Yoga makes people feel good, but does it have the opposite effect on a student of Yoga that wishes to move into the teaching of this ancient relaxing art? I spoke to one of the leading Yoga teachers on the beautiful island of Guernsey to find out more.
Hi, you have just returned from India, what was your reason for your trip? With India being the birth place of Yoga, I decided to continue to broaden my knowledge and study more of what I love. Quite honestly, any Yogi that has been to India would tell you that its like being a kid in a sweet shop, the opportunities to immerse yourself are vast! One trip always leads to another…
So how did you originally get interested in Yoga? I began practicing Yoga more than 10 years ago and became more regular with my practice whilst living and working in Singapore. During that time, I was working in the finance industry and I became very aware of how modern day stress can affect our mind and body. Suffering from back pain (quite severe at times), I decided that it was time to gain a deeper understanding of Yoga, and it’s so called, ‘eight limbs’. The feeling I had every time I left a class fascinated me, and I needed to know why!
Aside from all the health and fitness benefits, how has Yoga affected your life in other ways? The most important part for me personally, was finding the stillness which can take place in my mind during practise. Of course, I am still a student as well as a teacher, but Yoga gave me the willingness to accept things, whether physical or mental, for exactly how they are within that present moment; but to also, at times, explore my true self and really allow the answers from my questions to arise (the ones worth answering anyway). Yoga enables me to slow down enough to witness the real answers and the real ‘me’.
Can anybody enjoy and gain from Yoga? If you arrive into it with a willingness to open your mind enough to see the full benefits of Yoga, and not just the endless physical benefits, then yes, I believe anyone can. I have just completed my extensive teacher training for Pre-natal Yoga and Restorative Yoga, which has become huge in the US. I believe it doesn’t matter where you are within your life, there is a style of Yoga for you.
What is it really like living in an Ashram in India? Enlightening, challenging, charming, reflective, hard work, but above all it’s fantastic, as long as you know how long you are there for! My longest stint was a month whilst I completed my Hatha Yoga teacher training. I went through what felt like a lot of physical, mental and emotional barriers, I would say it was the toughest thing I had done in my life – but aren’t those times the most rewarding? For me, the whole experience was life changing. As my friends like to say, I really am the Julia Roberts character from the film, Eat Pray Love. And yes, I did drink the tequilas and party in Bali!
If you could do only one pose from now on, what would it be? Tree pose, without a doubt, because life is all about finding the balance in everything we do!