(Besides my French being completely inadequate!)

Exercising on a family holiday is always a challenge. Yes – there’s usually plenty of walking (a lot of it carrying a small child), but my body needs yoga and Pilates. I usually have good intentions of doing yoga or Pilates at my in-laws house or our Air B’n’B, but I really prefer to go to class. The problem is, my French is limited (Peppa Pig level as I usually say). I know my right from my left, but following cues beyond that? What the hell is downward dog in French?

This year I got brave – I went to class, in French. How did it go? It was more fun than I thought it would be. What I learnt, was much more interesting:

Yoga is about you

So I’ve headed to yoga class in my regular gear – a pink (of course) lululemon tank and some printed Dharma Bums leggings (with multiple layers on top so I don’t freeze on the way). Nothing unusual – except in France. It was pretty much a sea of black leggings and tanks (and baggy t-shirts for the hatha class). It felt a bit 1995. No-one noticed my flamingo like outfit, no-one cared. In the heated flow class I ended up just in my crop top and leggings – it was hot! I might be a Pilates and yoga teacher, but I’m still a 44 year old mum of two and holiday eating and flat bellies do not go hand-in hand. No-one looked at my stomach, even I forgot about it after I started moving. Everyone is there for their own practice. It’s ok to look like a flamingo.

Shake up your routine

I’m a yin girl. I won’t lie, it’s my favourite and my body loves it. I haven’t done much vinyasa since I finished yoga teacher training. I couldn’t find a yin class that worked with my schedule, so I went to a heated flow class and a hatha class. It was fun (and yes, I was surprised)!!! I can’t remember the last time I went to a hot flow class, but I loved the dynamic movement. The hatha class finished with arm balances – it was challenging and I love pushing my body like that. Try something new – you might just find you like it!

Focus on your own movement

I didn’t understand most of the cues (beyond left and right), so I hung out at the back of the yoga class so I could see what everyone was doing. But alignment, that was something (aside from a few adjustments) I would need to work out for myself. I had to think about where my body was in space and where it should be. I racked my brain for cues in yoga classes I’d been to and yoga teacher training – start at the ground and work your way up. I know I always have to think about the arches of my feet, where are my hips facing, where’s my eye gaze….. Wow, it was easy to stay focussed!

It’s ok not to get everything right

Even if I understood all the cues, I was unlikely to get it perfect! Yes, we’d all like to have perfect alignment, but that’s not why we go to yoga. Most of us are there to move, breathe and take some time to connect with ourselves. These are arguably much more important than perfect alignment (unless of course you are going to hurt yourself). Think about progress not perfection, but more importantly, enjoy the process.

See you on the mat soon 🙂