April Yogi of the month : Kirsty
1. When and where did you first start practising yoga?
I started when I was working on a sailing boat. We were often away from land for days at a time, or were moored in a harbour without access to space and equipment. I went a little stir crazy not having much exercise, so looked up some stretches online. I started very slow because without having someone to show me,it was hard to progress, but I loved getting up in the morning and doing some poses on the deck as the sun was rising.
2. Why were you interested in the first place?
I was interested the first place just as a way to do exercise in a confined location. I certainly didn’t ever think I would still be doing yoga now.
3. What is it that got you hooked?
I am not sure I can pin point one thing, because it has changed so much over time. Initially I just liked the exercise, then I realised that my knee, which had been hurting for a long time from running, was getting better. Now, I appreciate the yoga for the calmness it gives me while I am doing a PhD – I can leave work totally fed up and then leave yoga an hour and a half later feeling like a new person!
4. What do you love about Live and Breathe yoga?
The friendliness and the care that is taken. I had always been a bit hesitant about yoga classes. I definitely had two preconceived (very incorrect) notions about yoga. 1) That yoga is a bit airy fairy and 2) People who do yoga think they are a bit cool. I very quickly found out that both of these ideas were wrong: I have always felt welcomed and I have learnt that effort is definitely required in Ashtanga! When I am wobbling all over the place trying to balance, I have never felt silly or uncomfortable. You can really feel that everyone is just concentrating on their own efforts and Allison and Harry are there to help you whatever your level. I am constantly amazed that they seem to keep track of all the little things that each individual person is working on.
5. What benefits have you felt since practising yoga?
There are some obvious things, like my knee doesn’t hurt when I run anymore. But the benefits have been made very clear to me in February/March this year, when I have had to take a break because of a leg injury. My legs and back were so stiff without the regular stretching, and the grumpiness definitely kicked in! If I hadn’t known before how great yoga made me feel, I certainly knew by the end of that.
6. How often do you practice in a week?
It varies with my schedule. I try and make two classes a week but I look forward to the week long intensives the most where I can go to class every day before work.
7. What’s your favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga?
Having a sequence to follow means that I can see how I am progressing. I know what things I need to work on. And the hope that one day I might be able to do a handstand – something I thought would never happen in school gym classes!
8. What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying yoga?
Give it a go! That is all I can say.