Who should practice yoga? When? Where? How? These are questions that plagued me when I first started yoga and the indecision of not knowing where to start can often lead people off the mat completely. I believe everyone's yoga story should and will be different. What your practice looks like often reflects how you are getting on day to day, and that's very different from your neighbour or even your partner!
So.. here's my yoga story, I'm hoping that it will show you how different everyone's is and hopefully inspire you to stay practicing for your own reasons.
In 2011, when I walked into my first Ashtanga yoga class at a local gym in Manchester, I had no expectations, and no idea how much yoga would change my life. At the time I was a student in my second year of university and I saw yoga as a good way to compliment the swimming I did before class. I also discovered - to my excitement at the time - that I am hyper-mobile in some joints (meaning I have flexible but weak knees and elbows).
After that first class I felt vibrant, energised and my mind was clear. I loved my teacher, and he would do variations on the Primary Series of Ashtanga. Every class was different and I continued to go once a week for two years.
Fast-forward to 2015, and between training with Teach First to become a Secondary Geography Teacher and moving to London, I had stopped practising yoga. It was a challenging time and I wasn't looking after my mental or physical health. I would often come home, comfort eat, and then continue marking late into the night. This continued for three months until I came across a hot yoga studio '28 days for £30' read the sign. I signed up and became addicted to the sweaty classes. This was completely different to my Ashtanga class - there were 5 classes with set routines - but I felt the physical benefits of this type of yoga enormously.
I also believe that if I hadn't practiced yoga in my first year of Geography Teaching, I would have quit at Christmas. I continued to attend this studio until I moved out of London to do my Yoga Teacher Training. Since then, my routine has changed considerably: sometimes I practise yoga more than once a day, sometimes only a few days in a week. Yoga has taught me that this is OK. It has taught me to look after myself, how to accept failure and love myself.
Today, my yoga practice is made up of either Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Rocket, or Yin, depending on how I feel. Ashtanga requires discipline and concentration, which I love, but on some days it is not appropriate. Vinyasa self-flow is a life-changing type of yoga, but being able to jump on a mat and flow without guidance is something that has not come easily to me.
These types of yoga form my exercise, meditation and routine most days. It gives me space not to think.
I decided to teach yoga because I want to share this empowering feeling of being in control of the mind–body relationship, which I believe should be accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and physical capabilities.
In October 2017 I qualified as a 200-hour Ashtanga- and Vinyasa-flow teacher at the incredible Sampoorna Yoga, Goa, India. My teachers were passionate, patient and personable; their style continues to inform my teaching.
I have learnt a lot about the philosophy of yoga since 2012, and today I believe yoga asana (poses) are stepping stones to healing, grounding practice. In all of my classes I incorporate pranayama (breathing), meditation and a well-deserved savasana (resting pose) to create holistic wellbeing.