I have been practising yoga for probably close to a decade and started it as a way of supporting my other fitness activities – particularly dancing and running.
My drive to do yoga was of course – like many people’s – a quest to get more flexible and toned to get that dancer-like physique I craved. But it also found that it helped provide me with some of the peace and stillness that often seemed so elusive to me. I liked the ritual of the class, the flowing sequences of vinyasa yoga, the way a class can move in unison and bit-by-bit you end up just concentrating on the moves, the lines, the breath, the instructor’s voice and there was no more room in your head to think about anything that you had been worried about before. To me, yoga is like a dance except that you are not performing for anyone else.
After around 6 months of dabbling in yoga all those years ago, I headed off to Ibiza to spend a week in a yoga retreat – which fortunately (for me at the time) wasn’t too “retreat-like” mixing up early morning yoga sessions, vegetarian food and evenings with sangria on the beach. But it was there that my love of yoga really started to lay its roots.
Since then I’ve been to too many classes to count both in London and in Dubai (where I lived for almost three years), retreats in Turkey, briefly back to Ibiza, and then completing my 200-hour yoga teacher training via Bali last year.
And yet there is still so much to learn. Every move can be developed and expanded. I’m far from the perfect yogi with the perfect handstands. And there’s all the stuff off the yoga mat – being calmer, more tolerant, being kind, mindful, appreciating the good in the world. There’s a lot to work to do there too.
Yet putting aside that, above all I just often find that yoga is fun! You are just spending an hour or so exploring what your body can do, or just rediscovering what it probably could do when you were 7 years old in the playground. Standing on one leg and falling over, touching your toes, handstands (or attempts at them), pretending to be a tree.. this is all yoga and can be so much fun.
Hopefully as a teacher I can provide beginner yogis not only a space to breathe and feel calm, but also somewhere to just have fun… smile.. and be that 7-year-old again who isn’t afraid of falling over.