Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!
Real Life Yoga
Living & breathing Yoga full time (or at least attempting to!) can be really challenging. Disappointment, illness, grief & a host of other daily realities effect you no matter how much of your life you dedicate to Meditation & Sadhana (commitment to personal practice). Of course they do! I’ve talked to quite a few Teachers about what kind of pressure they put themselves under to be a shining light of health & compassion at all times, and the reality of measuring up to their own standards. I believe these standards & pressure are present in every person, at least to some extent, and, that they are helpful to certain extent too....until they're really not. What I’ve become almost obsessed by is the integration of real, gritty, modern life and old school Yoga. I’ve discovered that what feels good on the mat today might not feel good next week, the resolutions and affirmations of today might not fit into the space of tomorrow, and sometimes making rigorous schedules and plans for your own transformation and evolution can be the very thing that stops you from seeing the path to your own truth & light. In short, each moment presents us with new challenges & opportunities that we can either be open to, or busy doing something else.
Many of you have asked me how the Deep Healing sessions came about. Allow me to get personal for a minute...
When my second son, Remy, was 8 weeks old I had just started teaching again after a few months off. I had a dynamic & baby-proofed plan to increase my teaching along with my own practice and reclaim my emotional, physical & energetic strength postpartum. As you can probably tell I was truly setting myself up for a fall. My entire life was turned upside down in an instant when my mother passed away, suddenly in her sleep at the very fit & healthy age of 64. Without going into details of the inner and outer turmoil, I’ll just say that life was chaos, and that the chaos lasted much longer than anyone could have predicted. My plans were out the window without a thought. I found myself not sleeping more than a couple of hours each night and force feeding myself in order to feed my baby, yet somehow functioning; teaching pretty OK yoga classes, looking after the people & things that needed to be looked after…except myself!
Without sleep the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) I was creating became too much for my body and within 6 months I was suffering from complete adrenal burn out & severe exhaustion. I was a mess! With the support of my beautiful family I turned my attention inwards to my parasympathetic nervous system and started to explore a path to healing myself. Using all of my Yoga knowledge and my intuition I started to develop a new practice, one that acknowledged the suffering & strain I was under and compassionately gave the space for homeostasis. The idea being that I knew that although my body was not functioning at an optimum or steady state, it could and would return to health & wholeness if I gave it the focus, space and time. The key was to approach each day, each moment, without expectation, judgement or pressure. I ended my relationship with perfection and allowed myself to surrender to the kind of care I would offer to someone I loved…
For many months I held my own hand back to a place of wholeness - it was beautiful to be my own friend and show up for myself, even when I really didn’t want to. To accept that I wasn’t some kind of Super-Hero-Yoga-Warrior was one of the biggest times of growth I have ever had - and, it was the birth place of the Deep Healing practice I have been passionately presenting for a year now. When I’m preparing for one of these workshops, I have a profound sense that this simple space is something that we all need - space to heal, space to listen in to our own energetic bodies intuitive path to wholeness. This Yoga has expanded beyond me, and, to those who have come along to the workshop I hope it is expanding for you also…as I aim to create a practice & a space which is just for you I genuinely appreciate your feedback - so please keep it coming!
If you are interested in reading someone else’s experience of a session, Ricci-Jane Adams, a gifted healer from Light Worker Institute, has beautifully & eloquently expressed her experience here.
If you, or someone you know might benefit from a bit of simply intentioned space, please let them know about these workshops. I’ve been really encouraged by the feedback and decided that I’d like to offer them more than once a month, and in more than one place. I’d love your suggestions!
Looking forward to seeing you on the mat soon,
ps - Here’s a short meditation I recorded for accessing your inner “authentic power”, inspired by Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul .