When I opened the doors to Instinctive Yoga two years ago, I had no idea just how inspired I would be by the amazing people who would choose to come and practice with us. Our studio has turned into a thriving community of happiness, I don’t remember when I last taught a class where we didn’t laugh and smile.
Yoga is just so simple, you move and breathe and make shapes. But what is it that makes a yoga class beyond brilliant, one that you want to keep going back to? I’d love to say it’s the teacher, but that wouldn’t be completely true. What I’ve come to realise is that it’s the people that come to the class and the vibe that they create. At Instinctive Yoga there’s no competition, no attitudes and no ego’s just happy, lovely people moving and breathing, making shapes, smiles and friends.
So you lovely readers can start to understand what our studio believes modern day yoga is really about, we teamed up with award winning blogger Rachel Evans from Healthy and Psyched and asked her to interview some of our very lovely and inspiring yogi’s!
Here’s your chance to meet Emily, she has the biggest smile and always looks happy, even when she’s in the most challenging of poses.
1. What was your first experience with yoga?
My first experience with yoga was whilst I was at university around 5/6 years ago. I was a member of the university gym and it was one of the only classes on offer that I hadn’t tried so decided to give it a go.
2. Why did you decide to join instinctive health?
After finishing university I fell out of the habit of going to yoga classes. After an unfortunate period of grievances and health issues within the family out of the blue I started to suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. I decided to give yoga a go again utilising free online videos. Overtime I noticed a dramatic improvement in my anxiety and general wellbeing. After following online videos at home over the course of around a year I began to search for studios in Sheffield. I felt as if I wanted to be part of a class environment again to start to challenging myself as well as exploring different styles of yoga.
Instinctive Health was recommended to me by a friend and it’s turned out to quite possibly be one of the best things that I have done for myself this year. So much time is taken doing things for other people that I think we so very rarely take time for ourselves. Yoga is time that I am taking for myself.
3. That’s brilliant that yoga has helped your anxiety, Can you tell us more about the mental and physical health benefits you have experienced from yoga?
From starting practicing yoga regularly at home and now also regularly attending classes at Instinctive Health I have noticed a dramatic difference is both my mental and physical health. I have always had some kind of regular exercise routine, however when I started to begin to experience anxiety and panic attacks it was yoga that had the most dramatic impact. There was a point where my panic attacks were starting to affect my physical health, sleep and day to day life. As mentioned above I feel as if yoga has had such a profound effect on my anxiety and panic attacks and this year my sleep has been better than it has ever been. As well as my physical health improving as my mental health has I feel as if I am really building strength within my body which is continuing to develop as I have incorporated more dynamic classes into my practice. I have noticed a dramatic impact in my core strength and a small niggles of pain that used to be present in my back and hips from sitting over a microscope and at a desk have completely disappeared.
4. How many classes do you attend and how do you fit them into your schedule?
I tend to do around 5 classes a week, 3 during the week itself and then two on Saturday morning. The classes fit really easily around work due to the times they start and it has now just become part of my weekly routine.
5. What has kept you motivated to go to classes?
Most of the time I really look forward to the classes and practicing, however like everyone, there are days when I want to get home from work and just crash on the sofa, My mind tends to think at 1000 miles an hour. I am always doing one thing and thinking of about 10 other things at the same time but for that hour and a half my mind is probably the quietest it has been all day. In turn this has had a dramatic impact on my anxiety and how I deal with the situation if a panic attack happens. Knowing that, alongside the studio being a genuinely lovely place to be with wonderful people is definitely what keeps me motivated to go.
6. What are your favourite yoga moves and why?
When I first started taking classes I would look forward to the poses that I felt comfortable in such as Trikonasana (triangle pose) and of course everyone’s favourite, Savasana (corpse pose… a.k.a. lying on the floor!). As time has passed and I have been attending more and more classes I have started to become less fearful of poses that I know I find difficult. As I work in a laboratory, I spend a large amount of time sat over a microscope and computer, my shoulders and upper back have, overtime, become really tight. When I first started at Instinctive Health, any poses that worked on shoulder openness were wanting to be avoided as I found them very uncomfortable. Overtime I’m trying to embrace what these poses are bringing and even though I still find them extremely difficult I am noticing millimetre by millimetre of improvement, dare I say have started to enjoy them.
7. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of trying yoga?
If you are unsure as to whether taking a class is for you there are a whole range of free online videos out there that can give you an idea of as to whether it would be something you would like to look into further. I was quite nervous about starting to be part of a class again but after getting in touch with Rachael over social media and her giving me advice of which classes would be suitable it really put me at ease. Try different classes, teaching different styles and even different studios until you find one that suits you.
I would also advise to try and go into the whole area of yoga with an open mind and if possible without expectation. Of course, everyone wants to be able to get into those crazy poses that seem unattainable and feel completely centered and grounded all the times. This is such a small part of the practice, every time you practice there will be differences. As to whether that lies within how your body feels at that particular time or your mind. Some days certain things will come easily and other days they will feel like impossible, whether that is trying to get into some crazy arm balance or trying to sit still and be present in the practice without thinking of a thousand things that you need to do.
I would say just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen?
Thanks so much Emily! Do you want to ask Emily or the Instinctive Health Team a question? Just comment below!
If you’d like to take part in our Inspiring Yogi Interviews just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Catch up with the very talented Rachel Evans, her healthy adventures and lovely recipes at Healthy and Psyched