It’s been relatively quiet on the blogging front of late – apart from the Back on the Beeb blog, I’ve had to scale back on the blogs as I have redirected energy towards my day job, family life and running my weekly Yoga For Men and Yoga for Cyclist classes in Bristol.
It’s amazing how quickly you can feel as though you’ve fallen off the ‘wellbeing wagon’. Simple things like not finding time to practice in the morning quickly become a habit. This has knock-on effects for the day and general physical and mental health & wellbeing. It reminds me how I used to feel before yoga found me, and how much I desire to get back onto the mat, not just in a teaching capacity, but as a yoga student.
So, Glastonbury came along at just the right time. There has been loads of press this week about this year’s festival being the best one yet. It’s fair to say that I absolutely loved it, as did those in my group, but it wasn’t plain sailing throughout. I rode my bike to the festival this year for the first time. A 70-mile round trip from Keynsham, Bristol to the festival site. Traveling sustainably was so important to me, whatever the weather.
I cycled on the Thursday and the journey was absolutely stunning. Picturesque villages, single-track roads – brief glimpses of the site as I arrived into Wells, Somerset and onwards towards the site building the excitement levels. It was a hot day though, and the last leg towards the site was brutal – exposed open road, head wind, steep climb to the site, and then once I arrived, I had to carry my rucksack across the site to meet friends.
The upshot of this was that I suffered heat exhaustion and ended up in the medical centre that was at the top of a steep hill that seemed to go on forever! The medical staff were amazing reassuring me that everything would be ok when I was at my most vulnerable. Before long, I was feeling much better and ready to finally get started.
Every time I attend Glastonbury, the festival catches me at a crossroads in my life. In 2017, I was about to sign up to Yoga Teacher Training at Bristol School of Yoga. Having now graduated, I returned to the festival, not to teach, but at least with a clearer sense of what I wanted to get out of the weekend, challenging myself to do things very differently.
Cycling to & from the festival was unforgettable – the BiketoGlasto crew do an amazing job with luggage transfers, the cyclists’ facilities including showers and clean compost toilets were much needed, and the cycling community offered the usual warm welcome.
Across the site, I of course caught some musical highlights such as nailed on headliners, Jon Hopkins on the Friday night and Hot Chip on the Saturday night. It was the non-musical highlights, however, that truly resonated with me this year. The Healing Field is just that – the area feel like the lungs of the site. Even on the hottest days, there would seem to be a gentle breeze and a calming counter to the craziness elsewhere on the site.
My friend, Amy, creates the Earth Garden, and there are also Fire, Air and Water Gardens which, although only a relatively small area of the site, demonstrate the huge amount of time and effort that goes into creating these beautiful spaces. Equally, the permaculture garden, speakers forum, and amazing vegetarian food on offer, made this my ‘go to’ area, and I regularly returned for my ‘healing fix’ when not at the med centre!
Another ‘first’ for me this year was visiting the new wellbeing space in the Park field – Humblewell. I’ve often thought that I would get up early enough for a yoga class, only to find that I had barely gone to bed by the time classes start! This year however, Humblewell’s Tree Temple was very much on my ‘to do’ list. I only made a class on the Friday morning, but wow, did I love practicing the dynamic flow class with Amanda.
It was great to see so many men joining me on the mat for this class. The sequencing struck the right balance of intensity to challenge, while remaining calm to deepen into the poses. The gentle breeze (no doubt originating from the healing field)! blew through the space, providing a natural reminder to tune into senses, soaking up the sensations.
Despite my best endeavours, I didn’t get back to Humblewell for later classes, although I really liked the look of Will’s Yoga For Men classes and Sasha’s Yin and Restorative classes. Humblewell relit the touch paper for my practice and this made me so thankful.
Before I knew it, I was back on the saddle, making the long journey home, thankfully in cooler conditions on the Sunday evening. I thought that after a few days of walking miles, partying and limited sleep the journey home would be very tiring. I actually felt completely re-energised, returning home to my family full of gratitude that I had the opportunity to spend such an unforgettable and life affirming weekend on the farm.