Why did you start practicing yoga and what made you stay?
I started practising yoga to fix my knees. I had ruined them running two marathons and I was training for a third. Yoga not only fixed my knees to the extent I trained for and ran the marathon completely injury and pain free, it also helped me knock almost 20 minutes off my previous time.
I fell in love with the continuous transformative effect yoga has on both my body and my mind, so after the marathon I switched from pounding the cold pavements to a mat in a nice, warm room!
When and why did you decide to teach?
I decided I wanted to become a teacher about 3 years ago. I initially was looking to go and do the Bikram training in LA, but after a lot of research I came to the conclusion it wasn’t right for me. I talked to Michele and found out about her plans to switch her studios to Fierce Grace and waited for her first teacher training which I completed just over 2 years ago. It was an amazing month. I absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone considering training to become a teacher.
What is it about FG that you love?
I love the variety and how each of the classes challenge a different aspect of your practice whilst having continuity and repetition of certain core poses. Through practising a combination of all the classes, it means you can really see your practice develop.
I struggle with incredibly tight hips, so I regularly practise the Deep Core class to help open them. Also, my upper body and core strength has improved dramatically since the introduction of the Wild class!
Favourite/most challenging posture?
This is such a hard question! I find this changes constantly as no two classes ever feel the same. I used to find Camel incredibly challenging but right now I love it! I really love Standing Bow, most days, although it can be quite frustrating when my balance is off. I find any postures involving upper body strength the most challenging, although I’m working on it!
What is your course and what does it entail?
I’m just about to finish the first year of a 3 year Naturopathic Nutrition Diploma. Naturopathic nutrition is about using foods as medicine to help cure common health conditions and complaints. It’s about treating the cause of a condition rather than the symptoms which allopathic medicine tends to focus on. For example, instead of using a steroid cream to treat an eczema rash, find out what is causing the rash to develop in the first place and help to cure it nutritionally.
What have you learnt that complements your yoga practice?
Listen to your body. The more you do, the more tuned in you become in understanding what you need nutritionally, physically and mentally.
One of the main things I’ve learnt is that everyone is different. There is no one size fits all diet. A raw food diet might be perfect for one person, but it can cause terrible digestive issues for others! So again it’s really about listening to your body and finding out what works for you. The same is true for yoga, don’t adjust yourself to fit the yoga, fit the yoga to you, depending on your needs! We all come with entirely different bodies, anatomically, and entirely different physical histories and your yoga practice should reflect that.
Any top dietary tips to go alongside a hot yoga practice?
It’s not a food as such, but if you find you get stiff post yoga, the best thing I’ve discovered is a magnesium spray that is fantastic in aiding muscle recovery. It has helped me so much! It has so many other benefits but magnesium is also an electrolyte that is essential for proper hydration so its really important after a good sweat in the studio! So either in spray or supplement form, magnesium is my top tip.
What would you suggest for people lacking in energy?
Low levels of B vitamins can contribute to a lack of energy. Also, eating foods with a low glycaemic load will help. Foods with a high GL are digested quickly and therefore cause a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash, whereas low GL foods take longer to be broken down so help to maintain steady blood sugar levels.
High GL foods include things like white bread, potatoes, white rice and sugar. Low GL foods are things like brown rice, pulses and porridge oats.
People who keep getting colds?
In order to support the immune system, the key nutrients are iron, zinc, vitamins A, C and E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Also, here in the UK in the winter, we generally have low levels of vitamin D which can lead to reoccurrence of colds so a supplement could help.
People who struggle with too much sugar?
I watched an amazing documentary on Netflix called “That Sugar Film” which really helped me understand not only the effect too much sugar has on the body, but also how much sugar there is hidden in so many foods, even so-called ‘healthy’ foods. I would highly recommend it. Also, there is a great cookbook called “I Quit Sugar” which is a step-by-step guide to cutting it out.