I never really thought of myself as a blogger/writer, but, ironically, my thoughts have actually found me. Call it manifestation or even dreaming out loud, but whatever it is, it is fun. As a yoga teacher, I’m always seeking, observing and obtaining things for reference in my classes. It doesn’t have to be for a ‘peak pose’ or focus-based practice (peak pose is a sequential format of yoga postures or asanas that allow your body to tap into and, thus, prepare or accomplish a challenging asana) it can be what I witness on my journey to the supermarket to purchase my 46p broccoli, or it could be something I experience personally.
My last experience pretty much threw me though. Nope, we are not talking about a trajectory from a horse, although that story can wait for another blog, we are talking rollercoasters, fast ones and only done recently at a theme park. I think it’s fair to say, its terror with fun strapped to your body, and I knew, as soon as the strap was actually fastened to my body, that I was terrified. It brought back a distant memory of climbing the Helter Skelter, on the North Pier in Blackpool (I was ten years old). I climbed all the way to the top, yep, carrying a doormat to slide back down on. Trouble is, there were people following behind, and the steps were narrow and high and, they too were carrying their doormats. I reached the summit and bailed, terror set in, and to every ‘tutting’ person, I repeatedly excused myself, stair by stair, to the bottom.
This time though, there isn’t a ‘bail out’ option, so strapped in, I’m launched, twisted and rolled; it’s bit like a death roll without being eaten, and, no disrespect to those Australian crocs, but, I actually
loved the experience! Enough to gift me the inspiration for preparing handstands in the weeks’ following class sequences: fun but terrifying, flipped and ‘unflipped,’ with, of course, a bail out
There’s a child within all of us, that little person, who secretly wants to try something fun or ‘break out’ from their routines and regimes. Yoga is my work, my badge of decisions, my office of duty, and, like anything we are commissioned to do, it can own every thought, and take up residence in a tired mind. Blogging/writing allows my mind to exhibit and display another badge, and, it can be rollercoasters to earthquakes, although, as explained in my last blog, there is, actually, a stark relationship between the two.
I often get asked by my students how I unwind (no reference to that infamous rollercoaster again) and detach from Yoga, and, given that anything that is ‘unwinding’ probably is Yoga, I have developed a love of films, especially espionage, crime thrillers and of course, anything with a horse in it, so Netflix and an avid collection of DVDs (along with the odd visit to Thorpe Park) seems to fill my cup. It’s like the Yang to my Yin (and I actually teach Yin Yoga, so there you go, Yoga does get everywhere).
I have (secretly) sequenced juicy Vinyasa Flow yoga routines, after a few hours of watching Tom, freefalling from the Burj Khalifa, in Ghost Protocol, and, can, unashamedly, admit to weaving some
scenes from The Horse Whispering Rob into my ‘grounding’ (chair and downward dog) Hatha classes. Yin is a tricky one, because it’s a still, dark and deep practice, so, even though I haven’t yet done it, maybe Jaws could be the thing that precipitates into that class? But then that takes me back to the death rolling, terrifying Helter Skelter, the one which Nemesis, at Thorpe Park, ironically, changed my terror into strapped- in fun.
It begins with a slow rumble, then builds in speed, volume and tenacity, before you feel the earth moving like a travelator, but with side movement and no hand rails. No, I’m not talking about sex (get your mind off that), I’m talking about earthquake number one. This was what changed my decisions about life after spending 21 years in New Zealand.
Cast your mind back circa September 2010. It was a time never to be forgotten. Some of you were settling in to bed and some would have been enjoying breakfast, I was, literally, being shaken up to a new life………
It was a sign? A catalyst? Or just about the push I needed to find me, Aly Stringer. Some would call it an epiphany, some would call it panic, but, I was a 43 year old, mother of two boys, who had decided that panic wasn’t on my life menu, I mean, the boys seemed fine.’ She-be-right’ (a popular idiom, used in New Zealand and Australia that expresses belief that, whatever is wrong, will right itself with time) appeared to make its appearance, quite a lot. ‘She-be- right’ in body and mind, but in heart, ‘she’ was definitely not. No matter how things are ‘out there’, it’s inside that little pulsing muscle, where the ground stops shaking and that travelator slows down enough to be able step off, at least for a while anyway.
Hit fast forward and eight years later. England. Blighty. God’s Country. And, as a Yorkshire lass, born and bred, I can only say, ‘Tha can’t beat a good bit o’ soil!’
You see, it is about heart, it’s about love and it’s about that good bit o’ soil and the smell of that green grass from which it grows (which is, by the way, very green). This is where my ancestors began forging their incredible lives. I don’t really think I appreciated what I had, when I did have it. I didn’t really think the battle of Hastings in 1066 was that important, and I never took note of The Wars of The Roses in 1455. Guy Fawkes’ 1605 gunpowder plot had faded into the flames of New Zealand’s November heat, and I never really felt any pride or consideration that my Junior school celebrated a 100 years old anniversary (I was 5), but now that I’m half way towards being hundred years old, I realise it is important, and it does matter, to me, anyway.
I spent the first year back home, soaking in what England is: ancient history, kinship, quirky village people, Walkers crisps, broccoli at 46p, and Christmas. Yes, Christmas. It’s like an assault on my senses. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s damp and very dark (usually around 4/4.30pm) which, I might add, is what Christmas is, for me, anyway. It doesn’t stop there, because we have Spring, which for me, means thousands, yes thousands, of daffodils, plump white Spring lambs (running around on that very green grass). I had even forgotten how solid and fat the lambs are. Everything is solid, even the horses, which come in every size, shape and colour.
These define my roots, solid and stable, not shaking and rumbling. Life is a fascinating parody of sarcasm and sincerity, moaning and laughter. One day I’m deep breathing and reciting yoga sequences at traffic lights, the next, my yoga brain is being challenged by TK Maxx, and it’s ability to beckon me to a smorgasbord of bargains, which, believe it or not, also come in every size, shape and colour.
Ping forward one year, and is raining. Lots. I start to wonder why? Then it occurs to me that, the weather is the ‘other‘ reason the grass is actually so green! Yes, yes it rains, but, it actually makes no difference to that sarcasm and sincerity, nor the moaning and laughter!
The satire and wit is profound here. It’s all about the delivery, the timing of the words said, the facial expression, plus the inaugural description of the event. I find myself ‘mentally’ at the event, with the person telling me. The punchlines are waggishly funny, yet said story tellers remain unmoved. Perfect sarcasm and a perfect antidote to the moaning. Moaning about everything, especially the rain. So, upon reflection of my first blog, I won’t let the rain dampen my spirits and the moaning? Well, ‘she-be right,’ because she be home.