This morning I received an anniversary card. Ok, maybe card isn’t quite accurate. This morning I received an anniversary email. It’s not a hand written love note marking an occasion, but it was something quite significant for me – an email from yogahaven on the third anniversary of my first ever visit there.

Before I set foot in the studio I’d done the odd random yoga or Bodybalance class but not for any significant period of time or with any real commitment. So essentially today is the third anniversary of the day I became a yogi. I know it’s such a stereotype to say ‘I started yoga and it changed my life’ but I’m afraid it’s a stereotype that you can absolutely apply to me. When I first decided to try out hot yoga I simply wanted to get a bit fitter. I knew I didn’t really like the gym, and while I thought traditional yoga might be more chanting than fat burning (yes, I know I was wrong), hot yoga seemed like a good option.

At the time – 6.45am on a Wednesday with Allie Hill if we’re being specific (I have a funny memory for dates) I had no idea that yoga would be such a key part of my life in the way that it now is. So, in celebration of one of my most lasting relationships, here’s some of the opportunities that yoga has given me and things it has taught me.

  • If in doubt, get on your mat. Shortly after I started practicing at yogahaven I went through quite a difficult time with one thing and another. But when I found myself waking up at 5.30am in a panic, I quickly taught myself to think that it was a good thing that I was awake in time to take myself to the 6.45am class.
  • You can’t do anything but switch off in yoga. You can’t check your work blackberry in the middle of class. You can’t do anything but be on your mat. For most of us what a rare opportunity that is!
  • Have yoga, will travel. One of the things I love about having yoga as an interest are the opportunities it presents both to travel and when traveling. Not just by going on amazing dedicated yoga retreats and getting to spend all day honing your practice, but by searching out and trying different classes abroad. Last year I found myself in Buenos Aires and scoped out Buena Onda yoga which runs English classes all over the city. Ready made holiday plans are waiting!
  • Envelop yourself as little or as much as you want. The yoga community’s a big one. If you want, thoroughly check out the best yoga studios, the different styles you like. Subscribe to Om Yoga magazine, fill your Instagram with Kino MacGregor, Laura Sykora and Beach Yoga Girl and spend more on your new pair of leggings than you have on your last two pairs of shoes. Or don’t. It genuinely doesn’t really matter.
  • Your body will change with continued practice. But that’s not the fun part. The secret is that your mind changes along with your body.
  • You get more than just a workout. If you want to just do yoga for the physical benefits, that’s absolutely not a problem (and completely the reason I started). But at the end of even the most sweaty and dynamic yoga session, you have a dedicated period of relaxation and maybe even a little massage from your teacher. You don’t get that at the end of spinning…
  • You learn how to stand on your head. Just like when you were playing as a kid. That’s pretty cool.
  • No one can ever know everything. This is something I became so aware of once I started dipping my toe in yogic waters. There’s simply too much to learn and do to ever perfect everything in yoga. It’s a good lesson to take off the mat as well.