REST. RESTORE. RESUME squash training...

And I'm on another airplane. Big surprise. Hawaii was indescribable; experiences in nature, the joys of love and adventure offered in such great abundance that I feel inspired and full of promise heading back to resume life. And so begins the great summer training, pregnant with the promise of soreness, lost toenails, deadly massage, extreme fatigue, bloody blisters and growth. Thankfully I stayed pretty active whilst I was away (can you say surfing and yoga overload!!) so I’m hoping my transition back into the heavy onslaught of  training will be a little kinder than in past years…. Who am I kidding. It's going to be brutal. And awesome.

      I was privileged enough to try SUPYoga when I was in Hawaii, which was an amazing challenge. For those who don't know, Supyoga is when you do yoga on a stand up paddle board (add scenic back drop and the threat of reef sharks nearby for complete Maui experience) enhancing the balancing challenge tenfold. Although I found surfing extremely exhausting and very very rewarding (I caught waves on my own for the first time!) I must say that Supyoga asked a lot more from me. I have practiced yoga for probably 4 years now, with the last year and a half being more than casual. I am a massive fan of yoga, not only for the physical benefits but mostly for the challenge of controlling my mind and my breath. It's a wonderful opportunity to give yourself a new challenge, setting an intention less geared in achievement but in acceptance ( I often challenge myself to actually not try as hard because I become too consumed in competing with the advanced yogis around me.)

     I believe the practice of yoga is not rooted in the performance of asanas and inversions but that these provide a vehicle in which we can challenge our mind. Yoga is about the breath and learning to control the mind inwards, to remove attachments to thoughts so that you are solely in that moment. Balancing in a studio is difficult and though I've been fortunate not to take any other practicers out, I have definitely come close when trying difficult poses like flying eagle, tree and dancer. When you are practicing yoga on a paddle board in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where your teacher has just pointed out the reef shark fins circling, there is only one thing you are thinking “ please don't fall.” And that is it. There is nothing else to inhibit your focus, you learn to adjust your asanas based on your own balance, your own feeling and you have no more space in your being to focus on anything else. I told our teacher Leo afterwards “I don't think I've ever done yoga more.” That was after I capsized during my headstand.

  Fun new challenges like that are food for the competitive soul.  They are reminders that you must always keep an open mind, you have to laugh at yourself and that having fun is the best way to grow. I know upon returning to training that I'll have to battle expectations, honestly critique my game, and dive head first into a myriad of different workouts designed to push me to my limit both mentally and physically. But really isn't that the point?

Olivia Blatchford