I used to think of yoga as loads of complex moves designed for super tiny people who are amazingly flexible, which scared me a little. However, over the past few years I have come to see yoga completely differently. Yes, there are some pretty intense moves but there are so many types of yoga and something suitable for everyone. I have even been introduced to yoga chanting, we did some at the end of this podcast. I was also given a mantra that day by my lovely podcast guest, Lindsey, which was written on a rock and still sits next to my bed with the two simple words: Stand Tall. This simple mantra has helped me when I have been tempted to shrink who I really am to fit in or I have got sucked into listening to that inner critic or judgements of others. We could all do with a little rock that reminds us to stand tall. It’s important.
When Bonnie was 7, I was invited to take her along to an evening yoga class, which she loved. We both felt so calm after it. Yoga used to be an option for Bonnie and Charlie at their school and Bonnie loved it and looked forward to it each week. She was gutted when it stopped but I have noticed that the kids are often encouraged to join in online yoga classes as part of their mindfulness homework.
I was recently invited to check out and review Meadowlark Yoga, a lovely studio by the Meadows in Edinburgh. The team have been delighted to re-introduce an in studio drop in yoga timetable alongside their livestream yoga offering. The first class I checked out was in the studio on a Tuesday night. It was a super chilled Yin Yoga session which was all about deep breathing, stretching, relaxing and a bit of meditation. I really enjoyed this session and floated home. I felt so sleepy after it and crawled into bed feeling super content and relaxed. Bonnie was going to bed around the same time and asked if she could join me online for the next yin yoga, so I turned my bedroom into a super chilled wee studio and we did it together (you may have seen a short clip of our zen session on my stories). There were candles, chilled beats and we were guided through our session with one of the lovely teachers.
There are some nights that we all end up on our screens for too long (and sometimes you just need a good movie) but this was such a lovely bedtime routine and it was great that Bonnie at the age of 9 was so keen to join. I always think that some is better than none. Small habits throughout the day such as stretching, taking time to breathe or even getting in childs pose, can still be great for that mojo. I love a childs pose and I also love a swan pose. Charlie at the age of 7 is showing more interest but his attention span isn’t as long. He can sit for hours doing art though so I see that as a form of mindfulness for him. I also love to join in. I was actually enjoying doing some velvet crafting with him this week so much that I went back and got one just for me. Art therapy is a thing but that is for another post.
I also attended a lovely in studio session of Vinyasa Flow. I love the way the teacher took time to talk to us about what the moon was up to, our flow and how we can work with yoga practice to clear a busy mind and welcome in acceptance and surrender. This was a beautiful hour and I left feeling lighter and grounded. There were a couple of moves I struggled with but the teacher always offered easier options and there was no pressure. I find yoga a personal practice and a time to be in tune with our own bodies and what they need and this was encouraged throughout the classes I attended, both in studio and online. The Meadowlark yoga studio is close to some lovely cafes too, I was delighted to check out the new Argyle Place cafe and coffee roaster, which is just a few doors along.
My earlier perceptions of yoga being purely physical, involving intense positions, have changed and I am now aware that yoga is as much a mental and spiritual practice, aimed at controlling and stilling the mind, becoming aware of our body and what it needs and learning to become grounded. There are as many ways to practice yoga at a suitable pace. Sometimes I feel like pushing and others it’s all about chilling out.
The cards have lovely illustrations on them and when Bonnie started reading them out she was smiling instantly and put her favorites into piles. I love the fact that the boxes come with a little wooden stand so that you can keep a matra up for a day/week/month then change it. There is no denying that a bit of what I call ‘mantra brainwashing’ works, as the popular quote goes ‘thoughts become things’ so if we can work to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones it will be sure to help. It just takes a little effort sometimes.
I am going to be doing a laughter yoga session on the podcast in 2022 so look out for that, it’s going to be fun!
Take time out for yourself each and every day and just be. You got this.
Jojo Fraser is an award-winning author, podcaster and keynote speaker, dubbed as ‘the Queen of positivity and a kindness advocate. She is a Tedx speaker and a regular speaker on BBC Radio. Jojo is known for normalising discussions around our mental health, making it accessible and relatable to all. She has quickly grown a reputation for having a huge impact even on the most sceptical of people. She has a huge passion for helping people to get their mojo back. Jojo loves acting, singing, wild swimming and exploring with her family.
Contact her at – firstname.lastname@example.org or across social @jojofrasermojo
Follow Jojo’s popular podcast here, which is dubbed by her global listeners as ‘free therapy’.