By Ali Beech:
Woah, life is busy isn’t it? Really busy, every day relentless. Be here, do this, do that, 5 a day, 2 litres, 8 hours and TEN thousand steps! Counting, timing, rushing and racing to the next thing. All the while bombarded with the expectation to do more, be more and have more. With the niggling feeling that the voice we ought to be listening to is the one saying slow down, be mindful and breathe. Er, thanks little voice… now that feels like another job on the list. And yet, perhaps all we need to do is find a really good way to incorporate some peace into the hectic schedule. Commit to quiet. Just for 90 minutes a week… (there are 10,080 minutes in a week so still plenty left for everything else!)
One year ago, I broke. I pushed too hard for too long and one day, I just broke. Fortunately, there were family, friends and plain good people who rallied around and helped me pick up my ragged pieces and patch it all back together again. One of my good ones is Vika Bundy, yogi, calming influence and now, friend.
Yoga is one of those things you know would be a really good idea… like lots more veggies, fresh air and not opening that Wednesday wine… but it can also be a bit daunting. Especially the stereotype of walking into a room of bendy, Lycra-clad lovelies when you’d quite like to convert your duvet into a fashionable poncho and waterproof your slippers. Happily, this particular stereotype is just that, a preconceived idea which is just not true! Vika’s classes are the epitome of welcoming… no matter what your level of balance and bendy-ness there is no judgement. Just warmth and friendly smiles.
I am so glad I overcame my initial anxiety and tried my first class in March 2018. After a quick chat to establish what I knew of yoga (trees, Om’s and Namaste?), previous experience (none without a burgeoning baby bump affecting my balance) and what I was hoping to achieve (full-on bendy fabulousness please? Possibly delusional…) we settled down to arrive on our mats.
Immediately Vika’s calm presence suffused the space and it was remarkably easy to focus on her words and my own breath. Each class follows a similar pattern – a few minutes resting on the mat to really convince ourselves this is our time and space. An hour or so of moving slowly and carefully through various yoga poses (properly called “asanas”) with Vika always eagle-eyed to spot where a twitch of a foot or slight adjustment would improve each individual’s pose and make it as effective as possible. Through my soft gaze and concentration, I’m always astounded how she recalls and appreciates each class members aches, pains, limitations and ability. There are additions and variations to each pose to adjust the effort level all delivered without judgement. Each group has such a wide range of ages, abilities, shapes and sizes that it’s clear that Vika’s classes provide an excellent opportunity for anyone trying to find some time for themselves.
The demand for her classes has now encouraged Vika to offer an opportunity to join her 6 days a week at various times of the day. So regardless of whatever life demands of you, there should be a class that you can make.
Mornings, evenings and even Sunday first thing… make you your own church? Most classes take place at Bude Golf Club where the views over the links to the sea are something to behold and the added bonus of free parking means the whole experience can be stress-free. Coupled with the opportunity to stay for a coffee and a chat with your fellow yogis after class quickly add up to make yoga day tick lots of those self-care boxes.
Vika has a flexible (of course!) attitude to class attendance as well, which is great if your life, like mine, is hectic and unpredictable. A quick message to check for space and you are welcome at any class. This approach makes signing up for a block of 5 classes less of a commitment as you don’t risk losing a class due to life getting in the way… oh, and your first class is a bargain…just a fiver!
See you on the mat?