health

The ‘Ugly Yoga’ Challenge

I’m launching an ‘Ugly Yoga’ Challenge on 1st September 2019 and I really hope you’ll join me!

In just 5 minutes a day you can change your life and it won’t cost you a penny!

Read on to find out how!

WHAT IS UGLY YOGA

‘Ugly Yoga’ stems from my passionate belief that yoga isn’t about having the ‘perfect’ mat, clothes, body, posture (insert any other ‘perfection’ that’s ever put you off going to a yoga class).

It also doesn’t require you to have ‘perfect’ health either!

Instead, I believe yoga is about connecting with your heart and soul and moving your body in a way that nourishes YOU and your individual needs!

It really doesn’t matter how your poses ‘look’. What matters most is how they make you ‘feel’!

When I say ‘ugly yoga ’ I want you to think about the story of the ‘ugly duckling’ who transformed into a swan…your ‘ugly yoga’ too will transform you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine!

MY STORY

I’ve been practicing ‘ugly yoga’ for nearly 4 years. Before that, I used to go to yoga classes trying to do ‘perfect yoga’, I was training for London Marathon, I was also weight training and seeing a personal trainer. Admittedly, I was one of those yogis that was trying to appear ‘perfect’.

What unachievable bullshit!

In January 2016, aged just 30, I was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.

Since then I’ve trained as a yoga teacher specialising in adult ashtanga yoga, children’s yoga, pregnancy yoga, pre and post natal yoga and baby yoga.

I have a colostomy bag, a pneumothorax (hole in my right lung) and lung tumours. I’ve have multiple organs removed during major surgery including a complete hysterectomy and splenectomy. Most importantly, I’m still alive!

To say I understand the human anatomy, holistic health and yoga would be a massive understatement! I can guarantee whatever you’re feeling…I’ve been there too!

BUT through it all I’ve done yoga every single day (yes, even when I was in hospital). I’ve taught classes and one to one and I’m now running yoga retreats in Scotland with Integrative Retreats.

I believe that yoga is for EVERYONE! And I get super frustrating with the western view that yoga has to look a certain way.

When I trained as a yoga teacher one of the fundamental aspects I was taught was about the philosophies of yoga and it’s role in nourishing us as a whole – our mind, body and spirit. We were never taught that yoga was about having washboard abs or ‘nailing’ a particular pose. That’s all ego led nonsense!

Understanding this important differentiation is something I reference as significant to my physical and emotional healing in my book ‘How Long Have I Got?’

When I stopped trying to do ‘perfect’ yoga and stopped comparing myself to others and what I couldn’t do, I discovered that my body was capable of so much more than I ever imagined!

I also discovered that 5 minutes each day doing yoga that nourished my body is far better than zero minutes!

Of course, some days I do more. Some days I do 90 minutes when I’m feeling good and in flow with my body! But I never set this as the goal. I always set the goal at a manageable and non threatening 5 minutes. Because we can do anything for 5 minutes…even when we feel rubbish and unmotivated!

THE ‘CHALLENGE’

So, I am starting a different kind of yoga challenge. One that doesn’t promise to get you doing a headstand in two weeks – although you might and that’s great if it feels nourishing for you.

Instead this challenge promises to help you connect with, love and learn from your unique and special body.

And, best of all, it’s suitable for everyone, regardless of your health situation or any other circumstances.

All you have to do is commit to 5 minutes of yoga every morning for 30 days.

Just 5 minutes.

You don’t need a yoga mat or fancy yoga clothes.

You don’t even need a yoga studio.

All you need is 5 minutes.

You can do ‘ugly yoga’ in your pjs or your gym clothes…hell you can even do it naked if you like (you badass you!)

You can do it in a chair, on your bed or even in your bathroom – I know that’s the secret place you busy parents hide from your kiddies when you need 5 minutes…yes you!

All you have to do is carve out 5 minutes each day where you put on some relaxing music (I have a free yoga playlist on Spotify under ‘Fi Munro Yoga’) and just stretch and move your body how it wants to move.

Some days you’ll do big stretches and lots of downward facing dogs, other days you might sit and gently twist your body from side to side. There might even be some days where you just lie on your back in shavasana for 5 minutes.

And do you know what? That’s all perfect!! As long as you are listening to what your body needs for at least 5 minutes then, I assure you, you are nailing ‘ugly yoga’ my lovely!

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Starting 1st September 2019 commit to just 5 minutes each day for one month where you stretch your body in ways that feel nourishing to you. That’s it!

Take pictures or videos or write about how ‘ugly yoga’ is making you feel and share it all with me using @fkmunro and #uglyyoga or #uglyyogachallenge

You’re going to be amazed at how different you feel! Seriously!

AND I’m going to join you too by posting live videos of my ‘ugly yoga’ each day across my social media channels.

Are you in?

Love, Fi xxx

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Read more in my books

Book into one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Book a place at one of my retreats.

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Fi is Currently:

Listening to my yoga playlist on Spotify.

Feeling grateful for a day in the sea.

Loving life and the gift of being alive.

Admiring the sunflowers on my kitchen table.

health

A Life Of Peace – Scan Results

This cancer ‘journey’ can be full of twists and turns and highs and lows.

Most of all, it can be full of surprises.

Recently I had the surprising news that my abdominal tumours had resolved and it ‘appeared’ that the only remaining tumours were two in my right lung. This opened up the potential for unexpected treatment options including lung surgery or SABR radiotherapy. It was exciting and terrifying and, to be honest, I wasn’t overly keen on either….I mean, my previous experience of cancer surgery was hardly ‘simple’.

However, before these treatment options could be confirmed as viable I had to have a PET scan.

Previously I had only ever had CT scans. During these you are injected with a contrast dye that is great at showing abnormalities in the body (such as tumours), but they don’t always show up everything and they also don’t show how ‘active’ the abnormalities are.

PET scans, however, work in a different way. For a PET scan you are injected with a radioactive glucose mixture. Beforehand you fast for 6 hours so that your ‘normal’ cells are forced to use other energy sources such as your fat. Cancer cells aren’t able to use other energy sources (they need glucose) and so when the mixture is injected it goes straight to any active cancer cells in the body. The radioactive part of the mixture then makes these cells ‘glow’ on the scan. It’s amazing eh?! This was helpfully explained to me by the radiographer doing the scan.

So I had my first PET scan a couple of weeks ago and then I waited, not so patiently.

Today I got the results.

I must admit, as soon as I was told I was getting the results I knew they were not going to be good news. I had this deep sinking feeling in my stomach that I’ve never had before.

‘You just want to get straight to the results don’t you?’ My oncologist asked, knowing me so well after 3.5 years of caring for me. I should highlight, again, that she is incredible. I mean I have never met another consultant so focused on person-centred care. She really is a joy and I feel so lucky. I know this isn’t the case for every cancer patient in the world.

Sorry…’just get to the point’…I’m sure you are muttering.

So the scan confirmed that yes the two lesions in my right lung are very active and growing…nothing surprising about that.

It also showed that the lesion above my heart that had been visible on the previous two CT scans is in fact active and not ‘dead’ as we had hoped. This means no lung surgery for me as it would be far too risky.

Also, it showed some activity in my lymph nodes including one under my right armpit and one in my upper abdomen. This is not good. Everyone with cancer knows that it being in your lymphatic system is more than a little shite.

And yet, still, I find myself oddly calm and at peace and here’s why…

Stay with me, things might get a little ‘woohoo’ for some…

When I bought my 1996 VW T4 Campervan recently (if you missed that news flash I have no idea how as I have posted a billion photos!…well at leats 4 or 5 haha) I wanted to give it a name.

While Ewan and I were on our test drive the name Alfonzo came to me. It sounded kinda cool and I thought to myself ‘OK, this is what the van wants to be called‘. Then, when I got home I looked up the meaning of Alfonzo and was surprised to discover that it means ‘ready for battle’.

Even better,’ I thought, ‘The perfect name for a warrior’s van.’

But then something weird happened when I was driving the van yesterday.

As you may already know I am training to be a shaman. This means that I work with the spirit of things, energy and intuition (amongst other ‘stuff’ I’ll save for a future post).

So, it wasn’t unusual for me that when I drove the van to hospital for my treatment yesterday that I got a sense that the van wanted to be called Winifred, not Alfonzo. Yes, you read that right, the van wanted it.

‘Winifred doesn’t sound anywhere near as cool as Alfonzo‘ I thought, ‘So that’s not happening.’

Well, when I left hospital the van wouldn’t start for me. I sat in that car park for over an hour trying to start it, only to have Ewan rescue me and it start first time.

OK, maybe you can be called Winifred‘ I thought.

So, here’s where it gets freaky – yes that wasn’t the freaky stuff.

When I looked up the meaning of ‘Winifred’ I was amazed to discover that it means ‘joy, peace and reconciliation’ – the exact opposite of what Alfonzo means! Crazy eh?!

Now, here’s the thing. I now think this was some kind of crazy, insight, instinct, message from the universe (call it what you will) that I just need to let go, slow down, be at peace and reconcile any pain, trauma or grief that I’ve been carrying around with me.

And that, my dear lovelies, is exactly what I’m going to do, because firstly, what is the alternative? I wallow and mope and waste the fact that, right now, I still feel surprisingly well (compared to most other stage four cancer patients, not compared to healthy people I hasten to add) and secondly, my precious instinct has served me well up until this point so who am I to ignore her wisdom now.

As I move forward through the uncertainty of living (yes LIVING) with stage four cancer, I will not fight it, I will not desperately look for ‘the magic cure’, I will not read book after book in search for the answer that may have been missed elsewhere and I will not be angry that this is happening to me (most of the time – sometimes I will shout ‘f*ck this‘ at whoever happens to be listening or in earshot).

No, instead I will use it as a catalyst to live my life, and what a beautiful life it is, filled with love and joy and adventure!…and now I will work at bringing peace and reconciliation into my life too…because it’s needed, boy o boy, is it needed!

Above all I will strive to live like I am dying, to practice what I preach and to find the good and the gratitude in each and every day because isn’t that all any of us can do in our pursuit of happiness and fulfilment; to live a life to it’s fullest and to focus on what we have rather on what we have lost?

My cancer may never my cured, but it is certainly the tool through which I am healing my life. And that feels pretty good to be honest. It’s certainly better than living the life I lived before, filled with drama, anger, stress and unfulfilment. No thank you! Life is too short for that nonsense!

Now, on a much more serious note, what on Earth am I going to name my campervan?

With love in my heart for you all for reading my words and sharing my story.

Thank you, Fi xx

Read more in my books

Visit me at one of my workshops.

Listen to my groundbreaking podcast on all podcast apps – search for ‘Live Like You Are Dying’

Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Stay on one of my retreats.

—–

Fi is Currently:

Loving my precious life.

Feeling grateful to still be alive.

Sitting on our sofa wrapped in a blanket after a lovely afternoon on the beach with Ozzy.

 Waiting for Ewan to come home with a takeaway because who would cook on scan result day?