I push the pedals on my bike and scoot from Harlesden towards Notting Hill as I have each morning for the last two weeks since returning to London. As I fly down Kensal Rise the wind rushes at me & hits me square in the face, I wheel in and out of traffic jams, ignore red lights, it’s a small act of rebellion that blows away the cobwebs, wakes me up and reminds me I am alive. Ten minutes later I reach W2, my heart is beating fast and I feel my lungs working, I like starting the day this way.
My recent few months led me to Yoga, it started when a friend said they didn’t think I should go to the Yoga class they were doing because they didn’t think I would be capable, when I heard this I felt lousey. They were of course probably absolutely right, but I didn’t want to accept it. Then in Dharmshala I started to do classes each day and I have carried on. In India, in Italy & now in London. Now most days I do a class of some sort, somewhere, I like going to several teachers, each gives something different, each has their own spin, mid-morning and its a class with Howard, at the Gym back in Notting Hill.
Howard likes to talk, I like to listen, he expounds his theories on the body, on the mind, on Yoga as he goes from one Asana to another. Earlier in the year before I travelled I went to some of his classes, I liked them, but I struggled, it felt damned hard to do anything in any deep way, but today something new came along. Howard was talking about the mind and the body, how one influences the other, how one can effect the other, this isn’t a new idea, but it is one I firmly believe. Howard goes on to say that Yoga, or exercise, or sport improves physical well-being, and in turn this then can move the psychological for the better, by that meaning turning negative thoughts to a more positive outlook. Then we do a bend, my hamstrings are stretched, my back curls easily and my head touches the ground, it never has in this Asana before, I find myself flat on the floor, I have moved, it is my little victory, over myself and my negative thoughts. Sometimes that’s all you need, to move, little steps, little victories, movement.
I eat a healthy lunch, potter around for a while and then later go to the Gym to exercise and to sweat a little. I finish with a swim. I cycle back home early evening, the muscles in my legs ache and it feels great.
As I pedal I think of my month in Italy, working on a Sabina Hillside where I deliberately pushed myself in the baking sun, hours of weeding, digging,watering, picking fruit and vegetables, I think of diving in the Red Sea, the sound of the bubbles from my aqua-lung under the water, of India and a month of Yoga classes, of walking hours up and down hills and footpaths in the Himalayas, it all mattered.
I am not comfortable with the narratives of journey, of seeking enlightenment, or being on a spiritual path, but I dont know how I would describe what I have been doing, at times I haven’t had a clue, actually I still don’t, I cannot tell you where I am heading, other than I suspect its still a long way from here. I can’t tell you why I have found these last two years so painful, why I have found it so difficult to let go of the past. But what I can say is that I started at rock bottom, there wasn’t much lower to go, that sometimes I wanted to jack it all in, but now I cannot, I won’t. Each day I keep plugging away, there are good days, there are bad days, but I keep going. And every once and a while I actually believe I may be getting somewhere.