Yoga began here for me! My favourite time to be in Edinburgh is in the late autumn, in the Meadows. Those days when the rheumy sun makes the buildings shimmer. Some days are wet and gloomy, but they offer space to be contemplative – I find them truly inspiring.
I was scared, completely broke
In September 2007 I moved from London to study for a Masters at the University of Edinburgh. I was scared, completely broke and didn’t know how I was going to survive. But something kept me going. I had so many worries: would I be able to get a job before my last £150 ran out? Would I ever be able to repay the loan for my Masters? These thoughts were always bubbling away and were valid concerns! In the past, I had often allowed myself to be overwhelmed by these fears, and retreated from new and uncertain paths. Every so often, however, I would break free of this constant narrative looping on and on in my mind and act intuitively. This is what took me to Edinburgh.
When I arrived I would often walk through the Meadows and sit on a particular bench with a wonderful view of Edinburgh Castle. This is where I would be beset by conflicting emotions as I wrestled with my worries alongside a deep sense of calm. There was a faraway voice, so peaceful and nurturing, speaking to me during these moments. It was telling me – “You are safe. Everything will be okay.”
“You are safe. Everything will be okay.”
Allowing myself the space to be patient towards all that was unsolved in my body for the first time in my life, I became interested in the questions themselves rather than only chasing the answers. Perhaps one day the journey will take me closer to answers but for now, what are the questions? Why do I feel so scared all the time?
Why do I clench my teeth so hard and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night from the pain in my jaw? Why do I want to be seen and hide all at the same time?
Shortly after I started my Masters, my friend Lizzie mentioned she was going to a yoga class and would I like to join her. Like with most new things, my initial internal reaction was fear. Fear of failure, fear of being vulnerable, fear of the unknown – that was the one which scared me the most. However, there is something magical about Lizzie and she gently persuaded me to join her.
Fear of failure, fear of being vulnerable, fear of the unknown – that was the one which scared me the most.
That was my first experience of yoga in a local community class, in the draughty gym of a primary school. Elle O’Donnell, an extremely talented teacher, led the class with so much compassion and beauty that I began, slowly, to relax. I started to pay attention to my breath. I learned to relax my belly, allowing my lungs to fill more deeply. Of course, at the time I didn’t understand what was happening, but every step, every yoga class moved me up and out of the desperation which festered in every cell of my body.
Fast forward 10 years to September 2017, Berlin. I am walking, yoga mat in hand, to the first day of the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training with Ana Forrest and a team of incredible teachers and guardians.
Was I scared? Not at all!
Was I shielding myself from new experiences? Not at all!
I was open and so proud of my journey so far. I know there is always more work to do, but the most important step was the first one. That first class taught me to lower my defences, so I could truly start to heal myself.
I was open and so proud of my journey so far.
At the time of my first Forrest training, I had trained in both Vinyasa and Yin Yoga, and been teaching yoga for four years. At some point on this decade-long journey, I stopped seeing my body as a burden, a dysfunctional vessel. Using the medicine of yoga, I began to nourish it back to health. This is when I made a true commitment to using the knowledge and skills I had built up to help others in their journey.
That’s when I began Nourish Through Yoga – so named because the healing you experience on the mat doesn’t end when the class finishes, but permeates every second of the day! When I teach I love to share this sense of magic and give others the platform to use the forces within them for physical and emotional enlightenment.
That’s when I began Nourish Through Yoga.