I found love in a yoga place
You might be thinking what does yoga have to do with finding love? Or perhaps you might be imagining sweaty glances from across the studio, turning into a post-class date over a green tea. No, for me this isn’t the love that I found from a class.
I went to my first yoga class with my university flat mate to support her as she was looking for new ways to help with her anxiety. I expected a room full of elderly women on mats chanting “ohhhmmmmmmmm” with the occasional tree pose. I imagined it would be quite easy and boring, but I wanted to support my friend and whilst deep in the midst of revision, I was also desperate for a break from my computer and would feel better about doing yoga than my usual form of procrastination, binging Netflix.
However, whilst our university research was well thought through, our yoga class choice was not. Our first class was a 90 minute hot yoga class. At that time, I was rather overweight, I drank far too much (hello student life) and rarely did any exercise at all. So spending 90 minutes in room at 40 degrees, being completely clueless and embarrassed at my total lack of co-ordination was a real shock to my system.
“No drinking water and no leaving the room until the class is over” the teacher said at the beginning - the traditional Bikram style of teaching. I struggled the whole way through the class and was sick immediately after! It was probably the most challenged I’d ever felt from an “exercise class” (as I thought of it at the time) and I was surprised at how I had completely misjudged it!
So surely after that experience I never stepped foot into a yoga studio again, right? Wrong.
The feeling I got from that class (once the nausea had passed) was incredible. They call it the “yoga high” and I loved it. I also knew that my body’s reaction to the yoga was a good indication that I needed this and that I needed to make changes in my lifestyle. Fast forward into regular yoga practice and I realised how wrong I was to think of it as just an exercise. As well as losing weight, toning up and improving my fitness levels, I noticed amazing benefits I didn’t expect - my concentration levels improved, my digestion improved (many of the postures help with digestion and bloating, who knew?) and for the first time I started treating my body with kindness and love. I drank less alcohol and focussed on what my body really wanted to eat, fuelling it like I loved it and wanted to nourish it, rather than scoffing a packet of biscuits for instant gratification, only to be followed by feelings of self-loathing and sluggishness.
They say that yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self. In my pre-yoga life, I always had this feeling of not being “enough”. This held me back in so many areas of my life, including in finding love. Through yoga, I learned so much about myself on the mat that I could apply to my world off the mat and the changes that naturally occurred in myself as a side effect of the yoga, really changed my life.
They say your mind and your body is the only real place that you have to live. In that case, isn’t it obvious that we must be kind to ourselves and treat our minds and body with love, but how often is that really the case? How easy is it to slip into negative thoughts and feelings, whether that be of not being “enough”, or anything else. Once I learned how to be kind, to nurture and to love myself, I became ready to invite love from others too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and some days are harder than others, but learning these tools has been fundamental in improving my world and now I love to share these skills with other people too!
Now I’m super excited to offer my practice to SpeedDater singles! Keep an eye on the events calendar for yoga sessions coming your way soon. I can’t guarantee that you’ll find the love of your life, but you could find your next single wingwoman or man, or find love for yourself! Don’t worry, I won’t make you crank the heating up to 40 and the class will be much gentler than my first yoga experience! All levels are completely welcome.
Finally, my top tips for singles on the dating scene are: (i) keep an eye on your internal dialogue and try to ensure that your words come from a place of love and acceptance; (ii) set aside some time for you, whatever that looks like and whatever you need. You can’t pour from an empty cup so make sure yours is as full as it can be; and (iii) ask yourself, “what values are important to me and what is it I’m looking for”? Be honest with yourself, because how can you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?
Katie has been teaching yoga for the past six years and currently offers yoga, meditations and breathing exercises through her website, www.katasana.com. You can also follow her journey on Instagram @katasana.