My very first email address was spacecowgirl. I wasn’t a big Jamiroquai fan so I think my reason for picking the name was actually more to do with liking the idea of being a cowgirl, in space, because I was 12 and, why the hell not?
History backs this up because I did go on to be a cowgirl, spending three months in outback Australia when I was 18. It was hard and dirty work but I was living my dream and I loved it. I was working with horses, in space.
The long and winding road on the beautiful island of La Palma
Sleepiness, tiredness, fatigue, exhaustion – no matter how strongly we feel it, it’s not pleasant. It weighs us down, makes everything feel more difficult and stops us from engaging fully in life. The reasons for fatigue are many and it can feel like a mystery to solve. How can I feel more rested, more awake, more energised?
Having suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) this is a question I asked myself a lot over the years. I experimented, finding things that helped and things that didn’t. Some things I kept doing, other things I tried for a while and have never gone back to. What has stuck with me over the years is my yoga practice.
I almost didn’t try it in the first place. I was warned off yoga by a physiotherapist who felt that holding static postures would not be helpful to someone with CFS. But she was reducing yoga to one aspect of it. She didn’t know that it is designed to be holistic, balanced and adapted to the individual, and there’s a lot more to it than holding static postures.
I ignored the advice, started to practise it and found great benefit. It wasn’t a magic cure but it was like being given a set of keys – which is ultimately far more valuable.
Over the years I have found so many reasons why yoga helps with fatigue, but here are just 5 to inspire you onto your mat and into more energy.
Yoga in Goa
People practise yoga for their own reasons and there are many. At the start of a yoga course or retreat, the teacher normally asks you what your reasons are – what you hope to gain, what would make a difference to you in your life.
For some people the aim is ‘the truth’, ‘enlightenment’, for some people the aim is ‘a nice butt’. For most the motivation is a mix of reasons somewhere between those two extremes and the reasons are ever-changing, ever-growing. But in a whole world of yoga, it can be easy to lose yourself to what other people are selling, rather than staying true to what you want out of your practice.
Yoga for me has never been about sculpting my body (although of course I would graciously accept a butt lift as a side effect of my practice, let’s not be churlish here) but at times I have lost focus as to what yoga really means to me and why I am doing it at all.
My first experience with Iyengar yoga was in a restorative class in Kathmandu. The city, with its constant rush and swirl of activity, calls for a restorative class from time to time.
The teacher instructed us to move into child’s pose, balasana. It was a moment of complete relaxation, a chance to let my shoulders roll blissfully forward, stretching out my back and neck from any of the tension that had built up there. My stomach was gently compressed and I could feel the breath in my back in a gentle releasing massage. I could have slept quite happily there, rolling peacefully in the waves of my breath. I moved further into the sensation, my mind slowly waking up to my body. [continue reading…]