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Staying on the Mat by Sarah Carradine

When the yoga workshops with Nicole Walsh were announced, I found the idea enticing and daunting in equal measures. I thought it would be a wonderful experience. But two and a half hours of yoga, times two sessions, with an extra two hours after that? I didn’t know if I could do it.

On the Saturday morning, Kate asked us to set an intention. The intention I set was simply to stay on the mat. I was to return to that intention many times over the three sessions.

Connecting to Core on Saturday was a strong practice, but Nicole’s light and attractive manner drew us forward through the asanas. Her instructions were clear and encouraging, and if I wobbled from time to time, I stayed on the mat. When the session finished, I felt such gratitude – to Nicole for the fluid, strong class, to Kate for inviting her, and to my loyal body for doing what was asked of it, or a close approximation anyway.

On Sunday, the two and a half hours were just as daunting, but I had a mental leg-up knowing I had done it once already. At the beginning of the Heart Opening Backbends in the morning, Nicole promised we wouldn’t be getting freaky. The backbends were beautiful, though by no means easy. By encouraging us to breathe through them, Nicole made them seem possible, if not right in that moment, then as something to work towards. By the time the workshop was over, I think any one of us would have happily got freaky with her.

By now I had stayed in the mat for a total of five hours. The afternoon workshop was a breezy two hours long, though a challenge nonetheless. A yin practice, Luna Flow was relaxing, while still feeling strong. The room was full to capacity, and under Nicole’s direction we breathed and stretched and bent and twisted. We were carried along by the energy in the room, all of us feeling a sense of communion. During the quiet resting pose at the end, Savasana, I floated, not quite asleep, not quite dreaming, until Nicole’s voice called me back. Talking to other participants in the week since, I found we all had a similar experience. As I turned to roll up my mat for the final time after seven hours of yoga, I was overcome for a moment and had to hide my face in my towel. I was moved by the events of the weekend, and that feeling again – gratitude.

I didn’t know if I could do it. I found I could. And that has carried over into the other rooms with me.

My time at Flow has increased my self belief, as well as my physical confidence. I’m excited to see how far I can go.

By Flow Athlete, Sarah Carradine.

CATEGORY: Mind, Yoga

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