Putting it all into perspective: hypo’s, yoga – and time…

Kathryn Budig - Aim True

I’m typing this after a day in London where I went to Kathryn Budig’s workshop at Tri Yoga in Soho…. And I’m not gonna lie – my body is super, super achy today… but it’s that good kind of achy – that “damn I worked hard” achy – and it feels especially good cos my body was able to work that hard…. 

I’d guess if you’re reading this you might be a fellow type 1 diabetic – so probably can relate to exactly what I’m saying: that feeling of having accomplished something exerting that’s out of your comfort zone – and not having a resulting blood sugar fallout as the ‘reward’: invokes a feeling of immense happiness, gratitude, accomplishment…. Trying to juggle insulin and exercise (well, who am I kidding – insulin and pretty much everything else – but especially exercise…) can be a real challenge – mostly, for me, because it makes me feel at times, like I can’t trust my body – that I don’t know what it’s going to do…. but what I need to remember is that it’s not my body I can’t trust – it’s that I’m still learning…. Yes, it’s going to be a lifelong learning experience – but give me an example of anything in life that doesn’t shift, change, evolve, grow – and teach us lessons along the way.

…. And yes – the parts where we don’t always get it right can feel *immense* – I mean, it’s kinda not an exaggeration to say it feels like life or death sometimes; but to some degree, doesn’t everything we do have that possibility….? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not dismissing the bizarre oddity of injecting yourself with something a few times a day that has the potential to, erm, kill you…. I’ve a super-busy brain (not always the “helpful” kind) so have mulled that one to the nth degree – but – there’s so much that could have the same effects; and to be fearful of everything in life – well – that would be kinda sucky…

Still, I’ve had a hard, hard time coming to terms with the insulin thing; I’ve felt a bit of a loon, not to mention a total wimp about the level of fear I have had around it on too many occasions of late. And the whole fear thing really wasn’t helped by having a very odd, sudden and inexplicable hypo around a month and a half ago. I’ve had hypos before, I know they sorta come with the territory – but they’ve always been “explainable” in some way. This one was a 7.8 to 2.1 in twenty minutes – no rhyme or reason – and no warning…. it messed with my head, Big Time. The *only* thing I could pin it to, was that I’d done a fairly hefty yoga class that morning on YogaGlo (very much recommended by the way) with the gorgeous Taylor Harkness (who is also very much recommended :) then gone on a stomp across the hills with some lovely labs I walk, then gone into town to do various things like leg it to the bank before it closed and check out the sales – y’know – all the very important stuff. Whilst that wasn’t an exceptionally unusual amount of activity for me, I had been building up my yoga practice – meaning probably increasing my insulin sensitivity (and feeling amazing for it!) – plus I was bang in the middle of my cycle; which for me makes me super insulin sensitive too…. (I’ve written about why here).

Anyway – it was horrid – and for a good few weeks I was scared to practice yoga at all. Which was crap.

…. my body felt rubbish for not doing any yoga – plus not doing exercise also definitely affects my mood, confidence – all the things we read about being ace about exercise…. it’s all true… so I knew I had to get over myself – over this fear thag – but the more I beat myself up for being such a wimp, the crappier I felt, and the less I wanted to do anything – so that strategy worked… not.

So, instead of trying to force myself to pick back up where I’d swiftly exited, I started adding in some super gentle yoga…. just twenty or thirty minute classes – and ones that were more the Hatha kind – rather than my usual Vinyasa Flow that I adore…. And each class I did, my body said “thank-you”… it didn’t stop the counter chatter of the ever-so-helpful ‘wonder if you might hypo’ talk that still went on – but it was a start.

Then last week I knew I really had to get on with it: I had a workshop with my beloved yoga teacher Kathryn Budig booked – and I didn’t want to turn up not able to get into a single posture on my mat (good ol’ ego – useful for once ;) so I practiced every day – various intensity classes, but every day….
and it felt good :-) 

Still, I arrived at Tri Yoga yesterday nervous: excited – very much so – but there was also that anxiousness in the pit of my stomach about what might happen; I know Kathryn’s classes are not tame, and I also knew that my body was still not very strong or very flexible… and of course there was that lovely seed still nestled into the back of my mind “last time you did a class that was stronger than average, you had the most hideous hypo of your life afterwards” – ever helpful reminder there brain, thank you….

– but what I had forgotten from the last time I went to Kathryn’s workshops is how amazingly brilliant she is in “real life” – she even mentioned that she uses herself as a form of distraction when teaching so that students ‘forget’ to focus on the fact that they’re in a hard posture and want to get-out-of-it-right-now-please… clever lady – it works.

I was kinda expecting (despite her telling me to have no expectations – I need to tattoo this one to my forehead. Or maybe not.) that I was gonna be anxious the whole class, testing every 10 minutes… but the reality was I felt so friggin’ good that I mostly kept “forgetting” my yoga-hypo-funky-fear thing – and just had a thoroughly brilliant time.

Then, at one point, whilst she was holding a hip-opener – one of those ones that you know is going to feel amazing; just as soon as you’re *out* of the posture – she started talking about time. I can’t remember exactly what she said; but it resonated massively with me; especially around coping with the psychological aftermath of hypos – so I’ll try and relay it as best I can… it went something like this (all said playfully by the way; that’s whats so brilliant about her; she makes you laugh just when you’re think you’re about to break):

{in response to the class starting to wince a little (me = a lot)}:

“Oh c’mon you guys; it’s like two teeeeeny tiinnee little minutes… it’s nothing – where I come from we hold these postures for like, 5 minutes – minimum!
But seriously… our brains will mess with us if we let them, but time – it just goes on, regardless….
….we get so caught up in the postures and getting out of them, that we get lost sometimes…. before you know it you’ll forget you were even in this workshop – because that’s life – we go out there and get caught up in other stuff, and we forget…. before we know it, it’ll be 2020!
Time – it just goes…. so try to remember that when you’re in a posture and it’s burning and you’re like ‘I can’t stay in this for another second’ – that’s just your brain talking – cos you can – it’s like, two minutes: out of your whole lifetime – which is super-short anyway – and then it’s gone.”

Hmmm…. I’m not sure I relayed that all that well – for something that I had a massive epiphany over mid-class; but basically – although I’m very familiar with the importance of living in the moment, and remembering “this too shall pass” – I guess because she tied it into the ‘pain’ of the posture and also tied it into how much our brains can tell us we can’t do something – when – in reality, we can – something just – clicked…. because even though my thoughts were telling me the discomfort of the posture was too much, in reality, it wasn’t – in reality, it passed; nothing bad happened… and I could tie it into it the discomfort of ‘that hypo’ seeming too much – plus, the time thing just caused something to slot into place about realising how mad it was to allow the ripples of what happened well over a month ago, still be affecting me every hour of every day since…. Yes, it was horribly uncomfortable (the hypo) – just like this posture seemed to be; but it’s not going to last – unless my brain chooses for it to.

….So, although in that moment the posture – and hypo – feels all consuming – overall the benefits of pushing myself in yoga – and the benefits of insulin – are good things. Both, in their own ways, are amazingly life-enhancing in fact…. and that’s the thing to hold onto – not the moments – which truly are just moments – of uncomfortable-ness – no matter how intense they feel. 
I don’t know if that makes sense… but something about the time/uncomfortableness/brain thing just clicked. And that’s why I wanted to write a post today – because I need to remember that; *want* to remember it – and if it helps you to connect with it too, well, that just makes Kathryn that little bit more awesome, and me that little bit more grateful :-) 

Which all made for a very brilliant day… Although…. I do wish I’d stop turning into a bumbling idiot every time I meet her: which has happened twice now… I’ve “met” various ‘famous’ people for various funny and random reasons – and I’ve always just seen them as another human; no big deal – but both times with Kathryn I start jabbering on (whilst in my head all I can hear is: dear god woman, stop talking!!) and things come out that I didn’t mean to say; basically I become very much starstruck and end up walking away thinking “great, she now thinks you’re an idiot” (with self humour btw; I think its funny I get so starstruck :) – but I think its because she truly inspires me; I truly would love to become more like her – and not because of her looks, hot chica though she is – but because she just rocks life. I’m sure she’s had her fair share of sh*t happen too; haven’t we all?
But she gets the balance right between being fierce and warrior-like, but soft and squishy, and allows love to be her strongest weapon. And I love her for that. So, on balance – the gibbering is ok ;-)

I also love that I have the ability to connect to these wonderful people who remind me how to connect to those parts of me – that she, and some other awesome people too, remind me to stay true to myself and not get so caught up in the stuff that isn’t really me…. to #aimtrue 

Kathryn Budig

Trying not to look star-struck ;-)

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2 thoughts on “Putting it all into perspective: hypo’s, yoga – and time…

  1. I love your blog. You are so positive and raw and honest. I feel like if I ever met you in person, I would be as star struck as you are with Kathryn, because you inspire me so much! Your positivity is infectious!

    • Oh my goodness Nikki that’s such an amazing comment! Thank you so much; really made me smile :)
      – re the positivity thing – I always feel its really important to show some balance…. yes, I try hard to remain positive and upbeat – but rest assured I fail on that front with regularity too! I feel it’s important that peeps (women especially) know that; because otherwise we have a tendency to start hitting ourselves with the “why can’t I be more like that” stick. Always fun. It’s not ‘being positive’ all the time that’s important to me; I mean – that would be lovely – but most important for me is finding out how to pick myself back up during the low points; that’s the trick to master – and which I’m still learning…. thanks for joining me on that bit :) x

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