Where did it begin? I first tried yoga in 2016 after buying a Groupon Voucher (remember them?) with my mum, we went along with our little gym mats and some anticipation and attempted a 90 minute HOT yoga class, we slipped, huffed, giggled and even got sweat in our eyes but finished the class with a feeling of complete ‘WOW’, and signed straight back up for the next week.
After a few months I bought my first house so moved across the city and put all my money into that, letting yoga slide. But I missed how it made me feel so I bought a DVD on Ashtanga yoga, the type I’d tried and loved and started doing it a few times a week. I remember audibly groaning during it, breathing like I was running for my life and my partner checking I was ‘ok’, no matter how hard in the moment that WOW feeling was always there by the end. After a few months of this I saw a local teacher I’d found on IG advertise a beginners workshop in a gym near me, so I signed up! It was a Saturday lunchtime and I went out for a few gins the night before (god knows why?) and woke the next day with the most awful hangover, my partner had to literally drive me there and drop me off and how I got through it I still don’t know! But it was SO helpful, and just ignited even more fire in my belly for this strange and wonderful practice.
A few weeks later I found Yogacita during a google search and took myself off to class on Friday night (no gin that week), then returned the next day to, and the next.. and for the next 4/5months I was there about 5 days a week, trying all the teachers and styles and starting to learn pose names and feel the progress. (A year later I joined their reception team and did a few shifts a week after work in exchange for free yoga, I got to be part of the club!!)
I was officially hooked and during this period late 2017 I went to one of the teachers day retreats and I remember saying to her, I want to be a yoga teacher now! I was 27 and if I’m totally honest I felt like I was probably too old for this to be realistic but I fancied the idea of it anyway! Those around me didn’t really think I would act on it, I’d been a hairdresser, nail technician, bar maid, administrator, retail assistant and call centre agent over the last 15 years.. I’d tried it all!
A few months later, around 6 months after starting my regular studio practice one of the teachers I loved was posting about an intensive course, Monday-Friday for 2 weeks it started at 6am and ran for almost 2 hours, it would mean I got to work much later than I usually liked, and had to get up at 5am to drive to the city. But I was tempted, it sounded so good to delve deeper into yoga. After a lot of back and forth (and persuasion to my partner to take care of our puppy in the mornings) I signed up, it was April 2018 and I thought I’d never last the 2 weeks.
When it finished I signed up for the 4 weeks, then again.. and agin.. With the odd week here or there when the teacher took a break, I continued to do this every week until October 2019. My whole life changed, I had to go to bed early, eat differently, live differently to afford the investment. My body changed, my mind changed, I met so many other people who loved something I loved too.. it was magical. The consistency of this practice and the talent of that teacher birthed me into a strong and consistent practitioner, it as a repetitive sequence which we repeated daily like a moving meditation, observing my growth, accepting my physical challenges. When I started I couldn’t touch my toes, I couldn’t headstand and I wasn’t a strong practitioner.
When I finished in the October it was to go to India for my first Yoga Teacher Training. When I came home that teacher moved away and the next chapter started. I started teaching, accepting any and all cover classes all across the city, driving up to an hour each way sometimes all around my full time office job. A few months later, with a couple of regular slots under my belt, the world shut down. I was still such a new teacher, I wasn’t prepared to lose all I’d worked so hard for! All those 1000s of hours on my mat, the cover classes I’d sweated through, the nerves before EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. What now?
I went online like the rest of of the world, I was still working 9-5 with a salary so offered donation based Zoom & once allowed park yoga classes to raise money for the 2 studios I was now a regular teacher at. Dived deep into my practice and then at the end of Lockdown 1 I lost my job. We’d just booked our big white wedding before the pandemic hit so I was faced with a predicament, in truth I’d hated the confines of my office job for YEARS and all I wanted to do was teach yoga, so I went for it. I secured more classes though connections I’d made and muddled together a full time schedule, I taught yoga, went to yoga, sold my skincare on the side and enjoyed a much happier work life balance than I’d ever known before.
Then the UK closed down again and at the end of 2020 with less than a year to our wedding I was locked down, this time without the security of my salary. What now? I was fortunate that my partner could pay the bills that needed paying and the skincare I sold was doing well but it made me worry that maybe teaching yoga, the one thing I’d ever found that I thought I could really LOVE to do, wasn’t so do-able after all? 5 months we locked down for with no real work, a few zoom yoga classes a week and zero Government support during this time I worked on my self development, read books, started running and lifting weights at home, journaled, attended virtual webinars and focussed on myself.
When the studios opened again I went back with a timetable bigger than before and such an excited energy to get back to it! But it wasn’t stable, after 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions lots of our regulars didn’t make time for their yoga like before so classes struggled, studios had to make changes and in the summer of 2021, with 2 months (we hoped) to our wedding to go, timetable cuts saw my classes halve in just a few weeks, taking with it half my income too. Again I found myself thinking ‘WHAT BLOODY NOW??’.
I’d started working with a coach to help me with my mindset and other things, this coach soon became a business coach and almost overnight helped me develop a new online offering which incorporated my new Personal Training qualification I’d worked on during the recent lockdown, bringing a hybrid of yoga and strength via zoom to a handful of people who wanted to find balance in their life, we created a little community online and I continued to teach classes in person, the balance actually works perfectly for me about half my time is in person and half is online, both brining their bonus’ with them.
In October 2021 we had our big white wedding, followed by a few days in the countryside with our Border Terrier Dexter and then I was straight back to work, I took a part time job at a new local coffee shop to ease the pressure on my body (and my mind) from excessive teaching, I now work there a few days a week, I teach a handful of yoga classes in my favourite studios and run 1-2-1's online with my hybrid of strength & yoga (Strength & Stretch), I run regular Workshops and Day Retreats in Liverpool and in a couple of weeks I’m launching my brand new On Demand portal! It’s been a hard few years, but I look back at how far I’ve come, how much I’ve had to learn and adapt and I know without a doubt in my mind that I’m doing the right thing, this is where I’m supposed to be!