Poetry in Motion

I was never a particularly sporty child and Physical Education classes and school Sports Days filled me with dread.

I remember telling a teacher that it made no sense to leap over a gymnastics vault, trying to explain to her that my brain just couldn’t encompass how it should be done.

She pushed me to try, so I ran towards the vault and unable to comprehend how to elevate myself over it, I instead charged into it and badly winded myself.

Sports days were a triumph if I actually got there. If I attended despite my conveniently timed, difficult and heavy periods and not be last in everything, it was a groundbreaking miracle.

Although I was raised  to consider myself neither physically coordinated, nor sporty, nor a team player, that was okay as my family were the same.

I went to see my sister play netball once and if someone was foolish enough to toss the ball towards her she either ducked or ran away. The ball was an obviously large, dangerous and fast moving object to be avoided.

 To an extent I think there was a slightly egocentric, very narrow minded, pigeon-holing between being either physically or cerebrally orientated; an attitude I would love to think is now outdated, but I suspect isn’t.

My years of drug using were years of being thin because money that should have been allotted to food and transport was instead spent on drugs, so I starved and walked everywhere.

It was in rehab that I first encountered yoga.

Once a week a round blond woman equipped with tape recordings of the proverbial whale music would come to Iden Manor to give a very gentle yoga class to its residents.

I would attend and invariably after she had uttered  imagine you are a water lily on a still pond, I would fall into a deep and snoring sleep for the remainder of the class.

After I left rehab I discovered a yoga class that worked for me and found that I not only loved it,but also was very good at it.

Yoga became something which gave me pleasure in my body and its abilities. I realised how lyrical and beautiful being present and working with my body could be, rather than viewing the physical as something to disassociate from, ignore, or punish.

I qualified as a yoga teacher in Asia and for a time taught recovering alcoholics and addicts, people with eating disorders and sufferers of sexual abuse.

As always with teaching, the learning process goes both ways.

I would see people have anxiety attacks when they straightened rounded shoulders, stood tall, breathed deeply and took up the stance of someone with power over their lives.

Those with eating disorders would be incapable of relaxing because that would be relinquishing control and survivors of abuse would view their body as a dangerous and unknown territory that it was best to disassociate from .

Then there were those that became fanatics and undertook obsessive regular practices and dietary changes to the point that yoga became another manifestation of addictive behaviour.
I related to all of these individuals.

I taught a mainstream class for a while in which I could push things a little further as my pupils were not so vulnerable.

I went through a period of integrating NLP into the lesson (with the pupils knowledge of course) to change physical and emotional patterns and I continued to learn.

 I still do a regular practice, but no longer teach. When I push myself  I sometimes fall into one of those sublime moments of moving in rhythm with everything, those moments of joy where you are totally unified with your body, and I realise that yoga is my longest, abiding, love affair.

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About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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