It’s a stretch..

Winter stretch Collage

It’s a stretch to get up early in the morning.  To turn up on a yoga mat rather than turn over under the duvet.  I am not made of such stern stuff.  I’ll only get out of bed at 6am if it’s to return five minutes later with coffee in hand.  A very different pace from these mornings.

Whilst I can’t face it in the morning, yoga at the end of the day, in a hot room, is just my kind of winter stretch.  I’d never done any hot yoga before this year.  I’ve always plumped for flow classes, moving quickly from one pose to the next with each breath, stumbling quickly through any that were a little difficult.

I thought holding each pose for ten breaths would be boring, but the focus it requires actually feels fantastic. It demands my full attention, no drifting thoughts. It’s given me time to think about each stretch and have plenty of practice at balancing. I also spend most of the winter feeling vaguely chilly so it’s a treat to spend time letting my muscles really warm up. So, for at least a little while longer, I’m using the ‘too cold’ excuse to keep my head under the duvet in the mornings, but not in the evenings.

Yoga Every Day

Rusty performing Tree Pose, yoga in the forest

Yes, every single goddamn day. Because I was foolish enough to write it on my alphabet year list and because any day is improved by a good stretch.

I thought August would be a good month to start a daily habit, with long days, plenty of sunshine and a quiet work schedule. My August has started off a little more hectic than planned, but that only further warrants the moment of calm that yoga brings.

I’m not following any particular course (though if you’re looking for one, I recommend Erin’s). Just turning up to the mat every day would be a triumph for me. And if the sun gets a few salutes along the way, or I manage that double pigeon without looking like a crumpled chicken, then all the better.

Yoga Anywhere

Rusty pulling a move on a path

I love to stretch, but it’s easy to lose the time to do it. If I have even a two-day yoga streak I feel ridiculously full of sunshine and wholesome goodness. Even ten minutes; why is it so hard to find that time? I’d like to set up my Pinterest app to say “Go away and don’t come back until you’ve done a sun salute.”

Rusty and yoga photo collage

When I’m outside under a tree, or on a hill, that’s when a little bit of yoga feels a good idea. It isn’t proper practice, but it is good fun. I’d like to learn this non-stop standing flow for those moments.

Eriz Motz’s thirty day challenge had me ‘namaste’ing at my ipad screen every day, and now she’s teamed up with Andy Zoltan to produce a seriously slick online yoga platform. After much anticipation, MyYogaPro has gone live and got me practising. These longer summer days seem a good place to search for those daily ten minutes. If for no other reason than to do a better balance on the harbour wall.

Rusty striking a pose at Newtown

Low tide at Newtown, Isle of Wight

Early Riser

Sunset over rooftops in Cowes

As if I needed any more of a reminder that autumn is here, just this week I’ve started rising before the sun. Thanks to shorter days, and a yoga crush, I’ve been breaking my own ‘never rise before 6’ policy. Erin Motz is the cheeriest, most unassuming pretzel of a yogi, who makes all sorts of twists and bends feel doable. Seriously, check out her 30 day challenge.

I like the max-out-your-day feeling of being up with the sun, but in the height of summer the sun rises way too early for me to match it (this sleepless weekend being the exception). So September is a good time to spend 30 days waking up early to salute the sun. I don’t know if this morning routine will last in to the dark wintry mornings. But for now, I’m loving my early stretch.


With a welcome Friday off work, I got up late and took myself to yoga for the first time this year.  Tardy, I know, but something about January doesn’t inspire exercise in me, unless it’s a windy walk with the promise of crumble and custard at the end.  So, I suppose the warmer sunshine this morning was a good time to start classes again.

Nathalie’s class is held in a small garden room at the top of a wooded valley, overlooking the sea.  It may sound twee, but it really is that picturesque; a slice of escape from the everyday, which leaves me so chilled I can barely cycle home. I can’t say I’m a committed yoga student (more like a yoga truant) but, I do love to stretch.

My grama, across the seas in Humboldt County, is far more of a yogi than myself and it’s fun to join her when I visit.  We go to classes in the old fire hall of her small American town amidst the California Redwoods.  It’s a thousand miles from the garden room of this tiny British Isle, but with the same familiar stretches.  No matter how familiar, I rarely make the time to practise on my own.  This start-of-spring weather seems the best time of year for making new resolutions, so perhaps I’ll make yoga mine.