I'm currently in Mysore , India, studying with Ajay Kumar (student of Jois and Iyengar) and teaching Yoga Teacher Training with Vijay Amar, at Universal Yoga. Being back in India is grounding and all life on and off the mat teaches you here. Returning to Mysore feels like coming home a little, where there is a traveling yoga community of individuals I've been bumping into all over the globe, even from Cheltenham!!
I’d like to play with some words to share with you the journey to wellbeing that I've been on these last few years and why I'm so excited to share some of my learning journey at this summer a Soul Circus, Yoga and Wellness Festival.
SOUL (the spirit or immaterial part of man, the seat of human personality, intellect, will, and emotions).
CIRCUS (from Greek kirkos ring: a traveling group of entertainers).
FESTIVAL (can be traced to the Latin 'festa' meaning ‘a religious holiday’. We can trace 'festa' back to two older Latin words: it was originally related to 'fanum' (‘temple’) and 'feriae' (‘rituals’).
YOGA : a system of philosophy aiming at the mystical union of the self with the Supreme Being in a state of complete awareness and tranquility through certain physical and mental exercises.
WELLNESS : the state of being on a good state to physical and mental health.
RETREAT : the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.
A few years ago I was super active early morning gym goer, super driver career golden girl, super clean eater, super gregarious socialite, super bendy yogi and without really noticing super fatigued…. experiencing joint swelling and pain, gut problems and feelings of depression. But I wasn't really feeling sick, not enough to need time off work, just a bit… Well… Meh! So, without going into too much detail, I addressed my nutrition allergies, lifestyle imbalances and set some super big goals to live my dreams. Fast forward to October 2014 and I'm working in a leading education charity in Nepal, as research associate for Global Action Nepal, operating in close coordination with the Nepali Department of Education, International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) such as USAID, Marie Stoppes International and UNICEF Nepal, on Girls Education, Child Trafficking and family health. Living in Kathmandu, teaching yoga locally, hiking up the Himalayas – I’m living the vision I'd created a few years earlier.
So what do you do when you realize your living your dream board, hmmm, well, eh, questions stuff, then pinch yourself, then show up on the YOGA*mat! Because as a good friend once told me and I repeat at to pretty much EVERYONE! ‘YOGA OPENS DOORS.’
My journey since October 2014 has taken me to New York, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka delivering in not for profit, yoga and well being contexts. I've founded a retreat business in Sri Lanka, facilitating international health and wellbeing coaches and teachers to deliver high quality and holistic programs. I also lead international yoga alliance teacher training with a specialty in anatomy and physiology and studied with some outstanding international teachers.
My biggest learning from all my recent global experiences and more important from the numbers of students I've taught all over the world, is in order to move forward in personal, community or global WELLNESS*, is that in order to serve others you have to serve yourself. And how do you get to that… YOU SHOW UP ON THE MAT!
Showing up on the mat, daily, even when I don't feel like it, opens my SOUL*, weather it be from my time studying Buddhism in Nepal and hanging out with Tibetan monks in Dharamshala ( the home of the Dali lama), or meditating by the ocean in Sri Lanka, where nature just shows real perspective and pulls that little ego right back into place. Even when in India, where all humanity is exposed and you feel like your in a crazy poverty/extreme wealth CIRCUS*. I realize I'm part of that Circus, I'm the traveller experiencing, learning and I guess when I teach I'm known to entertain.
I've learnt to recognize and let go of, the judgement and criticism I can think on my self, others and situations, and know that my SOUL is truly nourished in my CIRCUS and that celebrating me, good friends, bad friends, strangers and family in daily rituals ( not always on the mat) is my life's FESTIVAL*.
So I teach to bring to my clients daily RETREAT* To empower individuals to create and live their own journey, often through understanding the architecture of the body, how and why we move differently to others on the yoga mat and how this can teach us acceptance which leads to more presence and contentment across all aspects of our lifestyle.
Excited, then, that SOUL CIRCUS FESTIVAL have kindly asked me to share some of my practices, teachings and stories from my own little soul circus life.
Find out more about me, my yoga and journey : ducksoups.com
Love and Peace