I first started practicing Yoga when I was sixteen years old. I work in a gym and I saw that Yoga was one of the classes on offer. Everything at the gym was free for me as an employee and so I thought I would give it a go. I continued with it twice a week for a year. I even took my school friends, especially those with a few teenage problems, thinking it would help to calm their minds. However, at that age I don’t feel as though I was completely conscious to the world and thus I felt unaware of the centred-ness I was trying to create. That age was a horrible time for me and yet I didn’t allow Yoga in. When I was seventeen I went to work in a gym in Cologne, Germany. It was there that I first tired Ashtanga Yoga – or ‘Power Yoga’ as it was billed on the timetable. This was quite an hilarious occurrence; not only were the sanskrit names a little difficult for me at the time, but this combined with the class being taken in German and the speed of the class resulted in a very lost and confused me! The Yoga teacher was excellent though and switched the language of the class to English half way through for me (no one else seems to mind this!).
I dabbled with Yoga on and off thereafter, trying practices in China and always coming back to it for stretching purposes. I wasn’t until my body decided to give up on me from over exertion that I turned to Yoga properly. This was about three and a half years ago. My back was giving up and a physiotherapist asked me if I practiced Yoga. I told her I had in the past but had trouble sticking with it. She thought it would be excellent for my bad back and perhaps recognised that the symptoms in my back also stemmed from mental disquiet.
Since then I have been devoted to Yoga. I have to say that sometimes my back can still give me discomfort, but actually after a few months of practicing my focus whilst doing Yoga distinctly switched; it wasn’t about the physicality anymore but about the quiet cultivated in my mind by working my body in certain ways. I love to switch between Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga practices, finding I get something different from each. I have lived all over the world and find going to a structured class in a studio quite difficult (I have definitely persevered through language barriers…. But it can cause more anxiety than stillness!), and as a result much of my practice has been through online classes with both a close friend of mine who is Yoga teacher utilising Skype and also through classes on websites and podcasts. Practicing at home by piecing together my own flows is something I also derive great pleasure from. My husband and I practice on our Yoga deck made from recycled pallets!