I have always really loved the idea of yoga. I've been going to classes, irregularly, since Cherry was a baby. I absolutely love it - but for some reason I've never taken my practice beyond this level.
Until recently I noticed a flyer for free yoga classes through an initiative called Our Parks. FREE YOGA. What could be better?
It turns out that nothing could be better because through these classes, which have been led by the most gorgeous Kristy from Ground Bloom Flourish, I feel I have finally 'got' yoga.
Something about the way Kristy teaches has really lit a fire within me and I have found myself challenged by postures I would have breezed through a few months previously.
This tells me that I just wasn't practicing the postures correctly! Now I am able to pay attention to the little details, and notice tension and restriction all across my body not just in the obvious areas that are challenged by the pose, my practice has taken on a whole new dimension.
There's something inherently glamorous about yoga, superficially it's all gorgeous girls on Instagram doing handstands in Sweaty Betty leggings on stunning beaches. There's definitely a part of me that's drawn to that shallow definition of yoga and I do really love Sweaty Betty and really want to do handstands on beaches.
I read Yoga Girl, written by possibly the ultimate handstands-on-beaches Instagrammer Rachel Brathen, and something in her approach and writing really hit home with me.
She talks about every little thing counting. Even if you can only manage one pose a day, or just put your legs up the wall for five minutes. It all counts.
It all counts.
This is a radical shift in thought for me. I'm kind of an all-or-nothing girl. I want to do a two-hour practice or not at all. So usually, it's not at all, because when am I going to have two hours?
But with the mantra 'it all counts' I am now practicing yoga every single day.
I have learned so much about myself and my body this last month.
I have learned where I hold tension and how to release it. I have learned that there is a point between discomfort and pain in which tolerance lies, and that if I can learn to accept that point I can move far further, mentally and physically, than I originally thought.
I have learned that I am very one-sided. It's incredibly noticeable in my hips, shoulders and back and less noticeable but still definitely 'there' in my legs.
I have learned that back-bends are less about mobility in the lower back and the glamour postures - such as full wheel, above - and more about opening across the shoulders, chest and heart. In fact less movement is better than more, as a hyper mobile lower back just points to a very weak core.
I have learned that I have a very weak core.
There is such power in knowing one's body. Inhabiting it. When I wrote a Telegraph feature on that most glamorous of subjects, a leaky pelvic floor, I was delighted how positive and empowering the whole thing turned out to be and the message of hope it carried. The women I spoke to for the piece - all very glamorous, handstand-y types - eulogised about the power of the 'inner core'.
I love the acceptance that yoga brings. You have only your body to work with, after all. You can't embellish it, add to or detract from it. It's just your body so you have to learn to work with it.
I took these photos last week and I don't like the quality, the angle or the composition. They are bad, bad pictures.
They represent something really special to me though. The start of a journey. Everybody has to start somewhere, and this is my start. Grainy pictures of modified poses, my imperfect body, my stiff hips and shoulders, my weak core, my grey sweats.
It all counts.