When I was younger I used to forge sick notes or pretend I had my period at school so I could get out of doing any kind of physical activity. My nick name was thunder thighs and we had to wear gym knickers that resembled granny pants. It was mortifying.
I secretly wanted to be sporty but growing up as a chubby girl in the UK my choice was NetBall or Rounders but these were competitive and bitchy matches played by mean girls.
I spent a year living in Melbourne when I was ten. I remember being queen of the monkey bars and always felt like this country was my home. I moved to Sydney in my mid twenties. I had a sore back from galavanting around the globe so I was told to go and try some stretching.
I had been to a yoga class before with my sister. We got kicked out for being disruptive, gasses were released and we got hysterical. However this time my aching body and busy mind found a sense of ease and freedom from doing the poses. A seed was planted in my soul and it was the beginning of a journey that would change my life.
I had finally found my secret sport.
That seed has evolved into a flourishing tree of light and I am now a yoga teacher. I am the founder of Yoga Mamata and I am the author of “Mother Om – Connect with yourself and your child in one mindful moment a day”.
It took me many years to find out what worked for me and my body type. I love sharing the many teachings yoga brings, if you allow yourself to to open and receive them. I don't see it as just exercise. Yoga is about uniting your mind body and spirit and this ancient philosophy teaches you how to connect to yourself, to each other and to the world around you.
Yoga has taught me to be mindful and live in the moment. It has taught me to live whole-heartedly and eat whole foods. It is a lifestyle choice that keeps me happy and healthy.
Yoga was traditionally for men, but it is women that resonate so much with this practice. Women find emotional and physical balance and a yoga class is a chance to take a well deserved break in their hectic worlds. Many women are trying to find balance wearing the many hats of motherhood. It is a break from the daily grind, a chance to reconnect to who you are, an opportunity to go within and find inner peace. There are no whinging kids, no phone, no agenda, just you and your breath.
The physical benefits for women release stress and tension in your body but also create an awareness of how to listen to your body. Yoga teaches you to rest, slow down, say no, take some time for yourself. You sleep better, you learn to be mindful of your posture, you learn how to take a moment to breath in stressful situations.
Yoga also has many psychological benefits for women. It teaches you to love your body and ignore the ridiculous message the media portrays that puts such immense pressure on women. Your confidence, self compassion and inner strength come from your practice. It teaches you to be present and let go of what doesn't serve you, make you grow or make you happy.
Yoga opens up your conscious awareness mind and you make better choices. For me yoga is not not just doing poses. It is about spreading random acts of kindness, it is about being a loving mother and following my heart, and side stepping the fear that creates judgment and ignorance in my head.
When I have been working all day on my computer I love to unplug and play and take my dog for a walk in the park or I go for a ride on my spearmint green bike, Jade. It gives me permission to find balance in my life.
I believe that what ever type of fitness you decide to do, it should be one that brings peace into your heart.
Running, surfing, walking and dancing are all forms of meditation.
Do what makes you happy.