I recently asked on my Instagram what sorts of things people would be interested in reading about on this blog. Several people asked me how I got into yoga & meditation, so here’s a quick rundown.
My first encounter with yoga was when I was 18; I’d left school after completing my A-Levels and had an office job. The specific reason escapes me now, but my mam – who was going to mid-day yoga classes herself – suggested I try an evening class. I suspect it may have been a misguided attempt to “replace” the PE lessons I’d no longer be forced to endure at school – although I’d already been free of them for two years. Regardless, I went, and I enjoyed it enough to keep going back – I remember being gifted a yoga mat & an awesome mat bag, so I must have kept going for at least a few years.
I stopped practicing yoga in my earlier twenties when I was in an abusive relationship. My partner didn’t want me to go to yoga because he had no interest in it, and wanted to control my whereabouts.
I started practicing again in 2014. I’d been working in offices for 11 years, and was unhappy with the ways my body was changing – I don’t have unrealistic expectations, but I do believe that at 29 things shouldn’t have been a struggle the way they were quickly becoming.
However, living in north west England and having seasonal affective disorder (SAD) I didn’t want to have to leave the house in the cold, dark, wind, and rain to go and get sweaty somewhere else, which I would have had to, for most of the year. I remembered my previous yoga practice, and scoured Amazon for something that seemed familiar, and soon had a haṭha yoga DVD, mat, strap, and blocks. I don’t remember much from my early practices, but I remember struggling, especially with uttānāsana – standing forward fold – I could barely get my hands past my knees, never mind to my toes!
As time went on, I added a few more DVDs to my collection, but I mostly stuck with that one. It was familiar and it helped me see my progress through my practice and the photos I was taking and posting online. One of the DVDs I got even had a bonus meditation session; although the first time I tried it, I ended up crying and swearing I would never meditate again. Thankfully, that didn’t last long, and I started dabbling in other types of meditation.
Then in 2016, I met my amazing husband – and let me tell you, he was (and still is) the biggest supporter of my yoga practice. He would practice with me whenever he could, and before we even lived together he’d do housework so I’d have the time and space to do my thing. From then on, my practice became more consistent than ever before.
In 2019 Chris & I got married, and I went to Suryalila Retreat Centre in Spain to do my yoga teacher training. It was an amazing experience that really opened my eyes to what my body and mind are capable of.
After the training, I started receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, which was tough but ultimately helpful. Then in early 2020, I got super sick. When I recovered, I started to focus more on launching my business, but shortly after the whole world went into lockdown. I spent some time on furlough, and finally had a chance to really rest after 17 years of office work. It was much needed.
In the past three years, I’ve continued to explore, practice, and learn about different aspects of yoga. I’ve offered free and paid classes, and I continue to explore different ways to care for my body and mind. I hope to continue learning and growing as a yoga teacher; and I also hope to help more people feel comfortable in their bodies and minds with the tools, techniques, and information I share.
Here are some of the benefits I’ve experienced from yoga and meditation:
- Improved physical flexibility and strength
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Increased self-awareness and mindfulness
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased energy levels
- A stronger sense of peace and well-being
If you’re interested in trying yoga or meditation, I encourage you to do so. There are many different types of yoga and meditation to choose from, so you can find something that’s right for you. There are many resources available online and in your community to help you get started, and if you need any help finding something for you, I’d be happy to help – just leave me a comment on get in touch on social media.