Our passion at Be … Naturally is to help you explore your inner resources and discover what is possible – so that you can become healthier, happier, more resilient and live well … naturally.
It is such a pleasure to witness the positive transitions that people go through when they experience our offerings – and when they then start to bring these natural approaches further into their everyday life, it can be so rewarding.
This is the story of Steve – and how his mindful yoga and meditation classes with Jules helped him on a journey to discover “Mediyoga”. We would like to blow Steve’s trumpet a little, via this blog – even though he actually plays the French Horn! – and we hope you enjoy reading it.
MEDIYOGA – by Steve Migden
I’m a 74 year old retired musician/teacher who has the good fortune to have a lot of time on my hands these days. I like cycling, fishing and long/short distant walking. I used to like running but it’s not the best thing for the old joints – so I don’t anymore. The closest I get to it is opening the drawer with all the running clothing in it and selfishly resisting to give it away … just in case.
Oh, the other thing I do is yoga. I’ve been doing it for years now. I used to just attend a maximum of two classes a week at the local gym – but only when the fish weren’t biting. My yoga teacher, Julie Wraight, would occasionally single me out after casting what could only be assumed to be a not-so-approving eye at my feeble attempts. “Are you sitting on your legs, Steve?” (I can’t recall what it’s called in yoga terms). “Sure do” I lied. “Daily?” “Of course” lying again. Truthfully, my yoga “practice’ never existed, less on daily, even though I would often comment to my lovely wife (she also does yoga with me – or is it that I do it with her?) “I really ought to do more yoga at home” and leave it at that.
Then something happened.
My wife and I took a trip to Hong Kong and Phuket. I won’t bore you with all the details – except for one. While we were in Phuket, I couldn’t get over how happy and cheerful the Thai people appeared to be. It certainly wasn’t because they were ranking in the loot – I learnt that the average daily income was 300 Thai Bat or just a little over £7. Maybe the weather, or the beauty of the surrounding seas, or the fantastic cuisine? Maybe – but a lot of them are Buddhist – and Buddhist meditate.
Now I consider myself to be a jolly guy and enjoy my luxurious lifestyle of a retired male with an “I-can-get-by” pension, a great family and Border Collie, so I really didn’t think I could get much happier through meditation.
Not for me. I’m normal. I’m OK thank you. But it stuck with me all the way back to the UK – so much so that I started to read a little about Buddhism. Time and time again, nearly every page referred to the importance of meditation. Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve not become a Buddhist. But meditation – that might be interesting to see if it would have any effect on my most satisfactory life. So for the past few months, the first thing I do, after pouring my old bones off the mattress each morning, is to go to the spare bedroom (now a Man Cave), put on my wireless headphones (I used to run with them – see, I told you – “just in case”), turn on the iPhone and tune into some “Dawn Chorus” sounds on YouTube while sitting on my legs and meditate for 10 minutes or so. Immediately after that, I lie down on my yoga mat and summon my Playlist of soothing piano music and go through a routine of yoga exercises lasting for approximately 30 – 40 minutes.
So, am I better for it you may ask? Well, to be honest, it’s still early days, but I can tell you this; I don’t cramp up like I used to and generally feel more flexible when working around the house and garden. And I think I go further and faster on the bike! My wife sees changes in me too – both mentally and physically. She says I’m even happier than before (hard to believe) – that I’m calmer too (also hard to believe) – more tolerant of others (except for bad drivers, tangled hangers and zippers that get stuck). She also says that her observations of me in yoga class are more exemplary. My Pigeon no longer looks like a Parakeet and though my Half Moon is only a Quarter Moon most of the time, it’s there.
And here’s the clincher – I really enjoy my daily “Mediyoga”. It doesn’t matter to me so much if I become a better, healthier human or not. I just enjoy finding me – just me – for a little while every morning.
Finally, I have to thank my wonderfully talented yoga teacher Julie Wraight, for her gentle and persistent encouragement over the years for me to do daily practice. Her version of mindful yoga and meditation was – and remains – key in improving my life.
Buddha was once asked “what have you gained from meditation?” Buddha answered “Nothing. However, I have lost anger, anxiety, depression, fear of old age and death”.
Here’s the soothing music I use:
Khatia Buniatishvili, pianist – selection from her album “Motherland”
Chopin – “Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17”
You can download all from iTunes
Our Be … Naturally offerings integrate yoga, meditation and forest therapy with other natural approaches. To experience them for yourself, take a look at our Events page on our website – and come and join us.