A Yoga Story for Contentment and Balance

Jane Worrall’s personal yoga journey has taken her from Turkey to Wales and given her the gift of contentment and balance.

I was just totting up the other day the years I’ve been practicing yoga, (on and off) and I was both gratified and shocked to realise it has been 45 years!

A yen for the spiritual side of yoga

I began when I was sixteen, in 1970, when I came across a small paperback on yoga. I can’t even remember who it was by, but yoga then was considered generally to be a bit wacky, only for health nuts or guru followers. I began on my own in my bedroom in Istanbul (where I then lived with my parents and brothers) trying sun salutations and spinal twists. Strangely I don’t recall any downward dogs, they came on to my radar much later. So thus I began, along with trying to eat according to the recipes in the same little book (lots of fruit, nuts and seeds) I think I always had a yen for the spiritual side of the practice, but as a teenager I only really scratched the surface and never got beyond practicing for around 10 minutes before monkey- mind would drive me from the mat. (Not that I had a yoga mat in those days, I doubt they even existed!)

Yoga was one of the ‘hippy practices’

On returning to Wales I enrolled in a weekly class of hatha yoga, held in the gym of the local secondary school with a BWY trained teacher. There were a lot of hippies in rural Wales in the 70’s, and yoga was one of the ‘hippy practices’ doing the rounds. As a young person I was wracked with conflicting ideas about myself, the meaning of life, how to relate authentically with others and a myriad of other existential knotty problems.

A feeling of great peace and bliss would descend

All in all I wasn’t at ease in my own skin. The only time I felt in the moment and at ease with myself was about 15 – 20 minutes into the yoga class when a feeling of great peace and bliss would descend, as the tension and energy blocks held in my body would release and energy and prana would course through me. That hooked me, although it was just the beginning of a long road to self-realisation (not saying I’m there, but I’m a heck of a lot closer than I was) and I wouldn’t be the content, grateful, and appreciative person I am today without the work of yoga and meditation.

Yoga took me out of my existential angst

For many years yoga was the means of settling my energy so I could sit in meditation, which brought many benefits, self-awareness and a sense of intimate connection with the inner and outer life. And to be honest, it took me out of my existential angst, which was the engine driving me to the sanctuary of yoga. In 1993 I had the idea of returning to Turkey to set up a holistic holiday retreat, to feature courses, including yoga, with the idea that it would be lovely to enable others to take special time for them. That all changed when Simon Low became our first major client. It wasn’t long before Huzur Vadisi became a dedicated yoga centre, dropping the other courses.

I had to undertake a lot of karma yoga!

We became one of the longest established yoga retreat and holiday venues, definitely the first in Turkey, and thousands have stayed with us and benefited from immersing themselves in their yoga practice with some fine teachers. I used to joke that I must have been bad in a previous life so that I had to undertake a lot of karma yoga, service to others, in this… joking aside I think there is great value in also practising yoga off the mat…

I feel more or less the same all the time, content and, dare I say, balanced

As to my current yoga practice, I have to confess it is sporadic, but I listen to my inner voice (which yoga taught me to do well) and sometimes I just don’t feel the need. The radical difference I used to feel before and after class has altered. I feel more or less the same all the time, content and dare I say, balanced…this is my yoga story…