Tag Archives: yoga

Summer Yoga & Special Offer

I am teaching all through the summer so my classes will run as follows:

Monday  YogaBellies Pregnancy Hull  7.45 – 9pm (No class August BH Monday)

Tuesday Yoga for Cancer Hull 10.45 – 12.15

Tuesday YogaBellies Pregnancy Beverley 6.30 – 7.45

Tuesday Restorative Yoga Beverley 8pm-9.15

Wednesday Hatha Hull 7pm-8.30.

The Restorative and the Hatha classes are both running as drop in through the summer, but do contact me on info@pammedhurst.co.uk to book.  Special offer for Restorative and Hatha classes, bring a new customer and both of you just pay £5, so just a tenner for you both.  Usual price £8 per session.

 

Saying bye to a good friend…

Karla

Karla

Last week we said goodbye to Karla.  She had been a member of this family for just over 5 years having rescued her from Jerry Green Centre in Gilberdyke.  As a rescue dog she had her issues but when we found out that she had no normal lung tissue left and was starting to struggle to breath then we had no other choice than to put her to sleep.

She was about 6 years old when she joined our family, and we are so lucky that we found her.  She gave us so much love and enjoyment over the last few years.  Without her now the house is very quiet and very empty.  There is no face to greet you at the window as you walk up to the front door, there is no bark when the post arrives or random people walk past in the street. There is no one to protect me from the dangers of the window cleaner or my visitors when they knock at the door!  She still regularly barked at Luke (son) & Allan (husband) when they came into the house, just to let me know they had come in.  She had a good bark on her but would never do more than bark.   She was still a bit of a wimp when we were out and about, putting on a defensive show to ensure she got the first bark in so that others would back off.  Off the lead she would be at the other end of the field rather than have a confrontation anytime.  With the whippet in her she could still outrun most other dogs she encountered.  And even up til last week went for a run as soon as she was let off the lead.

The house may be cleaner and I do not missing hoovering every day (she was the hairiest dog we have ever had!) but I am missing her more than I let on.  I will soon be heavier as I am not routinely walking at least 2 miles daily, but somehow it doesn’t feel right to walk without a lead and some poo bags in my pocket!

There are other dogs that need rescuing, and one will be coming to join our family at some point in the future (and yes I’ve already had a little look online) but it is too soon for now.  For now we have said our goodbyes, we will plant a tree in her memory to go in the garden alongside the one we have for her predecessor Pippa, and we will still say ‘Who is it?’ to the empty space at the end of the sofa when the doorbell goes, or look for her to greet us when we get home and miss her each time her little face does not pop up.

Thank you Karla for being a big part of our family life, we miss you and will not forget you.  xx

 

Cape Verde View

#50for50 – 50 things to make me happy in my 50th year :)

Happiness, it seems to be everywhere these days, & I love it.  I enjoyed The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin so that much that my friend Lynne and I started a Happiness Group, and it started me thinking about ways to bring more happiness into my life.  Not that I wasn’t happy, my life these days is pretty much where I want it to be, I have a great family, a job that I adore and do more or less what I want when I want but it is easy to ignore what we are grateful for and forget these things, forget to be happy when you are so involved in the busyness of life, so I started my own Happiness Project.

My Happiness Project is #50for50  I am going to be 50 in October 2015 and so am doing 50 things to make me happy in my 50th year.  Others of my age might go fly to New York for a shopping spree, buy a motorbike or have big parties, those things wouldn’t make me happy so I’m decided that for my 50th celebration I am doing many things over the year and am recording them in a memory book & on here. (because I am nearly 50 and don’t have a memory anymore…)

So in no particular order, other than the order they appear/happen/get thought up or orgainised…

#1  Flat Stanley; Maybe you know Flat Stanley or maybe you don’t.  It’s a kid’s story book that I grew up with and that my Dad used to use as a prop for teaching so a big part of my childhood.  The Theatre production by Engine House came to Hull on my 49th Birthday so what a fortuitous coincidence!  It is also Flat Stanley’s 50th this year too.  Allan (lovely hubby) and I were the only adults in an audience of about 300 kids (with teachers obviously) but we were the only adults there without kids!  I think I enjoyed it more than they did.  And if my Dad had been in the country at the time that would have been even better but we did have fun discussing it and how they made Stanley flat!

#2  Lunch – with friends… or maybe lots of lunches with lots of friends.  I have a great bunch of friends, some of whom I have known since I was 4 and some I have only recently met.  My friends are hugely important in my life and as you know sometimes life gets in the way of catching up with friends, so I’m making an effort this year to catch up with more of them, instead of just a text, quick call or card; to actually meet up, in person and have a proper catch up.  And adding a good lunch into the mix is a guarantee of lots of laughter, fun and happiness.   So far we’ve done Rolandos more than once (in Beverley, favourite spot), Millers,  friend’s house with home-made soup, Harvey Nics (Leeds) to name just the ones to start.

#3  My hubby Allan, he makes me happy, always, makes me laugh, often, looks after me better than I look after him, and is generally a fabulous guy.  I am so lucky I found him so early.  We recently celebrated our 27th Wedding Anniversary.  Not only did he take me out to our favourite Hotel/Restaurant (The Downcliffe Hotel, Filey) but he manifested me a rainbow :)  which could have been #4 but I might run out so it counts in #3 (it’s my project, my rules!)

A rainbow in Filey

A rainbow in Filey

#4  Total inspiration and happiness at the Women of Achievement Awards 2014 with amazing keynote speaker Katie Piper.  With my equally amazing friend Alison.  Blown away by Katie’s story, her compassion and her authenticity.  Huge respect, massively honoured to meet her and get pic and she signed our copies of her latest book.  And a mighty big thanks to Emma (event organiser) who went over and beyond the call of duty for us on this occasion.

Katie Piper, Alison Carline, Pam Medhurst

Katie Piper, Alison Carline, Pam Medhurst

#5 The Yoga Therapy Foundation Annual Charity Ball where I was presented with the most wonderful bouquet of flowers for the work I’ve done for the charity, and the fund-raising Allan and I did by jumping out of an aeroplane last year (which definitely doesn’t come in my #50for50!! ) The night was a great night and was totally surprised by Ann-Marie and Ella presenting me these flowers.

Flowers presented to me for my work for YTF

Flowers presented to me for my work for YTF

#6  Sunshine, anywhere, but guaranteed winter sun always scores highly on my list.  This was the view from a bar we walked to on holiday in December 2014, and is now my screen saver, bliss.   And yes the beach really was that empty :)

Cape Verde View

#8  Yoga – anytime anyplace anywhere, and lots of it – makes me happy.  I love doing yoga, I love teaching it, I love reading about it, I love studying it, I love planning how I can share it with more people, and I love challenging myself with it each and every day. So to that end I will be doing workshops in areas that I’m not yet accomplished in, and I took a leap of faith and did a handstand and backbend workshop with the amazing Jambo Truong.   So I got upside down, and yes I felt sick when I was swung side to side by my lovely partner, but I did it.  And felt a real sense of accomplishment.  I will continue to play with these throughout the year and yoga will definitely come up again, and again, and probably again!

Enough already… time to go do yoga, so will write more on the next blog.

Yoga for Cancer

British Wheel of Yoga

British Wheel of Yoga

I have recently qualified with the British Wheel of Yoga to be able to teach Yoga for People with Cancer.  I am honoured to have passed this module that was taught by the amazing Julie Friedeberger (Author of A Visible Wound: Healing Journey through Breast Cancer and The Healing Power of Yoga).  Julie is an inspiring teacher and I feel I have learnt so much from her generous teachings.

The Yoga Therapy Foundation ( a local charity set up by yoga teacher Ann-Marie Mainprize to offer yoga to those in need of yoga therapy) and run through the Yoga Therapy Lounge in Hull will offer a class for cancer from the New Year. This class will run on a Tuesday morning from 10.45 – 12.15 and will be by self-referral for all those suffering from cancer.  This class is by donation and booking via info@theyogatherapylounge,co,uk is essential.  Because of it’s specialized nature this will be a small class, 10 participants maximum.  This class will start on Tue Jan 13th.

Each class will be very gentle and all physical yoga will be suitable for those attending, and adaptations are standard.  There will be a focus on breathing and healing meditations and a long relaxation every time in the form of yoga nidra, also known as yoga-sleep.

Restorative Yoga

Candle Light

Candle Light

What is Restorative Yoga?  

Yoga with a focus on Restoring You!  Restoring you back to who you are, back to full health, back from feeling totally frazzled and burnt-out!  In Restorative Yoga, often done with props and supports we allow the body to relax fully, and is better than sleep at doing this.  Yoga has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol, and can also help fight depression and fatigue.  We will still be moving in the class, but the focus will be on slow, mindful movements, holding poses, breathing techniques and a guaranteed Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep/deep relaxation) in every class.  (20 mins of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 2 hours of good quality sleep).

We live in such a stressed state, for many of us it becomes the norm, and we don’t realise how damaging this is to the body, the mind, to our functioning, to our sense of well-being, to our sense of humour, to our relationships, to our careers, to our energy levels and to our very existence.  Restorative Yoga is the answer you’ve been looking for, the way to de-stress, to untangle those tangled thoughts, to revitalise, to ease the aches of that back and neck and legs and wherever else it is you feel it!  Restorative yoga is the yoga that you have craved without even knowing it.  :)

With the use of candle-light, aromatherapy and silence we will allow the senses to quiet, to a much calmer place, allowing you to find some peace of mind in a hectic world.

According to Gail Grossman, owner of Om Sweet Om Yoga in New York, and author of Restorative Yoga for Life  “I tell people that in some ways, this is the hardest class you’re going to take. When you’re still, it’s hard to shut off your mind, and that’s where the real work is. That’s also where you might find the greatest capacity for growth, deep relaxation, and true well-being.”

Let this new class be your First Aid for the body & mind!  Booking essential.

The class is suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners alike.

Tuesday night, 8pm, at The Arts Garage 2, Above Pink Dancewear, Tokenspire Business Park, Hull Road, BEVERLEY, HU17 0TB.

The Arts Garage 2 is a new Dance Studio and is a lovely space, we are upstairs above Pink Dancewear.  It is easy to find on Tokenspire Business Park, directly opposite the entrance, the site is well-lit and there is a security guard on duty 24/7.  Tokenspire Business Park is just beyond the new link road roundabout on the Beverley to Hull road (towards Woodmansey)

And breathe…

And breathe...I don’t struggle too much with anxiety these days, thanks to all the yoga and self-development work I’ve done on myself over the years. This wasn’t always the case but it is now.

However, this week I had a very different day.  I took my lovely husband to the hospital for a small operation on his hand, and left him there about to go down to surgery for the op, came home, ate my breakfast and then walked the dog.  As I was walking the dog I found that I was so tense in my body, my ears were up by my shoulders and my breathing was so shallow I could feel it under my collar bones!  And then my mind went into overdrive!  Within about 10 steps I had gone from hoping I heard from him soon to convincing myself that he wouldn’t survive the general anesthetic, that I would get a call from the hospital to say this, and I was already worrying that I didn’t know the contact details of his work colleagues for the funeral.

STOP, STOP, STOP!  I physically told myself to stop. I did;  I looked at the water and the sunshine, (I was on the river bank) I wiggled my jaw to loosen it, I did a full body shake to get rid of the physical tension, and I breathed.  I stood and concentrated on bringing my breath into my belly.  And within a few breaths I brought my breathing and my mind back under control and then I carried on with my walk.  Within half and hour I’d had a text from Al to say that he was back in recovery and that all had gone well.

I am so grateful I know the tools that work for me these days, and that I have learnt how to put them into action when needed.  And I also realised just how far I’ve come, as this used to be a regular occurrence and now it is just once in a while.

 

Living with SAD

Living with SAD

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Sitting here with the sun streaming through my bay window it is odd to think that I’m writing a piece on living with SAD, but for me, thinking about SAD now, when the sun is out and before the clocks go back it is a good time to do so.  Maybe if you struggle with winter now is the perfect time to put some of these into place if you haven’t tried them before.

What is SAD?  SAD is a form of depression brought on by shortened daylight hours and lack of sunlight, said to be experienced by approximately 2% of the UK population.  For about 20% of the UK population, Sub-syndromal SAD is mildly debilitating symptoms of SAD that cause discomfort but not serious suffering. (SADA http://www.sada.org.uk)

Why am I writing about SAD, what qualifies me to do this?  Well I’ve been living with it for as long as I can remember and I have more or less worked out for me how to manage it so that it is not totally overwhelming/debilitating.  Below are a few thoughts on what I do, I don’t know it all by any means, but I do know what works for me, and on some I still have work to do.  Some may be new to you and some you may have already tried.  If you’ve tried them previously and found them not to work it may be time to revisit them? For example I tried previously with the eating and then decided it didn’t make that much of a difference, now I know it to make a vital difference but it took a while and a few attempts to acknowledge this.

So in no particular order:

Lights -  I use a Lumie desk lamp both on my dressing table and when I eat breakfast, I also use it during the mid-winter period anytime that I am sitting working on my computer.  These lights are not cheap, but they are worth their weight in gold as far as I am concerned!  And Lumie also do a free trial before you buy so it is worth investigating.  The higher the lux the stronger the light and the less time you need to sit in front of it.  Mine is 10,000 lux.  I also have a body clock which wakes me more naturally as the light gently brightens, if you don’t wake then there is a beep feature too.  I am usually awake before this point and switch it off before that rude beep! www.lumie.com

Daylight – Spend some time outdoors every day.  I am now very fortunate that as I am self-employed I run my own schedule to allow me time outside each day, but even when I was employed I made sure I took a walk outside at lunchtime.  Even on the dullest days it makes a difference.  Now I walk the dog around lunchtime (the brightest part of even the dullest day) particularly in mid-winter when the days are so short.  It is not Christmas (more on this later) that I await in December it is the Solstice, the 21st, so I know that I have passed the shortest day and the days start to get a little longer from then.

Yoga – Always yoga!  My yoga is vital to me, without it I become stiff, sullen and snappy! & even more so in winter.  Why do I think this is vital? Because I know that when I am down/depressed/SAD/whatever I have previously dropped yoga from my schedule because I haven’t got time or I can’t be bothered or I don’t feel like it.  This is the very time I need it most.  For me I have learned what I now need from yoga at any particular time, but this has taken years.  At first I just knew that anything I actually did made me feel better, so it was just a case of forcing/encouraging myself to get the mat out or turn up at a class, and I would feel better afterwards.  And if I didn’t, and there were many times I didn’t, I felt worse.  Now it might be some restorative yoga I need, or a good flowing sequence or some more breathing and meditation but anything is always better than nothing!

With breathing for me I know that Nadi Shodhana or alternative nostril breathing is so important.  This is what it says, a focus on breathing through alternative nostrils.  It really helps with that balance, not too much stimulation but equally not too much relaxation. When I am down/depressed/SAD/whatever my preference is often for static asana (posture), especially Savasana (corpse pose) and yoga nidra but I know that too much at that point can be counter-productive, so the alternate nostril breathing gives me that amazing and much needed balance.

Maybe yoga is not your thing? But move somehow, anyhow! Motion shifts emotion, so walk, swim, bike, skip, run, climb whatever it is that floats your boat!

Eating well -  When I am down/depressed/SAD/whatever I would quite happily live on white bread and butter, cake, ready salted crisps and cups of tea.  This is not a good diet!  (I know this now, I didn’t always believe this). But it is what I crave in winter. Sometimes I still eat these but know with absolute certainty that I will feel worse if I carry on with them.  I do still allow myself indulgences of them occasionally but have to encourage myself to eat protein and lots of veggies.  I love a hugely colourful plateful so challenge myself to get six or more colours on a plate when eating.  I am, however, still working on this!

Alone time – I am an introvert, a gregarious introvert but an introvert non-the-less. I need time alone to recoup my energy.  I also know that I need a balance in each day and each week of time alone and time spent in company (in relation to both work and leisure time). And I can get the balance wrong – too much alone time can be as counter-productive as too much company!

Winter holiday – we now take our holiday in winter, sometimes February, but more recently December.  This works well for me, it gives me that boost of sunshine and rest that I need in order to get through the rest of winter, for you it maybe that you need it a little later in the season. We go somewhere warm (with more or less guaranteed sunshine and longer day length) for at least a week.  In an ideal world I’d live where it was summer all year round!  This is unlikely to happen in this lifetime J but I’m working towards it…

Not too much festivity – Winter celebrations – aka Christmas!  I don’t really like Christmas, it is not something that I have come to admit lightly.  I find it hard work because of when it is as well as the jollity of it all, and the shopping (I hate shopping!).  All I want to do is hide under the duvet and ‘people’ expect me to want to go out and socialise, repeatedly, with other people that I may barely know just because we have a little bit of a connection.  I am choosy in what I do in relation to these celebrations. I say yes to some things but no to others.  I know that I cannot do repeated late nights (more of which later) and I know that I cannot do repeated big gatherings (see above).  Some people (I’m told)  may feel I’m selfish in this but I know what I need to do to keep me healthy,  and I have previously tried to do far more than I knew was healthy in an attempt to please others.  Knowing myself so much better now helps me to say No.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you or want your company; it just means that I can’t do it all and I can’t do it then.  Invite me in the spring for a lunch rather than a Christmas dinner and I’ll be there like a shot

Sleep – I need 8 hours, I can just about manage on 7, less than 7 and things start falling apart rapidly.  Repeated nights of less than 7 hours have me a gibbering wreck within a week! But much more than 8 and I become comatose and want to stay in bed, so once again it is that balance.  And my yoga certainly helps me sleep much more soundly than I ever used to do.  More yoga = better sleep = better Pam!

Reading – I love reading but I lose the capacity to read when I am depressed.  This for me is one of my earliest indicators that something is not good for me.  I love a good novel but when I find that I have read the page/paragraph three times and still don’t know what is happening then I know it is time to take a good look at myself and see what I need to do to rectify this for me.  I know to watch for it now.

This too will pass – My four favourite words, they help with so many situations!  I had heard them before but they became real for me during my yoga training in Mexico.  With SAD knowing that winter will end, that spring will spring again and that the sun will shine is so valuable.  We will not be in the depths of winter for ever, and knowing I will feel better, knowing I will have more energy again, knowing I will want to go out and share times with friends again helps even if at the time I don’t have those things.  Even though this is in relation to SAD those four little words help me in ‘regular’ depression too, knowing that I will not always feel like this, this too will pass, makes it far more manageable to deal with at the time, but that has been a long lesson to learn.

Do what you love – I was in a job that didn’t fit with my beliefs and values, I was unhappy. Being unhappy does not make you depressed, but it certainly didn’t help the state of my mental health.  Walking away from a job is not an easy thing to do. In my case I was fortunate as a severance package made it an easier choice.  I now do what I love – teaching yoga and workshops – and it certainly contributes to me being healthier and happier, though I still have work to do on that work/life balance!

Smile/laugh – This section may sound contradictory…  Put on a smile or laugh, even when you don’t feel like it.  The brain does not know the difference between the real and the fake and by using these muscles (facial & belly) it sends signals to the brain that you are happy.  When depressed it is probably the last thing you feel like doing but it works.  Laughter Yoga works for me so well, I can fake laugh and instantly have a mood lift, I can put on a huge smile even when I feel like crying and it does make a difference, sometimes a little difference sometimes a bigger difference. And that fake/false smile/laugh can and does turn real.

But, and it is a big BUT, don’t just put on that false/fake smile and pretend to the world that everything is alright.  It is about what is going on for you that is important.  When someone asks ‘How are you?’ we may reply ‘yes I’m fine’, and that is often appropriate, but when someone close asks how you are, if you are not fine then don’t say you are!  Tell them you need a hug, tell them you are struggling and could do with some help, tell them you need some time out, to just to ‘be’ for a while. I am trying to say not to hide yourself behind that fake smile, particularly when you need support, but that it is still important to do it for you to lift your mood. Said it might appear contradictory!

Be happy – Ok, glib comment here maybe!  But not really, focussing on happiness really has made a difference to me.  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is just one of a long line of self-help books that I have read and done and that has helped me understand me.  This one made such an impact that with a friend (thanks Lynne) we set up The HEY Happiness Group to keep a focus on happiness.  When you are in the depths of depression someone from outside telling you to be happy is absolutely the last thing you want, I know I’ve been there, but from inside, when you work out what makes you happy and do that thing/those things regularly as part of your routine it really does make a difference. (But it does have to be what makes you happy, not what you think will make you happy because it makes others happy!)

Ask for help – Get the troops to rally round!  This is not being lazy or not coping (both things I have previously told myself); this is a good tool in your toolkit of coping mechanisms. Ask for help, whether it is little or bigger things.  I have a fabulous family and support network but I still sometime struggle to ask for help when I need it.  This could be just telling someone about your SAD and asking them to mention to you if they notice that things are not quite usual, particularly in those winter months.  This could be at home or at work.  But ask them to do it gently and with love.  If you are anything like me you may take their genuine concern for your welfare and offers of support as criticism and go into defensive mode!

Talk – or perhaps write? Tell people about it, just what I’m doing here. I didn’t always discuss the fact that I struggle/am blessed with depression.  Now I am much more open about it and I find it easier to deal with when it comes.  I am as open as I can be about the fact that I have had depression.  I also find it easier to discuss once it has passed, not while I am in the middle/muddle of it! Seriously, talk to me then and I may well deny it, alternatively I may just dissolve in a puddle!

My depression is usually seasonal but not always.  I put struggle/am blessed with in the previous paragraph because that is how I feel about how depression affects me.  ‘Struggle’ because it is often a struggle; but ‘am blessed with’ because I truly believe it has made me the person I am today and that is a much more empathetic and considerate one than I used to be.

Not taking on too much – I am very guilty of thinking I can do everything and getting it done by tomorrow at the very latest!  I am enthusiastic about new projects and love to learn.  This means I say yes to things, get fired up and want to do whatever it is and learn everything about it! Then I have no energy left to deal with everything, including the new thing. And then I have to back off and say no, and sometimes let people down (which I hate doing!)  So I now try and curb my enthusiasm so that I get the balance right (that word again – I am Libra!) of being involved and doing things but not taking on too much.  Again, I am still working on this one!

Drugs – prescription ones, obviously!  I have used anti-depressants in the past.  I no longer use them as I don’t feel I need them, I now control my SAD with all the other tools I’ve mentioned above.  But I have used them and found they worked for me.  Some are better than others and some have more side-effects than others.  I found the ones that worked for me and if I had a bad winter/period and couldn’t control my depression with other methods I would certainly go back to my GP and ask for them (by name) again.  There was a point in my life that I thought I would always need a regular dose of anti-depressant, I’m not there any longer, I believe, because of the things above.

When SAD isn’t SAD – Sometimes SAD isn’t SAD, even though most of the time my depression is seasonal it hasn’t always been the case.  If you think that you have SAD and you are not starting to feel more motivated, having more energy, having more joy of life by March/Spring then maybe it is not SAD.  The longer days, the sunshine, the warmer weather, the daffodils should start to make a difference when they come, if not, it may be that you are not dealing with SAD this time.

Relax, laugh, flourish J

Pam x

The above are opinions of Pam Medhurst, the definitions of SAD and sub-SAD are from www.SADA.org. I am happy to discuss this writing if anyone wants to ask questions or pose an alternative.  I am also happy to try new things in relation to managing SAD going forwards so feel free to contact me.

 

YogaBellies Teacher of the Month

YogaBellies Dragons' Den logoI’ve just found out I have been awarded the YogaBellies Teacher of the Month for September and am so proud.

The comments from the YogaBellies team include:

*Pam has continued to provide excellent ongoing support to other teachers and HQ.

*Pam has received excellent and positive feedback from some of the clients who have attended her classes and this is further evidenced by the high number of bookings and repeat bookings that she continues to receive on an ongoing basis.

*She recently delivered an excellent presentation on Feel the Fear at the YogaBellies CPD in Luton. She received excellent feedback and was highly acclaimed by all teachers and attendees – this more than exceeds the criteria for teamanship and providing help and assistance to other teachers.

*Overall Pam’s hard work, dedication and passion for yoga and YogaBellies has resulted in her promoting the ethos, culture and YogaBellies brand in a professional and positive way that should prove inspirational to us all.

I love YogaBellies, love my teaching, love being involved in a little way in the journey of pregnancy and absolutely love the opportunity to be a part of a team that is so supportive to me in my passion.

Thank You YogaBellies.

 

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How I changed my mind about jumping out of a plane…

P1060829P1060908 (3)P1060910 (3)On Sunday 13th July I jumped out of a plane from 15,000 feet! Considering I have a fear of heights and don’t particularly like flying this was definitely a Feel the Fear moment for me. When we first agreed that this was an event we would do to raise funds for the Yoga Therapy Foundation I mindlessly agreed that yes I’d do this, and perhaps didn’t really believe that it would come off, but it did. I can now reflect that this was indeed an amazing experience, but I can’t say it was one I enjoyed.
I used all of my Feel the Fear techniques and a constant extended exhale to keep me relaxed (stimulating rest and digest rather than the fight or flight reflex). And even though I can’t say I enjoyed it I am incredibly proud of the fact I did it. Nothing can ever be as scary again as standing in the door of the plane knowing that was the point of no return.
So, the day dawned, not a fabulous forecast, lots of rain across the country and cloud covering much of the local area. We were originally supposed to be there to jump at 1pm but heard not to set off because of the weather so we were just hanging around at home waiting to hear if we were to go, and then we got the message to head over the Humber Bridge!
We headed off and were hopeful (I think) that we were actually going to jump, by that stage I was definitely thinking I want to do this today, as I’m ready. On arrival at Hibaldstow http://www.skydiving.co.uk
we paid up, got weighed(!) and then went for the training. This was a fun talk by one of the instructors. We were told that in quick cases they could do the training in two minutes and basically the instruction was ‘Don’t touch anything, we do the work’. As it happened we were given a little more training and then given a number to listen out for with which to wait our turn.
It was a busy afternoon at the airport so the planes were full. Our group didn’t all get to jump together so there was no chance to do laughter yoga as a group, but I did insist I was going to jump with Allan, and thankfully I did. We finally got to go in the late afternoon. We went and got dressed in very flattering boiler suits, hats and gloves and then made our way to the plane. I told Colin, my instructor how nervous I was and also that I do have a tendency to motion sickness, so he said he’d take a sick bag! But also that he would look after me, and even though I’d only just met him I did trust him to do just that. He has been jumping since the 1990s and is still here so I decided the odds were pretty good. Mick, Allan’s instructor was a fellow biker so promised they would have some fun.
We got a bus to the plane, a small blue one, sorry not technical, twin propeller perhaps? With a plastic door! No seats and seat belts here, just two benches that we had to straddle, very intimate and despite having only just met Colin had to sit on his knee to get strapped on! And up we go very quickly up to 10,000 feet when a group of single sky divers jumped out. The door shut again and we climbed to 15,000 feet.
During the climb Colin talked to me a little and told me this was fun, from my knowledge of fun, laughter and happiness I know that what is fun or makes one person happy is not the same for another person and I certainly wasn’t in my happy place. My happy place is on my yoga mat in Savasana doing Yoga Nidra! I was tempted to zone out and pretend it wasn’t happening, but decided I wanted to fully experience this whole madness so being mindful of my breath, kept looking out of the window and knowing that I was doing this, I could do this and I had the courage to do this.
Then it was our time, I watched Allan and Mick shuffle forward to the door, asked Mick to look after him and then they were gone and it was my turn. We shuffled forwards to the door, I kept repeating ‘I can do this’ and ‘let go and trust’ (though that felt a bit too literal standing in the doorway) and focussed on my breathing, extended exhale all the way. We moved towards the door, and I saw out and realised this was it. I assumed the banana position, head leaning back on Colin’s shoulder, legs between his and he jumped, I managed not to scream or be sick (result) as we went into free-fall. I counted the number of my breaths (another part of my coping technique) as we dropped at a rate of something like 120 miles per hour downwards (22 quite fast, think I was a bit nervous…). Colin then opened the parachute and we were yanked upwards and the silence was amazing. I managed to look around, I had a scary moment when Colin undid the bottom hooks from our hips so he could control the landing better, I’d forgotten they’d told us that in training! He took off my goggles so I could see better, not really needed, I didn’t see the Humber Bridge though!
We landed safely, on my bum, and once we were detached I tried to stand but had to stay on the floor for a little while to recover, my legs were like jelly, but by then I had a big smile on my face.
As I said I am incredibly proud of my achievement, but it did take some prior work to change my mindset from the initial self-talk of ‘I’m terrified’ “I can’t do this’ to be able to even get on the plane. I can safely say I could do it again if the need ever arose but I have no intention of doing so!
Allan on the other hand is already planning his next jump for next year! I’ll be the supportive wife but with my feet on the ground!

 

Pictures – with thanks to my Dad!  Me coming into land.  Very happy to have both feet back on the ground.  Proud moment!