Five years ago the last place you would have found me was on a yoga mat!
I did not see myself as the kind of person who 'did' yoga - I strength trained, I ran, I rode horses, I sat for long periods of time at my desk and 'got sh*t done'... I definitely didn't see the benefits of opening up my body, or sitting still for any length of time.
But then the universe threw me a curve ball and I damaged a disc in my back...
Out of sheer stubborness to rest completely, I decided if I couldn't do the exercise I wanted to do, I would try going to a yoga class - I was told that it could be very healing for back injuries. So I signed up to a class and that first experience was a turning point in my life!
I fell head over heels in love with the strength and connection that yoga gave me - and the way it taught me so much about my body - even though a lot of the times I didn't necessarily want to 'hear' what it had to say!
In truth, the back injury was simply the icing on the cake after a long period of time spent disconnected from my body. Stress, anxiety, disordered eating, digestive issues and an overall feeling of numbness had all accumulated and my injuries and physical discomfort were a reflection of my inner wellbeing.
I came home to myself on my yoga mat.
In 2016 I decided to head of to Costa Rica for a month and study to become a yoga teacher with Yoga Academy International. I went with the intention of just doing this for me - and I came back knowing I had to share it.
The physical practice of yoga - known as Asana - has given me so much.
It has reconnected me to my body so deeply I can no longer ignore the messages it gives me. It has of course improved my flexibility and strengthened my body but far more than the physical benefits - yoga has taught me patience, acceptance and immense gratitude for my body.
It has taught me about kindness, compassion and truthfulness, and it has enabled me to support and guide many other people to find their own unique path with the practice.
Of course asana (the postures) is just one element of yoga
My physical asana practice has lead me to explore the power of meditation. Going from 'the figdet' who at times couldn't even lay still for five minutes in relaxation at the end of class - to being able to spend long periods of time simply 'being' has been transformative.
Meditation, for me, is about creating space...
My curiosity has lead me to study meditation with The British School of Meditation and enable me to delve into both the scientific and spiritual elements of meditation.
Creating the space physically in our schedules to prioritise ourselves by committing to a practice and creating space in what is often a busy and overstimulated mind to come back to our natural relaxed state.
It gives us a window of time to let go of the ‘shoulds’ that make up a lot of our days - and connects us with our breath, our body and the present moment. Meditation connects us to ourselves and gives the mind and body the physical rest it needs to replenish and recharge.
What you gain from the whole yoga practice is unique to you
The practice will give you exactly what you need - even if sometimes that is not what you expect. We learn to detach from outcomes when we are on the mat - which can be a useful skill to learn for outside the studio.
My teaching style is varied. My flow classes can be strong and dynamic or gentle and fluid - always with a focus on cultivating an inner and outer strength in mind and body linking breath and movement together.