I was on a stationary train, commuting to London, when I decided to quit my job. Not the best timing: a young son, a wife on maternity leave, a profession in print journalism that wasn’t – and still isn’t – particularly in demand. “We’re sorry to announce…” came the tinny voice over the tannoy as we ground to halt on the outskirts of London. When I eventually got to work I went straight to my director’s office…“I’m sorry to announce…”
So, what’s this got to do with yoga? It could be a coincidence, but there’s a distinct possibility yoga had a part to play in this impulsive and decisive life moment. You see, I wasn’t filled with anxiety or anger on that train. In fact, I felt wonderfully calm and clear headed. The same way I always do the morning after my weekly two-hour yoga session.
I started yoga in an attempt to deal with the stress of commuting four to five hours a day on an unreliable train service, to work in an office that was, to say the least, depressing. That and the dull ache in my back. The back pain disappeared and as I stepped up my practice there seemed to be a growing clarity, calmness and confidence to act decisively on parts of my life I didn’t think I had much control over.
My yoga teacher tells us how a regular practice not only improves us physically but helps us handle the big moments in our lives. Of course, I didn’t really believe it at first. And I still can’t quite see how struggling to hold my balance during warrior one on a Tuesday night could have led to me handing my notice in on the Wednesday morning. Just a coincidence? Maybe not.
A year on and I can confidently say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I now work from an office in my back garden; I see my son every day, not just the weekends; go for bike rides on a Tuesday afternoon (still feel a bit guilty about that) and have an extra five hours a day to fit in some yoga practice ahead of the next big decision. Watch this space.