Day 12: Back on the mat

Being grateful for my first yoga class in two years:

I am so excited. I’ve just attended my first yoga class in two years. Yay!

And it felt sooooooo good.

Sadly, I haven’t felt well enough since chronic fatigue set in. My beloved practice has been one of the biggest activities I’ve missed. I used to practice yoga most days either at home or at the fantastic yoga studio I was a member of in Sydney. It had the most incredible teachers and I used to go to three 90 minute yoga classes a week.

Over the last few months I’ve been slowly easing myself back into yoga by following a couple of gentle 20 minute DVD sessions at home.

While I enjoy home practice, I do like combining it with classes.  It’s not a surprise that I find that teachers challenge me more than I’m prepared to challenge myself at home. I also appreciate the variety of asanas – poses – even those I’m not particularly fond of and tend to avoid at home. Teachers have told me it’s the ones we resist are the ones we need to focus on!! Hmmmm…

Recently I’ve been feeling ready to step up my practice by trying out a yoga class. After some searching, I’m grateful to have found one one really close to home. Like 5 mins away close. The only downside is that it’s in the evening, when my energy is usually waning, but I was keen to give it a try.

As the time for me to leave grew nearer, my trepidation increased: Would I find the venue ok? Would I manage the whole class? What if it was all too much? What if I felt unwell? What would teacher Hannah be like? What would the other yogini’s be like?

Ok, Helen, breathe deeply with me now….

Finally it was time to go.

Of course, I found the venue ok, the other yogini’s were lovely, and teacher Hannah was friendly and kind.

Happily I rolled out my mat and I felt I’d come home.

Starting in savasana  – corpse pose – Hannah gently led us into mindful breathing and introduced this week’s theme, Satya, the commitment to Truthfulness.

Gently guiding us through an hour long class, she threw in a couple of the more challenging poses for good measure and to a few giggles. Just as I felt myself starting to flag and was preparing to rest in balasana – child’s pose – the class began to wind down and we were back in savasana. Sigh.

I left feeling stretched, calm, and happy in my mind, body and soul.

I am really also proud of myself for going as it was a big step in my recovery journey.

Roll on next Tuesday.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for my first yoga class in two years.

Day 7: A heavenly soak

Being grateful for my Epsom salt baths:

I never used to be a bath girl. It’s always been showers all the way.

That is until I tried an Epsom salt bath about 18 months ago.

And I haven’t looked back.

Now I love nothing more than a long soak in a hot bath: it’s absolute bliss.

They’ve become an essential part of my recovery tool kit and I take 3-4 baths a week, sometimes more if I feel I need to.

Made from a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, the health benefits of adding a  couple of cups of Epsom salts are too numerous to mention here, but my favourites are: helping to ease stress and relax the body, relieving sore muscles, and eliminating toxins from the body.

For me, they help soothe my body, mind and spirit. I find it one of THE best ways to relax.

I usually take myself off for a long yummy soak after dinner. I even find myself craving one if I’ve had a busy or stressful day, or am feeling extra fatigued.

From the moment I turn on the taps, my worries start to evaporate, and it’s guaranteed I let out a blissful sigh as soon as I sink into the hot steamy bath of goodness.

My recipe for creating the ultimate relaxing bath experience:
1. lock the bathroom door so I’m not disturbed
2. add 2 cups of Epsom salts to a running bath
3. add a tbsp of Coconut Oil to soften the skin
4. add 15-20 drops of Lavender Essential Oil or my own relaxing oil blend
5. light a few candles & pop on some gentle, relaxing music
6. lie back, enjoy and soak for at least 20 mins, maximum 40 mins

I’ve come to love my baths so much, I can’t imagine living anywhere that doesn’t have a bath. It’s one of the things I miss when I’m away.

So with that in mind, my happy today is being grateful for my yummy Epsom salt bath.