asanas, they can release all sorts of emotions; i can end up quite teary – not because i’m in any pain or discomfort its more a sense of total release and openness. There are a couple of different ways to achieve One Legged King Pigeon Pose; if you have open shoulders and thoracic try bending your back leg bringing the foot off the ground, then as you inhale reach the hands up and back finding your foot. Keep your breath deep but steady as you allow your head to drop back guiding your toes to your forehead. The other way to achieve this posture is by “flipping your grip”, bend the extended leg and take hold of it with your right hand (i’ll use my photo as an example), start to change your grip by directing your elbow up and back – guide your foot to your forehead and once there bring your left hand back to meet your right. Whichever way you choose to enter this asana keep lifting the rib cage, opening the heart and releasing the entire spine. Rest your body in Pigeon Pose before repeating on the other side.

 

If you’re a pigeon with blocks or a crown, enjoy either way.

Namaste

Grace xxx