While working in PR and digital marketing, I turned to yoga for balance.
Less so long sequences standing on one leg (I'm still not great at those); more as an escape from the corporate world I felt trapped in and wasn't quite sure how to break free from.
By the scorching summer of 2018 my mind and body couldn't handle it any more. I was broken by the pressures of an industry I didn't want to be in any longer. Every success required such gargantuan effort it felt like a failure, all the more so because of what it was doing to me from the inside out.
I'd like to say I opted out but the truth was I didn't really have any choice. My mind and body made the decision for me. So, unsure what my next step was, I underwent my yoga teacher training. It was there that I learned, fundamentally, what was wrong.
None of us were designed to cope with this crazy modern world which we push ourselves into. Behind all our assorted pressures and pursuits sits our stone-age brain -- altogether lost and confused as to the world in which it finds itself. Our constant state of adrenaline and overload of information means we stretch our survival instincts to their limits and beyond.
The result? All the ailments and maladies which plague our modern world: depression, anxiety, over-eating, aches and pains from poor posture and more.
Yoga is not a miracle cure for that Pandora's Box of contemporary grievances -- life is still life. But what the practices do give is a heightened connection between body, mind and breath. Three aspects which so often sit divorced from one another in our digital age.
From this awareness of ourselves come the many benefits with which yoga and meditation are lauded: increased fitness, mobility, concentration and relaxation to name a few.
In January 2019, just a few months after I graduated and began teaching yoga in clients and clubs across London, I said goodbye to the PR world for good and took the yoga teaching full-time. I can't say that I regretted my decision, but the path to running your own yoga business is certainly not a smooth one!
Yet coming from that corporate background, I feel, truly gives me an edge when it comes to teaching these practices. I know exactly what it means to have a treasured hour of guided movement on the mat and how deeply needed that release of the body and mind can be. I know precisely what that slouched-over desk hunch looks like and how to counteract it!
Long-term, yoga and meditation are not just ways to escape our problems; they arm us with the tools and mechanisms, both internal and external, to better handle them. The modern world isn't going anywhere, so learning to tread its concrete paths with a stronger body, calmer mind and more compassionate outlook are an excellent place to start.
And if, like me, you're wobbling in those long balance sequences, don't worry -- I've since found out that our ancestors would have navigated them much better thanks to having their feet firmly planted on the Earth -- not to mention their minds more grounded into the present.
So when it comes to learning yoga, the main thing I have learned is that the practice is the goal and the joy is in the progress.
See you on the mat!