How did you start your journey with yoga?
It’s a little strange actually, at the beginning, I didn’t believe in yoga. A while ago my friends and my sister Lucy would go to classes and they’d ask me to go with them and it seemed like such a ridiculous idea to me. I’d tell them that this is just something absurd they’re selling you and you're actually buying it. I thought, I could just stretch at home. Then one day by coincidence, I met this yoga teacher and we started talking I just felt something different about her. While she was talking, she seemed like she had so much inner peace that I was actually starting to get annoyed. She was so peaceful you could see it on her face. She started telling me more about yoga and told me to just go try a session before I judge it.
I went to my first yoga class and I hated it so much I actually left in the middle of the class. I just felt that it wasn't for me at all. I was being told to breathe in and breathe out and I'm just thinking to myself I breathe all day anyway so what is this really accomplishing. I didn't enjoy it at all. I don't know why but I decided to try again. I went to a different class and that one I fell in love with. I was 100% there, I started intentionally breathing and it changed everything.
So, what actually changed? What happened that made you accept yoga?
That class I took was a Kundalini class. It was all about unearthing any suppressed emotions and exploring yourself more. At the end of the class I was crying like a baby and I wasn't even sure what I was crying about. I started thinking about what was bothering me and what was really going on inside. Yoga takes your focus from the outside world and allows you to tune in with yourself. I realized that I had tapped on something I didn't even know existed. I thought to myself ok then, yoga is real!
Why and how did you take the decision to go on a teacher training?
This decision came years after I started practicing. When I practiced more regularly and started loving it more and more, I'd always sit after class and talk to the teachers. I've never had the patience or passion to teach but honestly out of nowhere it just made sense because I enjoyed it so much. Especially because I thought that it was nonsense at first, I wanted to share it with more people and just like I changed my mind through that peaceful teacher I met, I wanted to be that person for others. The idea itself honestly came a bit out of the blue. I was working as a writer at the time and I was on my desk and I just started Googling teacher training programs and my sister and I just went for it.
What are things that you learned or gained during your teacher training?
At the beginning yoga to me was just the physical practice. Through the routine and what we were taught, I realized that it was more of a lifestyle and that the physical practice was only a part of it. It’s not easy to incorporate the whole yogic philosophy into your life but this is what I've been trying to do since I came back; to live through yoga and not just practice it on my mat.
It changed my relationship with Lucy a lot. We've always been close with each other but yoga helped us connect on a spiritual level. We were always there for each other supporting each other. On our journey, she wasn't in the best place and I was very happy to be there to help her. It really strengthened our bond.
Of course my practice itself improve the lot. In a regular class setting there's only so much a teacher can give you but the during the training there was so much knowledge that was being passed on to us. I started to focus more on the little things, on alignment and breathing, and on the correct ways of getting in and out of postures.
How did you make your transition to teaching after your training?
When I came back from India I stopped practicing for 6 full months. I didn't attend classes, I didn't read, I didn't do anything relevant to yoga. I literally couldn't even listen to anything about yoga. I think the reason for that was that I embarked on the teacher training journey not knowing what to expect. I didn't do the tiniest bit of research to understand what it actually entails. There was just so much going on, our days were filled to the brim and we barely had any time off. I came back exhausted physically and emotionally and I just thought I needed at least a week off. That week turned into two weeks and the weeks turned into months. Bit by bit then I started to snap out of it, I attended a few classes and my sister helped push me. I'm now loving teaching and sharing yoga with people. I'm still working though on finding the right amount of classes to teach without depleting all my energy and it's all still a work in progress.
What are some of the yoga's benefits that you take with you off the mat?
A while ago I used to jump into conclusions about people, there was a little bit of judgement there. Yoga has taught me not to do that. We're all different and everybody is going through something we don't know about. We all have the right to act differently because of the diverse things we're going through.
I've become a lot more patient and calmer than I used to be. Even in the smallest situations, if I'm stuck in traffic for example, I just breathe through it all to calm myself.
I've come to really value my inner peace. I've become very aware of what I allow in and how it would affect how I feel. I always now take a moment and ask myself if it's worth it for example to allow somebody's actions to upset me. I now filter what I'm going to be indifferent about and what I'm going to care about.
I've also learn to prioritize. I try to look at the bigger picture and see things from different perspectives.
Being naturally flexible, did that play any role in your learning process?
On one hand, it didn't make a lot of things easier or more accessible for me but on the other hand because I know that I'm a bit flexible by nature, my expectations of myself became really high. That really became an issue for me because I was pushing myself more than I should have. Along my journey, I've learnt to be happy with where I am. Yes, there are some poses there are more accessible for me, but there's always so many other things to work on and accepting where you are is a big part of it. This came with time.
As someone who previously didn't believe in yoga at all what would you tell people who don't believe in it now?
Try yoga before you judge it.
Try different types of yoga because not everything works for everybody. You need to experiment and find out what works for you.
Yoga is not something for us to believe in or not, it's a lifestyle and it's a philosophy to live by and it's up to you to decide if it works for you or not.
If you try it and you feel overwhelmed, take it slow. You don't have to do everything. Some people think they need to be something specific before trying yoga, like being vegetarian for example, but it's not true. You just work on finding the balance that is right for you.
Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. It works for different people in different ways so make sure you explore and experiment with it.