117 days of Yoga Revolution.

On January 1st I started the 31 day Yoga Revolution with Yoga with Adriene. I wrote about it here http://www.susantelford.com/2017/01/07/tool-for-recovery-part-1-yoga/
I began with the same excitement that accompanies every Monday when the new diet begins, every New Year when the new life begins, in fact every plan I have every forced myself to do.
I rationalised that this will be the ONE, the one to shift my exhaustion, boost my energy, pull me out of the pit of despair I found myself in last winter. I was still operating under the illusion that the same striving, pushing mentality that got me into this mess, would somehow work to free me from the chronic fatigue that had ended my career. The trouble was I had no idea of how else to be.
My strategy “worked” for 17 days http://www.susantelford.com/2017/01/20/the-seductive-pull-of-the-plan/ but far less than boost my energy it led me straight back to another relapse.
On day 18, unable to get out of bed, I felt a range of emotions. Mainly, what the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I get better? Will I ever be fully well again? Is the life I took so much for granted now over?
I felt like a failure, I had had M.E./CFS before, recovered and gone to university and worked for 7 years as teacher. But somehow, I had managed to recreate all the conditions that had led me to becoming ill in 2000. I had worked hard, taken on more and more responsibility, given my whole heart and soul to the school.
The realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. I was applying the same Type A mindset to my recovery and even my yoga practice.
I had never stopped to consider what my body wants.
The truth was I had no idea. Literally not a clue.
I didn’t know whether it was best to rest or try some yoga. In 54 years of being on the planet I had NEVER asked my body what it wants. MY body was an appendage located south of my over-active mind and my mind called all the shots, like a warped sergeant-major, barking orders to get out of the bed and get things done!
As I had not managed to sustain the daily practice of Revolution, my mind, of course, had written it off as a failure.
My next step was to look around for the next plan, you know, the one that would be the ONE!
But, some deeper, wiser part of me would not let go of Revolution, even as I lay in bed unable to muster the energy to roll out my mat.
Then one morning, several weeks later, as I sipped my morning tea in bed, a voice inside me said “Mmmm, I fancy doing yoga today”.
So I got out of bed, rolled out my mat in my study and did day 18. This went on all through February, March and April. I waited for that still, small voice that WANTED to do yoga and I did the next day’s practice. I realised when I don’t push myself, the impulse to do yoga naturally arises.
117 days after I began,I completed day 31.
The theme for day 31 was “Follow your intuition” and Adriene encouraged me to listen to my body and allow the practice to flow, tapping into what my body actually needs in the moment. I cried my way through that practice as I realised that my body is much wiser than me and does, indeed, know what she needs. It was such a fitting end to my journey, which is paradoxically only beginning.
So over to you, dear reader. Do you listen to the needs of your body? Do you have a still, small voice that rises up when you stop pushing yourself? Or do you, like I did, keep pushing yourself on and on, expecting your body to comply with the demands of your mind and thinking burnout will never happen to you? Please leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation about slowing down enough, even in the midst of our busy lives, to take care of ourselves.

7 thoughts on “117 days of Yoga Revolution.”

  1. So appreciate you sharing this experience! It took me longer than 30 days to finish this beautiful practice & realized, like you, to just listen & let the practice guide me. As an energetic gal I tend to completely overbook myself & not leave enough time to just “BE”. A friend told me when you give back to yourself you are truly giving to the universe! I love Yoga with Adriene & feel blessed to have incorporated her wisdom & humor into my practice.
    Let’s all take a moment(s) to celebrate our growth!
    Namaste 🙏🏻🙂 Michele

    1. Thanks for your comment Michele. I certainly identify with the tendency to overbook and overextend myself without filling my own well first. I have learned that we can only give to others when we have first taken care of our own needs.

      I am working on a new PDF on this very topic which will be a free giveaway for subscribers to my blog. It is called Oxygen for Women and is based on the maxim that we must put on our own oxygen masks before helping others. You can sign up on my about page and I will send it to your inbox once it is ready.


  2. Oh, we could talk for hours! But my mind has ever been less ambitious than my body–I would probably have been the one in school on Ritalin. Still, when I quit my day job to write, I was petrified for months about who was paying bills (I had this convo with myself rePEATedly). And learning to listen to my body, and see how intelligent she (ME!) is, came from having pains in the body directly due to my mind’s gyrations. There is a whole other convo running parallel, about who has a right to order my body around! Sounds like you are in the scary middle of a growth spurt! I am 55; it seens a common age for us to wake up, usually when the things we thought were ours, are ripped away. When your mind is running its tin cup along the bars, pause the cacophony by taking a generous inhale; then, as you breathe out, let your mind know that you see it, love it, and things will be okay. I am with you in spirit, lady! Thank you SO much for sharing these important puzzle pieces of self!

    1. Joanna, it is certainly jarring at first when we start to wake up in midlife and realised that the life we so carefully constructed at great cost is lying in ashes at our feet. But what I am discovering, as I am sure you are too, is what is truest beneath all the mad schemes dreamt up by our minds. What joy to discover that we are enough just as we are and the striving comes to an end, like a worn out clockwork toy coming back to stillness.


  3. Well done for finishing, that is an achievement in itself! You are so right, we all need to listen to our bodies. My body has been creaking under 3 stone excess weight for far too long, and with gallstones and a hiatus hernia now added to the mix, it’s time to stop, listen, and act before there’s no way back. The problem is that my mind is stronger than the rest of my body, and my mind constantly tells me I need to eat – all the wrong things – for comfort. For whatever reason, I am a classic comfort eater, and when the going gets tough, the tough get chocolate, or biscuits, or crisps, or cake! So, if you can do this, then I can do better too – thanks for the inspiration X

    1. Heather, I think the body has great wisdom and manifests these illnesses to get our attention. I knew for some time that my body was screaming slow down but I used my strength of mind to override it until it finally felled me. I have learned my lesson now, though and as I honour what my body wants, which often looks very unproductive, I am rewarded by increased health, energy and vitality. It is a whole new way of being for me.


  4. I loved your post! The last day of this journey is actually the most emotional one, I trully felt connected to myself and to Adriene, and now to you for sharing this experience!
    Thank you for sharing it,
    lot’s of love

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