I began practising yoga in Scotland, with absolutely no previous experience, flexibility, or strength. I started with a Yin class (a very slow, restorative style of yoga) because I was worried otherwise it would be ‘too much’. After taking one class and thinking, “hey, that was kind of nice” I decided to try something a bit more challenging; at which point I went straight in with Ashtanga (a considerably more difficult style).
After my first dynamic class (the Ashtanga), I realised I’d found something that was perfect for me. It was just the right amount of spirituality, coming through in a very grounded way. Noticing how I was feeling, noticing my breath, taking moments to be thankful for my body and decision to take time for myself. None of these things sounded non-sensical or far-reaching for me (nowadays the things I believe would definitely seem far-reaching to me then, but anyway…!)
But that’s the beauty of yoga. It’s a philosophy and a way of life that lets you move at your own pace. It allows you to move in a way that feels natural and authentic to you, both physically, on the mat, and mentally. We conduct the journey we go on in terms of yogic philosophy and how much we want to commit to getting to know ourselves better, down to how much we choose to live our life in accordance with yogic principles such as the Yamas and Niyamas. It’s up to us.
If you’re looking for historical and spiritual scriptures and deep ancient teachings; it’s there. If you’re looking to check in with your true self for one hour a week; it’s also there. There’s no judgement in yoga.
The other reason I loved my first yoga class, was because at the time I was a heavy weed smoker (also at the time trying to quit), and yoga gave me the feeling of being stoned without having to inhale any type of herb or plant- so maybe that’s an appealing point for someone else reading…
That was six years ago now, and since then I’ve never looked back. Everything that I have achieved and have grown through and into in my life since then I can attribute to yoga. It has helped me become a better person, choose a life path that works for me and to continue self-study and always trying to do the best I can do.
I teach Vinyasa yoga, which is a creative flow style of yoga. It basically means that I can create a yoga class by putting together different poses, starting off more slowly (a kind of warm up), working towards some more dynamic or advanced movements, and then slowing down again before the relaxation at the end. Every class has a different combination of poses, pranayama (breath work), and meditation, depending on what feels most right and authentic to me on the day.
If you practise yoga regularly, minimum once a week but preferably (obviously I’m biased) more, then you will really start to feel the benefits. Not just physically (flexibility will come), but also mentally, and in the way you handle your life in general.
Being a yoga teacher is my greatest honour and privilege. The fact that I can pass on some of what yoga gifted to me to other people is something I am blessed with. I teach yoga from the heart and allow my students to have the space within my teachings to know this is their path, their journey with themselves and their body.
Yoga is there for everyone, all that it requires is that we be open to it. We can take as little, or as much as we need, and as the quote says in the Bhagavad Gita:
On this path no effort is wasted,
no gain is ever reversed;
even a little of this practice
will shelter you from great sorrow.