I’m so happy to have connected with Emma, a health blogger over at Consciously Healthy where she shares her health journey and experiences of living with chronic illness.
Today she is sharing her yoga journey, and how it has supported her. I love how Emma’s experience illustrates the healing power of a regular yoga practice and how it often guides us to what we need (not necessarily what we want). I love Emma’s advice and the reminder of what Yoga is all about; connection with ourselves.
- Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Emma, 33, and I am a health and wellness blogger over at Consciously Healthy.
I Initially trained as a Reflexologist and Holistic Health Coach, but am currently on my own healing journey from long term ME/CFS. My own personal experience has lead me to explore and learn so much about all aspects of holistic healing, including Nutrition, Yoga, Psychology and Spirituality.
I love walks in Nature, Yoga, Photography and spending time with my gorgeous family and friends. I absolutely love the beach, sunshine and swimming in the ocean (although I live in England so don’t get to experience the last three things as much as I would love to!
- Everyone who has ended up on a yoga mat raising their arms in their first sun salutation has a story of what led them there. What’s yours?
I first came across yoga when I was around 20. I was three years into having ME/CFS and my Mum (who teaches yoga) introduced me to some very gentle yoga stretches. It was at a time when I was pretty much housebound so it was a way of moving my body in a supportive yet therapeutic way. Yoga has been a part of my life ever since.
- What keeps you returning to your yoga mat?
How I feel when I’m on the mat in comparison to how I feel when I go a few days without my Yoga practice! If I go a few days without practicing some form of Yoga my body feels all stiff and out of sorts. This alone always keeps me coming back to my mat.
Yoga is also one of the things that grounds me, connects me back to my body and calms my mind. So if I am feeling a little overwhelmed with life or disconnected, Yoga is the first place I go. To me, Yoga feels like a moving meditation and calms everything right down, connecting me back to my body, myself and the present moment.
- How has your yoga practice filtered through to your everyday life?
Yoga has definitely helped me slow down and I think this is the main way it has filtered into my everyday life. I used to be someone who went through life at one hundred miles an hour, pushing myself hard to achieve and racing from one thing to the next. You can’t really race through a Yoga session! You have to be present and connected to your body and breath. Practicing this has been so healing for me personally. It has definitely helped me become more present in my day to day life.
- What is your favourite yoga pose, breathing practice or mantra?
My favourite Yoga pose is definitely The Dancer. I love how open, uplifting and strong it feels. It’s a pose where you need to focus on feeling rooted and centred, which has been a key part of my own personal healing journey (for many years I was very disconnected from my body and my authentic self – without even realising it). When practicing Dancer pose I always imagine strong roots coming down from my supporting leg and feel the connection to my core. I love the opening feeling in the hips too. It’s a gorgeous pose.
- What advice do you have for those just starting out on their yoga journey?
Be kind to yourself!
Remember Yoga is a practice. Something to embrace and allow to unfold and develop at a pace that suits you. It’s not about achievements or comparisons or flipping your body into headstands and crazy postures, but about connecting back to your own body in a way that is personal to you.
Don’t expect too much too soon, just take the time to enjoy the feeling of your own practice, as it is right now.
- How has your yoga practice evolved over time?
My Yoga Practice has changed year to year. When I began practicing Yoga over ten years ago, it was purely about the physical side of it. Back then it was literally about incorporating some incredibly gentle stretches into my daily life. As time has gone on, I have connected to my Yoga practice in a much deeper way. For me now, it feels like a spiritual practice that kind of merges my body and soul together. I mentioned earlier in this chat that it feels like a moving meditation for me, and that really is the case. I sink down into my body during my yoga practice, feeling each posture fully, whilst also letting my breath guide me and my mind gradually quieten. I have had some beautiful healing experiences during my yoga practice in more recent months, that I never experienced in the early years.
On a physical level, my Yoga practice changes year to year, always guided by my body. If I am feeling stronger I advance my asana a little, if I am having a tough time with my energy or physical health I focus on restorative Yoga and lots of gentle breath work.
- What are you loving right now?
It’s winter here in England, so I am absolutely loving making my home all snuggly and cosy. I think making our environment comfortable is so important. I love blankets, candles, comfy cushions, herbal teas, beautiful books and my oil burner diffusing essential oils (today is Rosemary, Lavender and Lemon). I’ve just bought the most beautiful cream wool rug for my lounge, that’s my current favourite cosy item!
9. How do you nurture yourself?
My favourite way to nurture myself is to get a massage. I think this is the ultimate act of self-care and so wonderfully relaxing.
But on a day to day basis? I like to practice little acts of self-love. This might be a walk in nature, using some gorgeous natural bath products or doing some breathing exercises. I think a really important way of nurturing myself is making sure I speak kindly to myself. For so many years I was extremely hard on myself, as so many of us can be. Learning to treat myself how I would treat a loved one, is one of the most important ways I nurture myself I think.
- What wisdom has your yoga practice revealed to you that you’d like to share with us?
Alongside the lessons that have come directly as a result of my own healing journey, Yoga has helped me learn to be more present. To watch things unfold. To know there is no urgency. It has also taught me that life is an ever evolving journey always with more to learn… as is our Yoga practice!
Emma is blogger over at Consciously Healthy, where she shares thoughts around her ongoing journey with long-term health conditions, including ME/CFS, Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Insufficiency.
Passionate about sharing her own learnings and experience to help empower others on their own pathway to health and wellbeing, and known for her honest, yet uplifting approach to her work, Emma has a way of connecting with her readers that feels real and authentic.
When Emma isn’t writing, you’ll find her curled up with a herbal tea, spending time with her nephew or exploring her newfound love of photography.