- 19 06 2018
My Yoga Story
Where to begin. I’ll start with my tan – it’s never been so good! That’s what 4 weeks in Bali will do for you. But it wasn’t all sunbathing and smoothies. I actually left the UK behind for a 200-hour intensive yoga teacher training course (and I qualified, yay!)
I’ve been doing yoga for three years and I felt it was time to take my learning beyond the mat and find out more about the philosophy of yoga.
My parents were very confused… ‘but you’re a creative, are you going to teach yoga now?’ Well no and yes! Whilst I’m not quitting the day job, I felt the training was important for my own practice and personal development… and if I can help more people discover the benefits of yoga by teaching them in my spare time, so much the better!
I really believe that career development takes many forms. It’s not just about being the expert in your field, but also about enriching your life as a whole, building experiences and memories from many different disciplines that help you develop and grow as a person.
Now, back to what I learnt in Bali.
What we call yoga in the western world is only one aspect of the practice. There are in fact eight stages (known as ‘limbs’) of yoga, each of which offers guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. The postures we do for exercise are called ‘Asana’ and this is the third stage of yoga.
Yoga is actually a lifestyle. It’s a way of living that unites the mind and spirit. A way to develop strength, flexibility, balance and endurance alongside a positive mindset, eliminating negative thoughts and actions.
The course itself was incredibly intense, learning the history and philosophy of yoga as well as daily workshops exploring everything from the art of teaching through to anatomy and physiology, the Yogic Diet, Ayurvedic medicine, Chakras and more. Not to mention the physical side of the course, which was pretty exhausting at 4 hours per day!
It goes without saying that I learned an enormous amount, but what now, that I am back in London?
First and foremost, I am embracing our mantras from the course: “approach everything with a beginner’s mind” and “leave your ego at the door”. I can see the benefit of opening heart and mind when meeting new people or starting a new project. This positive mindset really allows ideas and experiences to flood in and fuels inspiration.
I also want to incorporate a little appreciation into my everyday. I’ve decided to stop walking around with my head buried in my phone and instead look around, take in my surroundings and smile at people. You wouldn’t believe the number of conversations I’ve had with randoms! It’s not always plain sailing through. I’m definitely challenged to keep my positive attitude when passive-aggressively bashed by someone who is in a rush on the tube. I try not to take it personally and offer them a smile to brighten up their day (no lie, that’s the hardest one to practice) rather than absorb their stress and let it affect me.
Ultimately, for me this experience has been about going back to basics and seeing the benefit of showing an interest in everyone you meet, being grateful for all the small victories of the day, starting with waking up every morning alive. If we all focused on appreciating every little good thing that happens to us throughout our day, then we really would all be just a little bit lighter and happier. And trust me, this is an infectious state of mind.