Wow! Where and when did it all begin? It seems like such a long time ago since Yoga first found me and it has certainly helped me bring a sense of awe in my daily life 🙂 It had all started with a broken arm, travel plans with my boyfriend, an underlying feeling of anxiety and a book on Yoga to accompany me on my travels. I am 36 now and from what I remember, I must have been around 21 when I had decided to travel around Australia and Thailand with my boyfriend. Six months prior to the trip, I had a really bad snowboarding accident that had fractured my arm and dislocated my shoulder. I had to take a few physio sessions to get fixed before setting out on my trip.
Yoga was not a big thing back then… well at least where I had lived, it wasn’t really popular as it is now, and thus I had no preconceptions about it whatsoever. While browsing a book shop in an attempt to find some interesting reads for my upcoming travels, I came across this book – Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar. I flicked through the book, found it interesting and bought it to read during my travels.There was an instant connection.
Healing myself from the outside in
We set out on our trip. I was still healing from my injury and had to work on my shoulder and arm. The book had briefly introduced me to Yoga philosophy and at the same time, it had inspired me to practice some poses and suggested sequences. I had found the Yoga stretches to be a wonderful complement to my swimming, and realised that the combined practice was helping me regain my arm/shoulder mobility.
I thus continued to explore self-practice and didn’t attend any yoga class until probably a year later. At that time I was working as a travel nanny and was hardly in a place long enough, to settle down and build a routine. I thus could not really focus on learning any one particular style or benefit from learning under one specific teacher.
But attending various classes whenever possible and keeping myself motivated in my home Yoga practice had its own benefits. This routine had continued for a few years and Yoga was slowly becoming a part of my routine. But it wasn’t until I turned 25, when I was working in Barbados that I had started dedicating more hours to Yoga practice and also found some great teachers to guide me.
“Yoga begins with listening. When we listen, we are giving space to what is.” Richard Freeman.
Around this time in Barbados, I fell in love with both, Yoga and Surfing, and spent the most amazing 6 months of my life, learning and practicing both. The combination was almost magical…I was; however, unaware that Yoga and surfing was healing me from the inside. I just continued with my practice because it made me feel great.
As a teenager and going into my early 20s, I had suffered from an eating disorder that affected my regular routine on and off. Unknowingly, the practice of Yoga had helped me overcome this eating disorder and helped me heal along the way. It inspired me to follow a balanced diet and lifestyle, which in turn helped me discover this inner balance and peace that I had never felt before.
The magic of Self-love
I guess through Yoga I learnt to really love myself. I finally felt a sense of freedom in my body and mind, and this motivated me to discover more about Yoga. During my travels around the world I had made my way to Mysore, in South India, and practiced Yoga there intently and after this I made my decision to do some training to further my knowledge and practice of Yoga.So I headed to Australia and completed my 500hr YTT and continued to travel and teach along the way. I love the way I had started teaching. I just went with flow, traveled and offered classes in exchange of something or for free… whenever I had the opportunity. There was no pressure on me to teach for a living or advertise and market my classes like how it is now. But this is because…
‘changes are inevitable and Yoga teaches you to embrace these changes beautifully.’
Over the next few years I decided to enroll for more teacher training courses and Yoga workshops, and during this time I also continued to work as a nanny and teach Yoga part-time. I then moved to South East Asia and made Bali my new home for almost 4 years. The place was mesmerising and I felt at ease and lived a balanced lifestyle, surfing, teaching and practicing Yoga.
And then came the big change…I became a Mother! And once again, the balance of my life changed and I adapted my lifestyle and Yoga practice to it as much as I could.
Getting comfortable with uncertainties
When my gorgeous son was 15 months old my life came crashing down around me after I separated from my son’s father. I found myself in a deep state of pain and anxiety and had never felt so unbalanced in my whole life. I couldn’t eat properly or sleep well, and honestly, the anxiety that I was experiencing felt very deep and extreme. I just couldn’t control what was going on in my body, breath and mind.
Even though deep deep down, I knew that Yoga would have been the best thing for me, there was just too much going on for me to even contemplate stepping on my mat. I then moved back to the UK to find support and some emotional stability by just being around my family and it helped. I gradually made it on to my mat to discover a new style of Yoga, Restorative Yoga.
The focus of my practice until this point (in my life) had been fairly active and physical, and it was purely my life circumstances that brought me to a slower practice…of reconnecting, of stilling the body and mind and breathing deeply, and finally calming down my nervous system, which felt like it had been taken so far out of balance from all the stress that I never thought I could regain that balance again.
Slow and steady with Restorative Yoga
And now, 4 years later, here I am 🙂 So thankful for discovering restorative Yoga and all these tools to heal myself from the outside in, and also having the knowledge and personal experience to be able to offer this to others.
“Give yourself permission to take time to BREATHE, to LIVE life, to GIVE, to LOVE, to REFLECT, to BE PRESENT, to just BE.”
I believe that we never ever stop working on ourselves and that we change and evolve through different stages of our life, from childhood to when we get older, from being children to becoming a mum etc., and it’s so important to let our Yoga practice evolve and change with these changes so that we can continue to stay balanced.
Now I live in India with my son and my lovely partner, Wilfred, who is also a Yoga teacher and although I feel so at peace here, I know that as long as I keep practicing Yoga, I can feel at peace, happy and grounded wherever I am in the world.
Apart from spending time with my beautiful family and working alongside them, the other most important things are cooking and eating delicious healthy food with love, finding time each day to sit, breathe and stretch, and to remind myself each day to be grateful for all that I have.
My partner and I now offer Yoga classes in India and we also run both adult and family retreats in Europe and hope to run retreats in India in the near future.
Here are links to my recent Yoga videos on how to deal with stress and anxiety: https://www.facebook.com/putusretreats/videos/393137634562993/
500 (hours) YTT, Restorative Yoga, Surfing
Instagram and FB: @putusretreats