Hi Readers

Welcome to my revised blog for the foreseeable future.

I am embarking on a new learning experience.  As my doctoral thesis was all about the learning experience and the autistic voice, I thought I would journal my trajectory towards becoming a qualified yoga teacher.

A little under a year ago, I completed my foundation course in yoga, and I decided I would go further and become a yoga teacher.  It seemed the obvious route.  I had been practising for three years at that time.  I was already a qualified teacher, a karate teacher, a dance teacher.  Why not add an extra subject area?  My doctorate was completed a few years ago.  I was getting the study bug once again.

As us autistics have a tendency to do, I set about my researching every yoga academy it seemed, some with the British Wheel, others the Yoga Alliance, and the one I finally chose after much deliberation which is accredited to both.  I am travelling today for my first intensive week with the Yoga Academy, to train with Simon Low, Gary Carter, and a wonderful team of exciting trainers.

But for me, as an autistic adult, nothing is ever that simple.  The preparation began last early summer after I had sent in my application and been accepted.  Bindie at the Yoga Academy has been my rock throughout the past nine months, as I have bombarded her with question after question.  I have spent hours upon hours researching the various things related to this experience.

For example, what to take to teacher training.  I can’t tell you the number of lists I have written and purchases I have made (usually recommended by other people via blogs, you tube, books, magazines…).  My car is loaded right now in readiness for the drive, with so much stuff.  I have masses of props: blankets, blocks, bolster, eye masks, and of course my precious mat, with scratches from my yoga teacher Emma’s cat (during foundation course days).  I have another bag full of books, folder, notebooks (this choice took a very long time!!), china gel (I have injuries even before I leave), and my favourite of all, a lovely mandala pencil case full of beautiful pens, pencils, highlighters etc.  I had such a lovely time choosing and putting together my stationery kit (perhaps that deserves a blog of its own!)

As for my main bag (a massive sports bag with wheels which is my usual karate bag for classes).  I have spent painstaking hours deciding what I might need, finding the perfect sweatshirt, the leggings and tops required by the academy so that they can see my spine, my joints and so on.  Usually I hide under baggy tops but not this time.

This over obsessive planning has gone on for months and months.  So much so that I am physically and mentally exhausted from it.  Apparently it is the evil art of perfectionism (with lots of autism thrown in).  I even did last minute shopping yesterday evening, and put a few items in for good measure.  I woke today to the sun shining and have now included just a few more items ‘just in case’.  Luckily I’m driving and have my car for storage.

Oh yes, and the journey has also caused numerous hours in planning – studying maps (online versions), directions, postcodes, live traffic updates …

None of this includes the planning and preparation for leaving my husband and two fur babies for just over a week – the last time I went away alone for this long was 18 years ago with a friend on holiday.  Our fridge, larder, freezer, the dog food bin… are full to the brim.  Washing is cleared, ironing cleared, loos cleaned, first aid cabinet stocked…

At work my assistant commented that it looked as though I was leaving and she expected to see me carrying out a box with my belongings.  I had cleared, tidied, cleaned to within an inch.

Over the past nine months I have also spent many hours reading; the required books with accompanying essays, advice on postures which might help my injured shoulders, advice on studying (as if I’ve not done it before?), stuff about meditation, becoming a calmer person (!!), and countless magazines.

As I sit here, ready to do a final lunch with my husband before setting off on my journey, I wonder… do I even have the energy now to spend a week doing yoga?  I will need to get up for 7.30am meditation and asana classes and spend the day in strange positions, writing non-stop (did I mention the onset of arthritis in my writing hand?), and probably most challenging for me as an autistic individual, meeting a whole new group of people and getting up close and personal with them as we adjust each other after only meeting for a few hours.  My husband tells me I’ll love it when I get there.

Only time will tell I guess… I’ll be back soon to update you.

Until then, check out my website http://www.theautisticvoice.co.uk where you will find links to my books Autism and Martial Arts, and Sensing the City.