My eyes flicker back and forth between the empty road and the red light overhead. I’m sat on the Ducati heading north to Collaroy. I’m tired and frustrated from an unproductive day. I’m hoping that this yoga class will prove worth the hour-long ride. Only two months ago, Faidon, Adrian, and I enjoyed four weekly drives here to complete our Mental Health First Aid course. The course was organised by Steve from Man Anchor. His dedication and hard work continue as he organised tonight’s event hosted by Yogished. I roll into the parking – I note there is room for at least 30 bikes – and stop letting out a big sigh. Navigating the back rooms towards the upstairs studio space I meet the usual yoga paraphernalia. The Buddha, chakras, and offerings of tea and water. It’s a far cry from the orange wedges and Gatorade I’ve enjoyed playing footy.
Off come my boots, on go a pair of shorts, and in I step to a new world. Dr Andrew (a neuro-structural chiropractioner) introduced the studio as both a physical and emotional space.
“We evolved a body before we evolved a brain” he says to the room of men. “The brain is here to understand the body.”
These psychological and physical responses are what we are working on tonight. I’ve given yoga a go before but having it explained like this makes it more tangible than the instruction to “just feel into it” I’ve heard before.
Our order of response to stress happens in this order
In order to release this tension we work backwards.
4. Find the tension
3. Release emotion
2. Understand the reaction
1. Accept the stress
The studio room is comfortable. However its not the soft lighting and chill-hop jazz drifting out of the speakers. It’s made comfortable because I’m in the company of men just as bad at this as I am. No one is perfect and therein lays the practice. Acceptance of our bodies in whatever state we find them. As we lay there, I feel the stress of the day, the ride, the next week, crumble.
The lights come back on, Steve is asleep on the floor, the rest of us calm and present, enjoying in the moment. We gather ourselves, our shoes, and bodies for a few photos. Steve wakes up in time to share some beers out of the back of his car – the similarity to a weekly footy training session is striking. I bid my farewell and jump back on the bike. Something is different; the stress, the traffic, and the sun have gone, its just me and the bike and the road home.
If you’d like to give yoga a try please visit Yogished in Collaroy or just try somewhere closer to home. It just about trying something new for your own mental health.