I spent the early part of this sunny Sunday morning experiencing something I never thought I would do.
Instead of peering out of the bed covers; still in last nights clothes and make-up with a feeling of dread, I pulled on my yoga pants, drove through the streets of a very quiet Kensington and arrived at the National History Museum. One of London’s most beautiful, iconic buildings.
Please note, I drove… in Central London and no one got hurt! Yays! I only got my license last year in sobriety (thank goodness I had enough sense not to try during my drinking days), so I am still chuffed every time I drive somewhere new and don’t cause an accident.
As I made my way to the NHM, carrying my yoga mat wondering if I look like a local Sloane, I crossed paths with a lot of peeps coming back from nights out – it was 7.30am after all. I could smell them a mile off, booze, ciggies and sweat. When I got closer I could see the glazed eyes and tired bags, I remember those feelings, before things got really bad and I am so grateful my morning was spent doing something else. I hope the ravers had an awesome night, I hope they remember it and remember having fun and nothing else. But my idea of fun these days is meeting a good friend, catching up and doing something you can’t do anywhere else in the world. Yoga underneath a blue whale.
As I was getting set up I realised I was surrounded by some serious yogi’s. Although I do some stretching in the morning, a serious yogi status is not something I can claim. Which was glaringly obvious as I unrolled my ‘USA Pro’ yoga mat with Ted’s claw marks in it. I was also the only one wearing bright floral leggings – zen fail? Although I did spot a lady wearing leggings with both pugs AND unicorns on them – I refrained from getting too excited and bounding over – she looked like she was in her ‘quiet place’.
Instead of getting worried about not fitting in and looking silly, I enjoyed relaxing and listening to the breathing instructor. In my previous life, my anxiety would have kicked in (well actually my anxiety wouldn’t have let me make the class in the first place), but not today! I felt comfortable and relaxed as we moved into the yoga section of the morning.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – the yoga practice was actually bloody tough. Stretching and posing and breathing and trying not to let a lil fart out is hard work. But doing all of this in such a beautiful environment with such amazing teachers (the event was arranged by East Of Eden) was truly an unforgettable experience. By the time the gong bath came I was well up for some relaxation.
For anyone that doesn’t know what a gong bath – neither did I. But what it seemed to be was a mixture of human vocals and gong music to help relax you and draw you deeper into your meditation. It was really beautiful, the sounds and the acoustics were overwhelming and I managed to fall into a pool of relaxation – or bath – aha! That’s where the bath comes into it maybe?
It was beautiful and a very spiritual experience, but I am still a child and find inappropriate things amusing so when one of the breathing exercises included pounding your chest like a gorilla and making ape noises, I couldn’t help but laugh. But laughing is good for the soul so my thoughts are do it whenever you can!
After the gong bath, the session was over and we were able to meander around the museum before the crowds came in. It was so lovely to share this with a close friend and catch up somewhere cultural, even if I was only really pretending to be cultural and was way too easily distracted by the monkey’s on the ceiling. It beats trying to chat in an overcrowded bar shouting over repetitive music.
The realisation of me not being a cultural whizz or historian was when I noticed we had been looking up at a white statue throughout the whole experience;
“Who’s that chap then?” I asked my friend
“Charles Darwin” She replied with no judgement (well not externally anyway)
Oh wow. Shame.
Darwin developed the theory of evolution, and I couldn’t help but think, how poignant that was. Standing under the statue of a man that I didn’t recognise, this morning’s experience made me realise how much I had evolved too.
Today was an amazing day, I am lucky enough to live in a city that provides experiences like this, and lucky to be well enough to participate in such a great activity.
If you like yoga, monkey’s, gongs and statues called Charles I really recommend you give it a go. This isn’t a paid post, I just had a really great time!