A Space to Be, Separate Together Retreat

Squelching Through January

When a friend of mine recently told me that her life felt ‘squelchy’ I was able to resonate.

A habit we have maintained as a family since the start of our first lockdown is to go out each day for a local walk. We have managed to sustain this consistently and in all weathers, but everything about it this month has been harder work.

Firstly, it involves cajoling my children into warm coats and boots. I know that sounds simple, but they come off the pegs already plastered with caked mud from the previous day and we have unusually high levels of socks sliding down the inside of wellies, or jumper sleeves getting rolled up inside coat sleeves to contend with.

Once out of the door, although we are blessed with lots of sunshine here in Shilbottle, the terrain underfoot has become decidedly challenging. What used to be neat tracks around the fields are now squelchy, muddy bogs. Every few days it gets colder and we get a respite in the form of lovely, crunchy, frozen mud, but even then, at any given moment, one wrong footing and we could all be knee deep in an icy puddle or flat on our faces in the mud.

Trudging up hill in these conditions seems especially draining as one foot steps forward, and the other makes a most definite slide backwards.

When we finally arrive back home from these squelching, slippery saunters there is more work ahead. However carefully we peel off our muddy boots and trousers, a large amount of bog enters the house with us and requires immediate attention before getting any further than the entrance hall.

Eventually, stripped half naked and cheeks flushed with cold, my kids will settle down with their books and I pop the kettle on, knowing it was all most definitely worth the effort, but looking forward to drier and less squelchy times.

We are now really thick into this pandemic and its effect on our lives. Although the roll-out of vaccines is a step forward, the new variant is like a sliding back and we’re not too sure how much further there is to trudge. However, signs of Spring are clearly visible. Snowdrops are appearing and daylight hours are lengthening. These things give us hope and remind us that we won’t be trudging forever.

The Celtic name for this time of year is Imbolc, which I recall reading somewhere means ‘in the belly’. As it happens I have been heavily pregnant during January on two occasions so this makes perfect sense – it is a time for patiently waiting, a time to go gently, paying attention for signs of transition, and preparing for a new chapter of our lives.

This hopeful waiting will be the theme of my first class for this year.

[Update – 1 Feb 2021 – A recording of this class is now available in the Home Practice Resources.]


Being in the Cycles – Imbolc – Hopeful Waiting

Sunday 31 January, 7.30-9.00pm, via zoom

This class is offered on an honesty box basis (which means you pay what you can). You can join us from anywhere in the world, and the practices are suitable for complete beginners, while also providing some philosophical food for thought for those with more experience.

The philosophy of yoga teaches us that everything in the universe that exists outside of us, also exists within us. There is a space within us as deep and wide as the starry skies we might gaze into on a clear night.

To practice yoga is to journey in this inner landscape, and to practice yoga ‘in the cycles’ is to pay attention to its seasons. 

A recording of this class is now available in the Home Practice Resources.


Yoga Nidra – Light Emerging / Sap is Rising

An invitation to consider the intense vitality and transformation hidden away in moments of apparent stillness – the body at rest, a tree in winter, the pause at the end of the exhale, the darkness just before the dawn.

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