Yoga has been invaluable to me. It has provided me with so many tools and lessons.
I had dabbled in yoga and meditation on and off over the years but I did not fully embrace yoga and appreciate its benefits until about two years after my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer.
My husband was stable, my children were toddlers and I was back at work. It was time to start caring for me.
I tried out a local yoga centre (Manly Yoga) that held classes for ninety minutes. I mainly attended for all the postures and poses – for strengthening and flexibility. Yet I soon discovered that the breathing and relaxation techniques were equally if not more important. The structure of the class was usually ten minutes of breathing and settling, fifty minutes of poses and then 30minutes of relaxation or meditation at the end.
Ten years earlier, I would have been frustrated and bored by the first ten minutes of the class settling and breathing, and the final thirty minutes of the class spent lying down relaxing. However this time as I attended these classes I realised that I needed these tools to quieten my mind, nourish my body and deeply rest.
Yoga became a regular part of my routine and was one of the key tools that sustained me throughout all the challenges of my journey. My mother would come over to mind the kids for me so that I could attend a weekly class. Sometimes I would say to her that I was too tired or too busy and she would always gently encourage me to go – because whenever I did I returned with a calmer mind and clarity on next steps – no matter how small. I returned more present, more grounded and more rested. I had topped up my energy tank a little so that I could continue caring for my husband and my kids and be a bit more prepared for whatever was ahead.