There was a time when I was a total mess, inside and out. I know, I know, it’s impossible to picture, right? But really and all joking aside, I was truly struggling with life…

I had just had a baby, I had also just been made redundant and the only thing that made me even remotely happy, was stuffing my face with anything that was at least 90% carbs based and was made of, or smothered in, chocolate.

None of my friends had kids. They all still managed to go to the gym, (like, 5mins after deciding to go)…for me, at that point in my life, going to the gym, or partaking in any exercise at all, involved military level organisation and logistics, that were just too exhausting to attempt on a regular basis. And so, my body and my mind started to change, a lot!

I used to be a comfortable size 10-12. By comfortable, I mean I was completely happy with my body. I had no hang-ups, well…except for my lifelong desire to have slightly larger boobs than my (as my brothers would call them) bee stings. But other than that, I was confident, content and generally a pretty happy girl. Then, came the first of my beautiful girls, redundancy, the isolation of being the only one with a baby, the resulting comfort carbs and a whole load of weight, approximately 3 stones to be precise. And with all of these changes came a definite shift in my state of mind. I was depressed, truly and deeply sad.

One day, whilst talking to my brother he suggested that I try a hot yoga class. The conversation went something like this…

Jamie: Why don’t you come with me to Bikram yoga sometime?

Me: Erm, No F’ing way! I’d rather eat my own foot!

And that, I thought, was the end of that nonsense. Only obviously, it wasn’t.

After a few weeks of talking (mostly by my brother) and MUCH protesting (all by me), I decided to give this Bikram yoga lark a try. If for no other reason than to, once and for all, shut this conversation down – FOR EVER!

My first class was absolutely horrific!!!! I Sh$t you not! At one point I actually thought I might pass out. It was so hot, like WTF kind of hot, and all these really toned people were bending and sweating all over the place, whilst I was quietly (no talking in the hot room!) drowning in a puddle of my own sweat. Yes, it was as attractive as you are picturing it! I vividly recall thinking, who in their right mind would do this sh$t more than once?!

When I left the hot room at the end of that first class, my brother followed me out and when I managed to summon the energy to lift my head from the floor, I saw that he was smiling (smug prick…HE WAS SMILING!!!) “What did you think? You’re going to feel amazing later”. Erm, NO! I looked like a drowned rat; my whole body was a rather alarming shade of beetroot and my hair…lord above the hair!!! This wasn’t my idea of amazing BRO!!

He promptly signed me up to their ‘Introduction offer’, which meant that I could come to any class for free for the next 9 days. Obviously I had ZERO intention of using said free classes. NOPE, not even the promise of free stuff was incentive enough to get me to partake in this insanity more than once. To be frank, at that point, even the promise of a semi naked, sweaty Ryan Gosling, bending about in front of me would not have enticed me to do that class again!! But I kept that to myself; (smile and nod Katie, agree to nothing).

That night I ended up staying at my brother’s house, (I really didn’t think that through) and the very next morning he dragged me to my second class. Seriously, like a toddler in the throws of THE worst tantrum…I fought him every step of the way to that class! He won. He kept saying, “you’ll thank me for this one day…trust me”. What an arsehole!

I went into that class with all the grace of a still tantrumming toddler, pouty face and all. I had no intention of doing ANYTHING…You’ll thank me one day, MY ARSE! I was on my mat beside my surprisingly bendy brother, whilst he was busting out a pretty mean Standing Bow, when I realised something, I wasn’t hating this quite as much as I had expected I would. Something had shifted. I was feeling something…sort of resembling enjoyment. Sort of (don’t tell my brother!).

I came away from that second class feeling a kind of buzz throughout my body. I felt positive, for the first time in ages, and the dark clouds of depression had lifted ever so slightly. I felt like I had worked my arse off and I really liked it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the start of a huge shift for me; for my mind, for my body and in my life.

I started to practice one class a week, until my body needed more. Gradually the number of times I was hitting my mat increased until I was making most evening classes, once the kids were in bed and I was free.

Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t love it immediately. I was a big girl at the time, so my body resisted the changes I was making. It ached in places I didn’t even know existed. But things slowly started to shift. I managed to come off the antidepressants within a surprisingly short space of time, my body started to change, and the most wonderful change of all, was that my state of mind started to change. I didn’t hate myself quite as much anymore. I could see that my body craved moving in this way and this in turn started to heal my mind. Slowly and surely I started to come back to life.

Within around 3 months I had lost nearly 2 stone, I was off the meds; I was going out more and re-engaging with life. I even went to the 9 week teacher training and became a teacher myself. And here I am entering my 9th year of teaching this yoga, still loving my job, and the yoga and enjoying the benefits of both. All of this just from being dragged to a hot yoga class and sweating my arse off for 90mins! The realisation hits home…my brother was right! Well, shit! I suppose every silver lining has a cloud.