I first got into yoga as a child. A friend of mine in primary school was Indian and her mum was a yoga teacher. I thought we were doing gymnastics, but in hindsight it was yoga and I loved hearing the Indian stories, seeing the deities and being absorbed into the whole routine of it all. As an adult I got back into it at 21 when I went to a class with a friend. I remember walking into the class and seeing these tiny women, but once I got over that and the fact I was sweating buckets (it’s different doing a downward dog when you’re 80kg rather than 40kg) I loved it. I started going once a week and fell more and more in love with it. I went through relationships, I got married and divorced and it seeped into my life until eventually I realized how important it as I got more involved.
There are so many different purposes depending on what you need at the time, and I think that’s important to think about. It helps you connect to your body and take you out of your headspace and remind you to breathe. It’s about you getting to know yourself and your body – it’s spiritual but that’s not where it starts and stops. It’s about you.
The way it’s paraded about and how the fashion industry has jumped on it. It’s not bad that it’s getting out there, but the fact that it’s become just about the body when yoga is so much more than that is annoying. It’s great for the body but it’s also where the soul ives. It’s not about bikini bodies, that’s alienating for someone who just wants to stretch and connect with themselves.
Don’t go by your first experience in a yoga class. It’s like kissing a few frogs before finding a prince. Try it and if you don’t like it try a different teacher and a different style – there are so many varieties. Don’t worry about it, just explore.
Fitness and strength are different. I like swimming and dancing, and I do like doing that for fitness. I wouldn’t necessarily say I am fit but I am very strong and very flexible and that’s because of yoga. That means that I feel good in my body, I have good posture, I am poised and balanced but I am not striving to run a marathon.
When I have all my students in class and they’re in final relaxation and the yoga’s doing it job. It’s such a joy what I do because I get to see everyone at their best and make a difference to someone’s day.
Doing yoga! That’s a large part of it – I am very busy at the moment doing an MA in music therapy as well. Yoga and meditation is really important to me to help relax and centre myself especially in the park in nice weather. I also dance.
It’s really hard. I have only just got to that point where I am really comfortable in my skin. You learn to look at yourself and see the bits you once hated and accept them. From there you can learn to love them. It’s a hard place to get to but it’s less about how you look and more about what’s going on inside of you – reaching a point of stillness and being accepting about the good and bad – what you have been through and seeing it as part of your big picture. It’s a process. I think parents talking to their children is very important – reversing any body shaming at school and reminding them it’s not about the physical.
I have a particularly busy week with new classes starting, but I have carved out time for myself to go to my favourite yoga class. I have barred everyone from having a bit of me at that time.
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