This week we chat to FGB annual member, Brixton resident and regular early bird; Mardi Jaimeson.
Although she’s not a self confessed ‘morning person’ – she loves practicing class first thing before taking charge of Brixton Therapy Centre and confides that regular yoga practice has really helped her though difficult times in her life…
What brought you to yoga? How long have you been practicing?
“I discovered exercising in my early 20’s, having been thoroughly put off sport, in particular team sports, by my 1970’s PE teachers …I’m in my mid 50’s (eek! How did that happen?)
At the time I didn’t understand that I had hypermobile joints so I picked up a few injuries. I started training to be an osteopath when I was 29 and discovered Ashtanga yoga on holiday a year later. As I had a growing understanding of anatomy and physiology I modified my exercise routine to reduce impact and focus on strengthening my joints. It might seem counter intuitive for someone with bendy joints to practise yoga but if carried out with a bit of self awareness it can be very beneficial.”
How have you been finding Fierce Grace?
“I have to hold standing postures with a micro bend in the knees, not always easy, but ‘locking your legs’ doesn’t mean pushing back into the knee joint but pulling upwards on the leg muscles to ‘lock’ the knee. I did this incorrectly for too many years and nowadays my knee’s play up every now and then. Practising regularly really makes a difference to all my slightly damaged weight bearing joints.
I’ve been practising yoga, in different styles, and in differing routines, in and around Brixton ever since I discovered Ashtanga in 1990. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and have two children (1998 & 2001) which affected my ability to attend classes. Actually, I used to hold yoga classes at my clinic, Brixton Therapy Centre, until we got too busy and needed the rooms. That was perfect as I was already at work!
Fierce Grace opening up almost across the road is very handy. My partner Fergus is a founder member of Fierce Grace Brixton but it actually took me a whole year to try a class. I thought I wouldn’t like the heat and was worried that I would over bend my already bendy joints. However, when I tried a class (towards the end of 2015) I realised how creaky I had become and how much the heat helped.
What do you like about early morning practice?
I’ve really been enjoying my early morning classes; I try to come every weekday morning and the occasional Sunday. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl so early mornings don’t come easy but if I set my alarm, get up, put on my yoga clothes and just go, as soon as I’m in the warm room all is ok! Then I go home, shower and get on with the day. I work as both an osteopath and clinic director so I find that the demands on my time often interfere with trying to make a class later in the day. I also can’t be doing with all the washing, dressing, undressing repeat that is required for classes later in the day!”
Do you have any tips to share on keeping motivated to practice early in the day?
“The routine of this being ‘just what I do’ first thing during the week, is both relaxing and I feel I am achieving something as I see my practice improving. It also helped me a lot when I first started, as my younger brother Ravi was in hospital (Kings) and I was doing an early morning class then speed walking across Ruskin Park to be with him all through January 2015. He subsequently died on February 11th and I found the routine of practising yoga really helped through that difficult time.”
How has your practice changed or developed since coming to FGB?
“I practise mostly for the musculo skeletal benefits, but that’s not to underestimate the meditative and calming aspects to yoga that may not always be apparent, but are quietly going on underneath the hard work.”
What is your favourite class and why?
“I guess my favourite class is deep core as my hips are a bit shot and I like having a bit of extra time to work them, although I do enjoy the mixing up of the classes. My tip is to just do it. It’s not unknown for me on the night before to think ‘I’m tired maybe I won’t go tomorrow’ but when the alarm goes off I just get up and go, on autopilot.”
What do you like doing in Brixton?
“Having been in Brixton for so long I’ve watched with astonishment the changes over the last 5 or so years. On the whole I love it, especially all the new interesting places to eat. My son has just started a part time job at Nanban on Coldharbour Lane so I’ve been eating a lot of delicious Japanese street food recently. I watch the occasional film at the Ritzy and I’m a member of Whirled Arts cinema club in Loughborough Junction. But most of my time is spent looking after Brixton Therapy Centre; it is a much bigger baby than my own babies!”
Tell us a fun fact…
“Did you know that the world’s oldest yoga teacher is 98 year old Tao Porchon-Lynch, still teaching in New York!”