Last year was all about letting go. I did that ... and with a much lighter load ran headlong into 2015. This year was about restoration, moving forward and bringing it onnnnn...
All my lovely pilates people came back and the classes are again bubbling with fantastic folks, all willing to explore and be curious about their bodies. Thank you thank YOU lovely people - it's a privilege to see you all each week and I can't tell you how much I had missed our little community. (Tuesday nighters - this picture captures your spirit so well - I just love it x).
From your firm base, I decided to brave new geographies and found some beautiful studios to share the MELT Rub and Roll Workshops with: Inspirefit in Dunfermline and Union Yoga in Edinburgh are now hopefully regular venues.
Muchah gratitudiness to all the wonderful guest speakers who took the Stirling sessions to a new interesting level: Polly Douglas Nutrition introduced us to detoxy goodness, Anne Casey Yoga gave us our breath back, Nikki Grant of First for Footcare arrived with some revealing details about why we walk the way we do; Karen Harris arrived with dressing up (see me as colon!), teaching us how adhesions and organ position can affect the menstrual cycle; and Helen's Therapeutics introduced us to her Myofascial Release Massage and finger condoms!
More is planned for 2016 with Polly, Nikki and Karen already confirmed to come again with even more surprise and interest; and a quick heads up for an exciting all day-er workshop (in May) for Pelvic Pain, with the fabulous Elaine Miller from Gusset Grippers (who is not only a pelvic floor specialist but a comedienne and Edinburgh fringe sensation). It's difficult to move a body that is sore and these workshops have been a stepping stone for many to start to move more easily and more often.
A decade-old dream of Becoming a Yoga Teacher became real (yeayyyy!!!! see the end of this post for more about that). Not only that but I finished the comprehensive pilates equipment teacher training, deepened my knowledge of natural movement and connective tissue AND set up some holiday retreats with my lovely friend Sandy, from Movement Alchemy, to move, dance and smile with some like minded friends.
I travelled to London, The Netherlands; New York, Spain (three times) and Dublin twice. I finally started offering one to one sessions at Physiofocus and introduced new classes at Beechwood Scout Hut, Stirling University and The Yoga Tree.
I became a pescatarian, started restoring my own body to a healthier place and oh......I turned 50 and got married too! (see newsletter)
Did I maybe do a leeetle bitty too much as I look towards the festive season and take a breath? ...nope... after a year and a half of feeling that life was at best on hold and at worst precarious, I ran and I ran and I ran with a big fat HUGE grin on my face.
It has been a tough year for many of my clients with family injury and illness, stress at work and a few losses. And to those who found that 2015 was their annus horribilus, know that things can change... that maybe next year will open doors for YOUR new experiences, for new adventure, for new beginnings; for building on - rather than forgetting - sad memories, and perhaps nurturing some healthier habits.
"Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place."
Thanks everyone for being my family, my friend, my tribe, my community, my teachers and sometimes all of the above - for helping my passions stay alive, holding my hand and keeping me grounded. My own practice continues to grow and evolve; and as I become more confident in bringing the other modalities into class, I hope yours does too. Yoga and pilates principles are now woven together with a blend of Nutricious Movement and reconnection to more primal neuro pathways. The old and the new. The traditional and contemporary.
2016 will be a creative year for me... I want to experiment and push boundaries and I hope to take my clients with me on that journey. New Retreats to Ireland, Scotland and Spain are on the cards; and deeper explorations inside ourselves in both classes and workshops as we evolve together.
Come ... join in... be brave with me... or just hold my hand. Go on - I've gotcha!
Becoming a Yoga Teacher
Suryalila was a magical setting for achieving a dream. A perfect retreat in southern Spain, with world class teachers and an amazing group of people who had decided that they too wanted to become A Yoga Teacher.
I arrived without luggage in the middle of the night and had to find the last empty bed in a dorm full of people I had never met before – in the dark…with the torch on my phone. Ooops sorry…ooops sorry… ouch…ahhh…
On waking, I had my first humbling experience when I realised I was going to have to ask compete strangers if I could borrow their underpants! As you’d expect everyone was brilliant and after 5 days without any belongings it became apparent that I needed very little – what a great introduction to detachment.
Yoga frightened the heck out of me. What on earth are you doing! With legs behind shoulders and rib popping back bends, shoulder stands, head stands and pop music. What the...???
I'm going to injure myself. I'm going too fast. I'm NOT doing that at all. All these people are going to hurt themselves. STOP!
Try it Kirsty.. be canny... but just try it. And I amazed myself. I could move things that hadn't moved before and felt restrictions I didn't know I had.
Over these intensive, emotional, and incredibly inspiring three weeks I came to feel excited …and free. I wondered at the things I found in my body and this new language of movement. I had forgotten what it felt like to push my boundaries and move to unfamiliar places. I hadn't even realised that I couldn't do that! I had NO idea that my left could and my right couldn't.
My pilates teacher hat was pressed so firmly down on my head that I had restricted my sight to only "safe" places, to what I thought I could do, to what I KNEW I could already do. It's difficult to move things that hurt. Being a teacher for people who are chronically sore (and having had recent experience of pain and rehab myself) I had limited, reduced and sanitised movement, to be safe and conservative – and in suiting this mindset I had lost some of my creativity and innovation.
Yoga taught me more than I expected and in a way I hadn't expected. I had become judgmental rather than experimental and curious and although some asanas still frighten the heck out of me, I am (I hope!) more open to the experience it brings and the joy of a deeper understanding that this training has gifted to me.
Yes we may hurt ourselves. But it’s not the yoga OR the Pilates that does that – it’s the ego, our lack of movement experience, our desire to make a shape rather than listen to our bodies, our…. well, whatever it is… I’m getting better at it and invite you to try too. Let's see where this all takes us…