How long have you been practicing yoga?
I started a regular practice around four years ago – it hasn’t been that long. Like many others who practice yoga, initially it was the physical exercise that drew me in.
I was working in advertising sales at the time. It was a high-pressure, high-stress environment and I began to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
My first class at BML was a peak hour Yoga Open 30°C led by Noelle. I was completely out of my depth. I managed to squeeze my mat down only to be asked by the student next to me to move on then I completely stacked it out of headstand! Despite the not-so-strong start to my first class, I walked out of the room floating and knew there was something magical to the practice.
What impact has the practice had?
It’s been profound. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first – and it’s still hard to put into words – but the practice brings about this beautiful feeling of peace, ease and calm. All you have to do is show up. The more classes I went to, the more aware of yoga’s effect on me I became – in a physical sense sure – but on an emotional and mental level too.
I’d never felt ‘settled’ with life in Sydney. I travelled a lot, often taking off when I felt stuck or like I wasn’t in the right place. It was like I was having an internal battle between wanting to be free to do what I loved vs. the pull of being ‘sensible’ and ‘doing the right thing’.
Practicing yoga was one of the only things that made me feel like I was exactly where I was supposed to be; like I was at home. And it was that feeling alone that led me to want to learn more.
When did you decide to sign up for a yoga teacher training course?
It might sound cliche but the more I practiced, the more I felt like I was moving in the right direction, like I was on the right path. It was quite early into my practice that I fancied the idea of a teacher training. I’ve always believed the universe has my back and things work out exactly as they’re meant to. So one day I quit my job and took the leap.
I signed up for the full-time immersive course at BodyMindLife that kicked off in February this year and had no idea if I would end up teaching; I just wanted to do the course for my own development. At the time it seemed like an indulgent thing to do but in hindsight it was the best gift I’ve ever given myself.
And how did you find the course?
I know everyone says this, but it was life-changing. The course was intense, challenging and hard at times for sure, but I loved every bit of it. It opened my eyes to the practice in a way I never expected. It gave me an entirely new found appreciation for the incredible teachers and facilitators, and the group of people who go on the journey with you really do feel like family. It’s a very special experience.
Funnily enough, as much as I learned about myself over the five weeks I agreed to another job in Sales which started two days after I graduated. I knew almost instantly it wasn’t what I should be doing – it didn’t feel right – but the self-doubt crept its way back in so I stuck it out for a while.
I guess the universe did have my back after all. After a few months, my boss at the time (and friend and mentor) pulled me aside and said he sensed my unhappiness. He told me I should consider resigning. On the very same day, I received an email from Noelle offering me my first class at BodyMindLife.
How was your first class teaching?
SO exciting, nerve-racking and thrilling all at the same time.
After teaching community classes for a while, Sam reached out and asked if I was interested in covering a couple classes at Surry Hills for some teachers who were away.
I was so nervous but I knew I couldn’t say no – it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. My first class was like going on a first date with 20 people! I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so nervous in my life. But what I’ve come to find with teaching is as soon as you’re in there, you become completely absorbed and immersed in what you’re doing. It’s like everything else just falls away.
Following the covers, Noelle offered me a couple permanent classes and I now teach at BodyMindLife Potts Point each Sunday and Monday evening, along with classes at other studios and a few privates (most recently including one of my UBER drivers – another story altogether).
And where to next?
I feel so energised and fulfilled when I teach. It’s all I want to do. I’m concentrating on my practice, continuing my studies and taking on opportunities that come my way. I feel like I’m having a love-affair with yoga – it’s certainly the most committed I’ve ever been… 🙂
Interested to learn more about our 200hr YTT course? Join us for a free class and Q&A session with our head of yoga Noelle Connolly and BodyMindLife owner Phil Goodwin next Thursday, 8th November in Surry Hills. Book here.