I have always been someone who cannot sit still. My teachers used to ask me the familiar phrase “Catherine - do you have ants in your pants?” Not really - but I think that phrase has stuck with me my whole life and I have always struggled to find stillness.
I am a runner and am from a family of runners. Following the very sudden and tragic circumstances of the death of my beloved father in 2012 , I threw myself into running. Running for me was the only way I could escape the enormous grief and darkness my mind had trapped me in. Physically I was able to run for hours just to escape my thoughts and immense sadness.
This physical exertion for two years caught up with me and I suffered an injury, yoga was recommended to me . Yoga was something I had dabbled in and out of for a couple of years, so I gave it another go, as I clung to the need for physical exercise for my busy and sad mind.
I cannot say I loved it when I started attending 90 minute Bikram classes. I used to get quite frustrated and holding poses for what felt like hours my mind would be all over the place, never on my mat. However that changed the moment I did my first vinyasa flow class, the constant need to inhale and exhale to each asana allowed me to think of nothing else but breath and movement. And that was it, I was a yogi.
From always being the first student to leave after Savasana , I stayed and let my thoughts come and go, the quietness, calmness and stillness allowed me to just be there at that moment.
Yoga has given me a sense of contentment of who I am and where I am now in this moment. It has allowed me to let go of the constant mental anguish I had been smothered in and it and made me realise I have no control over what lies ahead of me
It is why I will continue my practice as it physically keeps me strong and flexible, but mentally its the place I go to for my busy mind to be free.
I always feel lighter after a practice- Yoga has taught me to be kind not only to my physical body but to me - My Atman.
Whilst I will always be that girl who runs, I have found my stillness and that is me - the running yogi - finding stillness in a world full of motion.
Photography courtesy of Lauren Emma Sutton.