Sometimes, I'm a bit of an arsehole.

It’s not just me either. All yoga teachers and practitioners feel things.

We get cranky, swear a lot, feel jealous, and experience a whole range of ugly emotions and behaviours we’d rather not. Ok, by ‘we’, I obviously mean me. But I know a lot of fellow teachers, and we all experience varying levels of human-ness. I think it’s high time we de-bunked the myth that teachers are holier-than-thou beings of serenity and brought them back down to earth with the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong, there are teachers and practitioners out there (I think) who have these qualities, which is wonderful. I however, tend to fall into the other camp of hormonal-time-bomb-of-rage from time to time, and I think that can be a bit wonderful too – we need all sorts in this world.

I can’t tell you how many times students have stared at me agog when I’ve accidentally said ‘shit’ in class, or that one time (though while pregnant I’ll have you know), I was unable to perform Uttanasana, not because of my giant belly, but because the packet of maltesers I’d eaten before class was giving me heart burn. Yes, we do dumb stuff. Sometimes we get frustrated when our students just won’t listen. Yes, I have been known to eat KFC. Yes, sometimes I actually do care what my outer body looks like.

Recently, I have been known to feel a LOT of emotions that are relatively new to me – jealousy being a key one that has really taken me by surprise. It’s never been in my nature to be jealous – ‘Why would I be jealous? I have no right!’. The last few times the green monster has reared it’s incredibly ugly head, I have been utterly disgusted in myself, and subsequently very angry (and it goes on: anger leads to hate, hate leads to blah blah blah). I have been known to tantrum the words ‘but I don’t get jealous!’ Well suck it up sister, because here it is.

The good news is, that this is actually quite alright. The difference that being a yoga practitioner and teacher has made for me, is that when I feel all of these things (and let me tell you, our recent super moon has sent them into my sections thick and fast), I am able to step back and acknowledge that it’s ok to just be exactly as I am.

One of my dear colleagues and teachers recently wrote a bit about just ‘being’ here, and that really resonated with me. I’m not going to lie, I am really not enjoying this jealous-cranky-whingey version of myself, but I am holding on to the fact that we are always transitioning from one version of ourselves to another, and I have faith that essentially I’ll get over it and perhaps another version that I’m more keen on might arrive. In the past I would have worked my arse off trying to ‘change’ my attitude for the better, however now my attitude is one of acknowledgment.

For example: ‘I feel like a bit of an arsehole right now. Really? That’s interesting!’

So next time you are basically feeling incredibly shit, just remind yourself that nothing is permanent and change is inevitable – don’t waste all your energy fighting what you are. You’re pretty good already, even with all your ugly faces on.




This post was originally published on my old blog, which you can trawl through here

On the fear of pissing your pants.

This is a very real fear, that a lot of people have, sometimes unconsciously. I laugh about it, because to be honest, I find anything remotely related to ablutions to be funny. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who has suffered – quote ‘emergency room level constipation’ before, I’m not trying to poke fun at this fear.

When I was 13 years old, the night before the year 8 social, I wet the bed. The night before the event where I was so sure I was going to finally ‘get some’ (I didn’t, by the way), I wet the goddamn bed. I could not believe it. I had never been a bedwetter. I distinctly remember running into my parent’s room, shaking my mother awake to tell her that ‘something had happened’. I honestly thought something else had happened to me, because how could a teenager lose control like that? I wasn’t a little kid after all. Right?

Now, 15 years later, I work with women in a post natal yoga setting, where we spend a significant amount of time talking about wetting your pants when you sneeze/cough/laugh/cry. When you become pregnant and give birth, the pelvic floor cops an enormous amount of pressure (even if you deliver via c-section). In those early days, it’s not uncommon to wet your pants without realising, and many women require physiotherapy following birth to help rebuild these muscles. It can be a really debilitating experience for some women, but it is also normal.

Occasionally, I teach prenatal yoga. Time and time again I meet women who come to yoga during pregnancy in order to strengthen their pelvic floor in preparation for birth. Perhaps they have already had one or two babies, and feel that they aren’t as strong as they were with their first birth. Whatever the reason, there seems to be a concern that they are not already strong enough.

What I’ve come to wonder is, what do they fear? Why do they need to be strong? As we recline in restorative positions, we work through relaxation techniques to soften and let go, to search out tension in the body, and aim to identify where we are holding. I use these same techniques when I lie in bed at night. Sometimes it’s hard to identify tension, but more often than not, I think “Oh my god. If I let go anymore I might wet myself.” And then what. What is the worst thing that could happen.

Today I went through this with my students. Soften the pelvis. Relax the hips. Release the muscles of your pelvic floor, create space. And hey, guess what. If you are worried you might wet yourself, we’re lying on rubber mats. It’s just wee. What is actually the worst that could happen? Maybe you’ll fart. So what, we’ll probably all giggle together. Or more likely, not even notice. Perhaps you’ll cry. Also ok. We spend so much time in our everyday lives (pregnant or not, male or female), keeping it all together. Holding it all in, in case we fall apart.

So if we fall apart, then what happens? Eventually, we start putting ourselves back together again. Maybe dry our eyes. Apologise for yelling at our loved ones. Perhaps enjoy a sigh of relief. And change your pants if you need to. It’s just wee after all.


This blog post was originally published on my old blog, which you can trawl through here.