I’m not really sure I should be writing a blog. I definitely shouldn’t be let loose on a yoga lifestyle type blog. I just have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not going to fit in.
You’ll begin to appreciate why in a moment.
For a start, I doubt I’ll be able to upload the obligatory shiny happy inspiring photos (and if I do they’ll be blurry, and/or have my foot, thumb or elbow in them).
Secondly, I don’t have wisdom to impart, at least nothing you haven’t heard before.
I’ll attempt to re-hash some of the shit that’s helped me to not fucking die (that’s my aim, not even striving for sparkly white teethed smooth skinned glossy hair wellbeing - just not keeling over in mismatched Harry Potter pyjamas really at this point), but other than that I’d say this will be an experiment in epic fail. Louise Hay style positive thinkers, fucking bite me and go and tut at someone else.
Probably make you feel better about your own life though, so there’s that.
I’m frequently proven wrong and often get things arse about face. In fact most of the time I’m spaced out and mildly delirious with the discomfort (fucking agony) that is living with Lyme disease. I’m not better, I haven’t cured myself, I’m not a happy ending.
I am a stuck, fucked off and struggling to hang on by my fingernails half way through, not there yet -fuck up.
And, I want to go back…back through the doorway I slipped in inadvertently through almost twenty years ago. The doorway that separates the well from the sick. The able from the bolloxed. The mainstream from the alternative. The normal from the health journeying freak.
I want to drink whiskey, smoke, exercise too hard and eat all the wrong things. I don’t want to know how to lower my shoulder blades down my back, ease the flesh (excess flesh) away from my sits bones, while lengthening my tail bone and not, I repeat not locking my EDS double jointed happy to dislocate at any inopportune opportunity knees (that’s bad, apparently).
I don’t want to use the ujjayi breath all the fucking time to keep myself in parasympathetic rather than sympathetic mode - so that my stupid adrenals don’t implode. I don’t even want to know what my nervous system is doing for fucks sake. I’d just really like it to work. To be honest, it would be really nice if some of my other body systems rebooted at the same time.
However, as I’ve kind of transitioned seamlessly (kicking and fucking screaming) from normal to completely traumatised health warrior/botched biohacker, I’ve decided to share some of it. You’ve done nothing to deserve this onslaught, I just have nothing better to do with my time.
Most of its ugly, a lot of it’s relatively brutal (coffee enemas and sticking supposedly health inducing suppository type things up arses will probably feature heavily), and I’m going to just assume that if anyone reads this (probably by mistake whilst looking for a proper blog), it’ll be the poor bastards in a similar situation.
Just to clarify, by situation, I mean fucked up. And by share I mean inflict my internal dialogue and suffering on everyone else because despite all the fucking yoga I’m still not even fucking remotely enlightened - can you tell by the tone so far?
By the way, I’m a yoga teacher (yeah I know), so I kind of get to interoperate these things and then insist you listen to my views while I have you trapped in a class for an hour of unsolicited advice and condescension. As I can’t currently teach a class because I’m fucked (see above), I’m going to share my not enlightened stuff (collection of half arsed insights based on half arsed research into various things that aren’t really interesting) on here instead.
Yay! Don’t you love that word? Doesn’t make you want to punch people at all does it? Yaaaay! The bonus being you get to close the browser and walk away.
I didn’t study yoga to become a condescending twat who thinks they know best, about everyfuckingthing (although I assume many do from the various classes I’ve been to), but I may get a taste for it as time goes on. It does seem to be a thing these days, you know like the plague was in the 1300s.
Just in case you think this might be worth reading, please be aware that I sting myself with live bees (and obviously hurt them because the poor little things die). I am currently sitting on an earthing mat, which I suspect might be gathering all the electric smog I’m trying to avoid - because I saw a podcast on YouTube about the importance of earthing - from the whole universe and directing it directly into my body, which is not the aim, by the way. I’m also plugged into a contact Lyme killing on my Spooky 2 (cheapish rife machine, more on that at some point, if I remember and am not dead from a herxheimer reaction). Consequently, I’m probably an idiot at best, a hypocritical bastard to boot, and not sure what I am at worst - but I’m fairly sure someone’s going to enlighten me after reading this.
Shall we start with the deep shit? The philosophical side of yoga that a lot of people talk about and very few incorporate into their everyday lives? Mainly to prove that I really am into yoga, because I sense you may be doubting my sincerity.
So I’m not just going to focus on the trying to twist one leg around the other while smiling inwardly and cooling the mind whilst simultaneously warming the body with breath alone side of yoga. Nor the showy pose stuff that very few people can do and even fewer want to see done by a random arsehole in lycra. I plan to delve a little bit deeper. Plan to. I’ll probably only manage to bore you senseless in the process. But, you know, I’d like to talk about the real shit. The stuff that matters. The not being a complete cunt stuff. The healing your mind and body stuff with yoga style self-hacking.
Yep, that’s right, I’m jumping right in with one of the big guns. Patanjali. I’ll throw a few more words at you. Eight limbs, Ashtanga, Sutras. Just in case you’re thinking fuck me she knows what she’s talking about, I have to look this shit up every fucking time. I can’t remember the order of the Yamas, I’m certainly completely confused by the time I get to the Niyamas (where did that one come from for fucks sake?). I’ve no idea how to spell any of the bloody things. And there are two I keep muddling up, no three.
Look at me go! Taada - I wanted to add sparkles there to show off, but I don’t know how to do shit like that on a computer. Can barely turn the ‘the machines are winning’ bastard on. Don’t get me started on Photoshop, what did we do to the geeks to make them inflict that on us?
In case you don’t know what Yamas and Niyamas are, go and fucking look them up. I just did. Is that a bit mean? It’s a bit mean. Okay, as this is supposed to be a roundabout way yoga blog type thing, I’ll try not to be mean –
Patnjali, clever bloke by all accounts, decided to lay out an eight-limbed path for us to follow within his Yoga Sutras. By us, I mean the bendy, lycra clad yogi type people (I do not, I mean anyone, anyone at all, I’m taking the piss).
The guides, pointers, suggestions, whatever you want to call them are really quite beautiful and lovely to follow for anyone and everyone. If you like that kind of shit. If you don’t why are you still here? Probably to write nasty comments at the end, stupid question.
The Sutras of Patanjali I think they’re called. A self-hacking guide towards absolute fulfilment, freedom, enlightenment etc., that kind of shit.
This potentially blissful way of living and being according to Patanjali is the basis of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashta means eight and ang means limb (I know you didn’t want to know that, which made it especially fun for me).
The first limb – The Yamas, our interaction with our environment.
The second limb – The Niyamas, our interaction with ourselves.
The third – The Asanas, our physical practice, yoga as we tend to know it in the west. The poses, the leggings, the comparison of who’s done the most retreats in the most exotic places.
The fourth – Pranayama, our breath, the control of our breath - for sexual pleasure (joking, sorry, I don’t know why I can’t behave).
The fifth – Pratyahara, the withdrawal of our senses so we can experience our internal world.
The sixth – Dharana, concentration, the focusing of the mind, preferably not on chocolate, Game of Thrones or shopping.
The seventh – Dhyana, meditation, peace. I actually haven’t got anything smart arse to add there.
The eighth – Samadhi, the complete oneness and integration. Bliss. Again, nothing, it’s nice there.
There are five Yamas, and five Niyamas (I’m guessing because he could see into the future, knew we’d all develop variants of ADHA, what with the toxic burden of our environment and introduction of ipads, M&Ms, YouTube, Instagram and processed foods etc. and wouldn’t able to cope with more - I could be wrong).
The Yamas and Niyamas are a lifestyle guide. Just like how to lay your coffee table out for maximum pretentiousness and intimidation when guests pop round. No, no, nooo, I’m kidding, it’s the absolute exact opposite of that. They are a kind of suggested way of being for the aspiring yogi (I don’t think Patanjali used the word aspiring though - I don’t think he did a marketing or blogging course). They are a general moral compass that will hopefully guide you towards being the very best version of yourself (that’s most definitely from a US make over show and not Patanjali), but you get the idea. I think not being an arsehole also encompasses it (he did not say that).
By following the Yamas, which are the kind of do not fucking do that for fucks sake suggestions, you are in essence opening yourself up to a purer and more ethical way of being. Which may or may not lead to a greater level of peace, contentment and oneness - rather than otherness. Which should hopefully mean that you’ll be less inclined to see other people and living things as the others. You may even begin to see that we are in fact all one, and then maybe just maybe you won’t plot murder, payback, vengeance, petty hurts, big hurts, wilful ignorance or any of the other shitty things human like to do to anything they can get their hands on and may even, brace yourselves, become enlightened. Whatever the fuck that means. I’m working on this. Not being enlightened, I think I’ll leave that alone for the time being. But I’m a work (wreck) in progress when it comes to not visualising whacking annoying people around the face with a baseball bat when they offer suggestions as to where and why I’ve fucked my life up.
So… the Yamas are the restraints. The try not to do that’s. The learning to be decent - and become one with the universe. That last bit just slipped out. I went to art college (Word whichever number this is, wants to capital letter art college, I’m having none of it), consequently sometimes (often) the shit that comes out of my mouth is beyond my control. I believe there’s a Niyama addressing this kind of lack of self-control, not sure, can’t remember. Yoga does mean to unite, to yoke, to become one with, as it fucking happens. So it’s all coming together nicely as a concept, isn’t it?
In summation then, in becoming aware of the things you say and think and do, in trying to rein your base instincts of piss on it, eat it, kill it (not necessarily in that order), you can alter your world, your interpretation of the world - and disappear up your own arse - no, again, kidding, sorry I’ll stop. You can become a nicer, kinder human. We need more of those. Plenty of arseholes already.
• Ahimsa: nonviolence, just generally, try not to attack things.
• Satya: truthfulness, try not to lie, too much unless completely necessary, I think it’s all right to say someone looks great when they look like shit (please bear in mind I am altering these to suit my own agenda).
• Asteya: non-stealing. Leave other peoples shit alone, thoughts, work, things. If it’s not freely given, it is not yours.
• Brahmacharya: non-excess. This one often gets interpreted as celibacy. I see it more as one chocolate bar, not six in one go. That’s just me. Try not to take everyfuckingthing to the extreme.
• Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-greed. Not everything you want is yours. Not always good to get what we want, sometimes it isn’t what we need (isn’t that a song?).
Now the Niyamas, bet you can’t wait for my interpretation of those. I honestly don’t know how or why the Yamas and Niyamas are in boxes, I didn’t do it. I put the bullet points in accidentally, couldn’t remove them and now there are boxes. Not especially keen on boxes, but I’m surrendering to them, because that’s part of my journey. Not surrendering to boxes as such. I don’t approve of boxes or labels, unless I’m doing the labelling and boxing of course, but surrendering to life generally. I’m giving that a go. As a Virgo control freak, it completely sucks. Letting it flow. Letting the shit stuff go - like a cloud surfing away on the palest opalescent sky. Embracing the liberation that is the essence of yoga (art college, remember, I can’t help it).
And also because tech support (my geek partner) won’t help. I think I annoy him. I’ve got to tell him that I spilt a cup of tea all over his X-box. Herbal infusion of cistus in case you thought, oh nice, normal with milk and sugar? Nope. I don’t contaminate my precious temple of a body in that way, because my precious temple will revolt and throw it all back up again. It’s a bastard like that. Nothing as simple as Tetley here. Nothing as nice either.
Actually, is that an Xbox (apparently it’s all one word, just looked it up, no hyphen, who knew)? Or one of the other contraptions he does stuff on that I have no interest in? He’s mainly Batman, as far as I can tell. I have pointed out that I’m more Batman than he is, but he doesn’t care. No idea which device I’ve drenched, anyway. It’s shiny and black and now very possibly broken. Upside down on the radiator, do you think? I’ve tried blowing on it. It’s currently wrapped in a towel. This blog thing is never going to make it to Wix without his help. Bollocks. Hang on, I’ll be back after device drying has taken place.
Sorry, the Niyamas, which basically focus on our inner shit in order to cultivate happiness and contentment, so not downing whiskey by the gallon to get through the day kind of stuff.
• Saucha: purity, inside and out. You know detox and shit, keep stuff clean. Your body, your mind, maybe even your home. And maybe don’t spill shit on your partners stuff either and consider lying about it.
• Santosha: contentment, finding happiness within the tiniest things, being grateful especially when there isn’t much to be grateful for. Tough one.
• Tapas: self-discipline, one hundred sit-ups before breakfast please, followed by a tongue scraping, oil pulling, a cold shower and sauerkraut juice. Or, find a routine and way of living that make you feel good (not in the high kind of way chocolate and cocaine might), and keep it up, like it matters.
• Svadhyaya: the study of the self (never try and say it out loud), inner exploration (not in a rude way).
• Ishvara Pranidhana: now there’s a fun one to spell. Surrender (to the impossibility of ever remembering that one).
So… there you go. That’s the beginning. Fairly shit as beginnings go. Reasonably moany. A bit sweary (it really could have been worse, I utilised tapas there and reined it in). And, a lot boring. Ahimsa next. My interpretation - How not to kill people who annoy you. I feel I should have some kind of award for this one. I have not murdered a single other person. Yet.