My purpose as a teacher is to inspire. Inspire people to feel the physical and mental benefits that yoga can bring. To feel that special time for you, away from it all, and to walk out of your yoga class feeling better than when you arrived!
What was the first step you took before deciding to have a go at practising yoga?
I took my first yoga class at the end of 2007. I fancied trying something new for a while. The first step I took was to write a list of the 3 top things I wanted to achieve from my new found exercise regime.
something that would inspire me
something that would challenge me
something that would hold my interest
Nine and a half years later I am still challenged and inspired by the practise of yoga and love it with all my heart.
How did yoga impact upon your life? And did it have a ripple effect on your family and friends?
After that first class, I knew my search was over, I couldn’t get enough! I loved the way yoga made me feel physically and mentally and it wasn’t long before I was enthusiastically dragging all my friends and family along with me so they could experience the benefits for themselves.
Yoga really became a way of life for me from that point helping me to examine my lifestyle choices, my diet and even who I am. It has helped me through some very tough times and it was literally a love I wanted to share.
Who am I? A interesting question Helena. In fact it is a vital question when facing new challenges as it invites us to look at ourselves from a new perspective like a fly on the wall. Tell us what was the answer? And what effect did it have on your wellbeing and lifestyle?
In 2012 my yoga teacher, Mark Freeth gifted me a place on his Freestyle Yoga Project (FYP) Teacher Training in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. (which in my opinion, without doubt, is the best teacher training programme out there!) His incredible generosity and belief in me to be able to teach, literally threw me a lifeline and took me away from a path of unhappiness to a job I love!
How did you transform your life with this incredible new knowledge?
Alongside my teacher training I also trained to teach children’s yoga. Teaching children is so much fun! They are so creative and full of life. I love to immerse myself with them in their world of fantasy and imagination using stories, songs and games encouraging them to explore their creativity through yoga.
This has been very rewarding. I am always amazed too to see how much children love to lie down and relax with an eye pillow at the end of the class! Which I feel sets up a very good practice for their future wellbeing with the lesson of taking time for yourself.
Mindfulness is a growing practise in the western world, more and more children are learning yoga and loving there benefits it has on their lives. How else can yoga help holistically as the children grow and face hormonal changes?
Teenagers often love the challenging postures that yoga offers. My first hand experience is that it helps them build confidence. Many of my pupils too find their concentration improves and they can remain focused at crucial stages of growing up. Yoga can also bring relief, through breathing and relaxing techniques, relieving stress and anxiety during this time and especially as they come to school exams.
What are your top tips for looking after yourself around injuries and aches and pains?
Slow down your practise – I have found a gentler practise is incredibly powerful for both myself and my students.
Release and Let go – I have always enjoyed to teach and practice strong dynamic yoga but as time has gone on and through various injuries I have found a love for the gentler practise. In turn I love to see my students release and let go and find that place of relaxation and well-being in their bodies after an easy going practice.
What advise would you give to someone who is considering taking up the practice of yoga?
Over the years I have taught all levels of yoga and I truly believe there is a practice for everyone. I have recently started 1-1 sessions with clients recovering from operations, and those who are very limited in mobility and it is so wonderful to see people progress.
Yoga is a way for us to move our bodies with more freedom, prevent injuries and connect with our minds for relaxation and rejuvination. Looking forward, say another ten years, what would you like to see develop within the yoga world.
My aim is to inspire, I want anyone who wants to do yoga, be it for physical or mental benefits, to be able to do so. I feel such happiness and fulfilment when I see those I work with feeling better from having done a class.Yoga is infectious, my family and friends have got the bug too now!
All in all, I feel very lucky to have found yoga which is now every much a part of me and in my heart forever. I absolutely love my job and I can’t believe how much I love going to work, although work it is not as I enjoy it so much!