I can’t remember exactly what age I was when I discovered yoga. My first practice started very young, I think before the age of 10, when my father would teach me headstands in the garden. He used to be a bit of a yogi in his twenties and he was definitely my first influence. I think the roots of my love for yoga come from the happy memories of the time we spent together outside in the sun, him teaching me yoga. Looking back on it now, I guess he was my first yoga teacher, even though at the time I didn’t know it.
As a teenager I was rather body image obsessed and struggled a lot with eating disorders. I went through a phase of obsessively practicing yoga every morning before breakfast in my bedroom, following online videos. This was not a healthy practice, not mentally or physically. It lasted a few years until I had one really intense week of yoga practice and forced my body into some poses that I totally shouldn’t have. After that week my back was so sore I could barely walk for a few days! I stopped my practice after that and it was a good lesson for me as to what happens when you practice with your ego and also to always listen to the signals you get from your body. In reflection I am grateful for that since I have learnt now never to do the same to myself again.
Even though I had stopped practicing yoga I was still interested and inspired by it. I read Yoga Girl’s book and completely fell in love with the book and her. I wanted to be a yogi, to meditate on a beach every morning and to travel across the world teaching yoga retreats. I would drift off to sleep every night dreaming of the future me on a beach with big smiles across my face. Unfortunately these dreams became buried under ‘life’. Forgotten and replaced by thoughts of school, grades, friendships and possessions.
It wasn’t until some years later that I discovered my yoga dream again. I went to a yoga class in New York at the Y7 Yoga studios and it reminded me of the passion I once had for yoga. The class was hot yoga in time with hip hop music and I LOVED IT! I left feeling so awesome and empowered and on top of the world. I went back again and again and again that week. Once again I just couldn’t get enough of yoga.
When I got home I slowly began yoga again. I was very mindful this time because of my back and practiced for fun rather than for exercise. I would put some rap music on (a lot of Biggie and Kanye), roll out my mat and flow.
I few months later I left home to go travelling around New Zealand. I found it hard to practice yoga when I was staying in youth hostels and other people’s homes but I didn’t wanted to abandon my practice altogether. So I went out and joined the Flow Hot Yoga studio and started going daily whilst I was staying in Christchurch for 2 months.
I think I fell in love with this studio because the smells were very comforting. I was missing home and the studio was almost a replacement home for me. The meditation at the end of the practice would also sort out my emotions and leave me feeling calmer and lighter. This studio helped me take my yoga to the next step and definitely introduced me to the effects that yoga can have on your life. I was immediately happier after each class and already itching to go back the next day!
^^ crow pose in New Zealand.
Fast forward to 2017.
6 months ago when I returned home from travelling I moved to London. I joined a yoga studio close to my house straight away, knowing that I was ready to make space properly for yoga in my life. Since then that space has been growing and growing and has completely taken over (this is not a bad thing).
Yoga is now part of my daily routine and I am completely and utterly in love with the practice and lifestyle. I have found so many befits (which I will include in the next post, PART 2, because there are waaaay too many to list here) and I swear yoga has changed my life.
For me personally, joining a yoga studio has always been the best way for me to stay motivated about the practice and learn in a safe environment rather than teaching myself. I find having a good yoga teacher is really really inspirational and can open you up to possibilities you didn’t even know existed.
So I would recommend anyone to go to a yoga class today. Make space and just wait and see what happens. You may walk out that class a changed person… Or exactly the same. That is ok also. Just be open and abundance will flood in.
Have a beautiful day.