My love for yoga only began when I started practicing last year. I gave up smoking and drinking in 2016 for my health and with that, I also gave up having a vice. If I was feeling stressed or upset I didn’t have a cigarette or glass of wine to take the edge of things anymore, so my best friend Lauren recommended I try yoga. I remember going to my first class with her, I didn’t know how to do any of the poses or even know the names of them, so felt a bit like a fish out of water but at the same time I knew I wanted to go back 🙂
So I did..
I started off going just once a week, next thing I know I’ve cancelled my gym membership and joined The Life Centre in Notting Hill.
It has two studios with back to back yoga classes, pilates, meditation & more! I’m naturally an early bird so I would go every morning before work, it was such an uplifting way to start the day. It wasn’t long before I could see how much of a positive influence it had on my life, health and sobriety, and that’s when I decided to become a teacher, so that I could help others feel better too 🙂 I knew I could help others enhance their lives and achieve their goals, especially where I’ve been through it myself. I went from living a life of depression, anxiety, drinking and smoking to a life filled with peace, happiness, confidence and fitness. I went through some big lifestyle changes and it wasn’t easy, but it made me see that anything is possible if you really want it and put your mind to it. I also learnt to appreciate my dark times because inevitably, those struggles are what gave me my strength and understanding now. I hope by sharing my experiences and the knowledge I’ve learnt it will help make a positive difference to other people’s lives 🙂 and I believe one of the ways I can do this is through yoga. People know that yoga is a genuine passion of mine and I always say that a lot of my sobriety is due to my practice, along with meditation and Fight Klub (boxing workout to drum and bass)! I’m also a Fight Klub DnB Workout instructor by the way..
..again I saw how much of a positive influence it had on my life and I wanted to share that with others by teaching my own classes 🙂 Looking back at my life I’m definitely happier when I’m more active. It’s scientifically proven that exercising is great for your serotonin and dopamine levels (which relieves depression) and that it also releases endorphins which are your feel good hormones. Makes sense why you always feel better after a workout. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for yoga, meditation and Fight Klub, and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Fight Klub is the other end of the spectrum to yoga but it is such a good release for me, and along with meditation they all create my happy balance. And what I love about teaching two completely different exercises is all the different people I get to reach out to, my yoga friends who wouldn’t usually try Fight Klub will do, and my Fight Klub friends who wouldn’t usually try yoga will do. Now I’m a qualified yoga teacher I love how I can mix up my classes (depending on my participants). I’ve already taught a few fast paced yoga classes to drum and bass, it took quite a bit of practice, creativity and music research (thank you DJ Crabby!) but all the effort was worth it and my students love it just as much as I do 🙂
Now the person who actually planted the seed re DnB Yoga is my amazing Yogashala Ibiza teacher Jacqueline Purnell! One of my practical assessments was to create and perform a yoga sequence to music (on my own) which represented me. One of the students Kimi said she was going to do hers to trance music, and I thought omg could you imagine if I done mine to drum and bass, and then my teacher said yes you should! I thought no I couldn’t do that, how would that work?! But then I kept thinking about it and thinking about it. Went through lots of potential tunes, and when I chose what flowed well together that was it, I was ready to do my assessment to drum and bass (and I managed to incorporate a little Fight Klub DnB Workout in there too)! My teacher and the other students loved it bless them, which meant a lot as I put so much time and thought into it.
Ok so more about my journey to Yogashala Ibiza.
I originally wanted to do my yoga teacher training in Bali, and then I remembered how much I suffer from jet lag when I go to The Philippines (my mother and our family live there), which meant I would have to be in Bali at least a week beforehand to get used to the time difference before starting my course. I didn’t have that kind of time as the course was already 3 weeks long. By the way I had my heart set on doing an intensive course abroad because I can be very all or nothing and I wanted to get the course done all in one go, and I chose to study abroad because I knew there would be less distractions and I would feel a lot more focused. So after realising the whole jet lag scenario I researched into YTT in Europe, came across Yogashala Ibiza and it was love at 1st sight. Especially where Ibiza has such a special place in my heart, I have the best memories there and it’s like I’ve come full circle. From party girl to teetotal yoga girl (that still loves to party). It’s funny when I think about it because if you told me a few years ago that I’d be coming to Ibiza to be a yoga teacher I wouldn’t have believed you for a second. It really has taught me to keep an open mind, there are so many new things people approach me with to try and before I would think no thanks I wouldn’t ever try that, whereas now my mindset is – I won’t try that right now but maybe one day. So anyway I applied online:
YSI (Yogashala Ibiza) sent me over some forms to fill out, I paid the deposit, then I was all booked in yay! They also sent me a list of things to bring, books to buy and a to do list which was really helpful as I haven’t ever been on a course like this before so I didn’t have a clue what to expect, plus I love to prep! We had to complete a few assignments before arrival along with an online yoga anatomy course by David Keil. Fortunately, I had recently studied anatomy and physiology for my fitness instructor course (to become a Fight Klub instructor) so a lot of it was familiar to me. It was still quite overwhelming though so I reached out to Jacqueline at YSI and she was such a sweetheart bless her, she reassured me that I was on track and still had time to study and complete my assignments etc. I explained to her that I’m much more of a visual learner and she completely understood and told me about the online videos that are provided with the David Keil course. These were so helpful and made everything a lot easier to learn. It also made me more excited to start the course and meet Jacqueline as she was already showing so much support and compassion. So I was booked on the September 1st-20th course. I paid for shared accommodation but the other student I was supposed to be sharing with could no longer attend the course, so I ended up with a lovely studio apartment to myself.
I was very grateful to have the place to myself because the course was so intense, that bit of me time and study time in your apartment is so so precious. I would recommend paying the extra to have your own space, it’s 3 weeks in the same place with the same people studying and practicing day in day out. It is a lot! 1st week I loved it, 2nd week I didn’t think I was going to make it, I thought about giving up and continuing my studies back in the UK, I even thought about having a drink! Then the 3rd week was much better, probably because I was almost there and could see the light at the end of the tunnel haha.. So with all of these emotions and studies and homework, you have to allocate some time to yourself. Not just for your own wellbeing but to actually complete your homework in peace and remain focused. I guess you could do it sharing an apartment, one in the living room and one in the bedroom, as long as you make time to have your own space each day as it so beneficial for you and your studies. I remember we were given one day to revise and prepare for exams etc. and I ended up by the pool for a couple of hours listening to music, blanking my mind from any yoga. I just needed that break, and once I had that time out I became refocused and ready to study again. I really thought I prepped for how intense this YTT was going to be and I know I’m quite head strong and when I’ve got my heart set on something I will achieve it, but it’s one thing prepping and another thing actually being out there. I think the main thing that made it intense was that there were no days off, all day every day you were living and breathing everything yoga. The 2nd week I remember thinking my brain cannot take in any more knowledge. In hindsight I would have done a lot more reading and studying before the course, and maybe even attended some workshops so I wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed. It’s funny because I’ve been through some heartaches and hardships since becoming teetotal and didn’t crave a drink, but sometimes when I’m feeling like I’ve got too much on that’s when I think “omg I’m going to need a glass of wine to get through this”. Which is exactly how I felt at one point during the course.
I didn’t entertain it though and kept strong but it did make me think if I had studied/prepared more beforehand I would have felt a lot less overwhelmed and actually enjoy the experience more. Looking through my pics (I’ve included some at the bottom of this post) turns out I went off for a few breaks and mocktails haha! But I’m a big believer in listening to your body and I guess that’s what I needed at the time, the main thing is I still managed to rest and study. Looking back I wouldn’t change my experience as it taught me so much re prep for my future studies. I loved the course and I’m so grateful for it, it just had it’s challenging moments which could have been prevented if I studied that bit more beforehand.
So a typical YTT day would start in the garden of joy, cleaning, laying out the mats etc. and then would we sit for meditation. After meditation we would begin our morning practice, followed by brunch.
Then onto our studies, followed by lunch.
This was the highlight of my day haha 🙂
Then more studies, teaching practice, and then back home for more studies, revision and practice.
Also I just want to mention quickly that I gave up caffeine last year..
..and I would notice in the afternoons I would start to feel really sleepy. Probably because of the heat/practice/studying, and where I’ve been so good without caffeine I didn’t want to give in but at the same time if my tiredness was affecting my teacher training, and all it took was a cup of tea to perk me up, I would have a cup of tea 🙂 PG tips, no milk, a little squirt of rice syrup for sweetness, and that kept me bright eyed and bushy tailed for the afternoon/evening. I told myself that this was a one off for my training and it was, I stuck to my word and I’m really proud of myself 🙂 I know it only seems like something little but after having caffeine for years, and after how awful I felt when I 1st gave it up, for me to start drinking it again was a big thing because I was scared that I was going to start relying on it like how I used to, and then my sleep would suffer etc. but I guess where I made a conscious decision to drink it only for my teacher training and reminded myself of how it used to affect my sleep, it kept me aware of my actions and as soon as I finished my training I didn’t need it anymore. I guess I wanted to share that with you because it made me realise that even though I’m quite strict on myself, if something is going to benefit my training I will consider it. I was just cautious about how much I drank and reminded myself that it was only temporary. I have boundaries though, I wouldn’t have the same mindset if it came to alcohol haha!
So after lots of tea, studies and practice came our graduation day yay!
It was one of the happiest days of my life 🙂 All of my hard work and commitment paid off and to see my name on that certificate was the best feeling ever. I didn’t know what to expect on this course and I know I’m not your traditional yogi, but I really did feel like myself and at home here which was nice, especially as the Del Boy of the group haha.. So Jacqueline thank you for being you, for making me feel so welcome, for all of your teachings, your compassion, patience and support, oh and your banter was everything! I love how everyone started talking like me after the 1st few days “all that malarkey – have a mooch – are you mugging me off” haha! 🙂
Before I finish off I want to do a quick shout out to all the amazing people I met during the course..
Kimi “proper 80s!”
..in your own ways big or small you made such a positive influence during my time on the course and I am so grateful to have met you all, hopefully I’ll see you all again soon 🙂
So after graduation I spent a few extra days in Ibiza to just relax and wind down. It was so nice to walk on the beach, chill by the pool and think about nothing. My brain was frazzled by the end of it. I remember speaking to my best friend Jaded the day after my graduation asking her when her baby shower was, and I was the one planning it haha! I really do recommend taking some time out after completing the course, it’s such a nice transition before coming back home to reality. Plus you get to explore more of Ibiza 🙂
Now when I did come back home to reality I remember calling my Fight Klub trainer/mentor Patrick (https://www.instagram.com/urbanpatfk/) to thank him for everything! Whether he realised it or not he really helped me during my YTT. All of his encouragement and advice on becoming a fitness instructor made a huge impact with my ability to teach yoga. Having him always pushing me out of my comfort zone and motivating me to continuously better myself, along with my experience teaching Fight Klub Drum & Bass Workouts was so beneficial for this course, even though it’s a completely different exercise, you’re still teaching and instructing. I remember I was the 1st person out of the course to be asked to teach a full 90min class by myself. When Jacqueline asked me I replied “Alright, I’m going to end up doing it anyway might as well do it now” – and I know that response stemmed from all the confidence Patrick instilled in me. Don’t get me wrong it’s taken me years to build up my own self-esteem and confidence (after suffering from depression and anxiety) but it definitely helps when you have a mentor who believes in you and guides you so thank you Patrick, you are the best! 🙂
While we’re on the subject of confidence, I really believe the more confidence you have the better. I’ve met personal trainers etc. that are great at what they do but ask me for tips on how to be more confident. A lot of it does come from practice and experience, but what I feel is most important is your confidence from within. Teaching is a form of public speaking, and there have been many surveys which state the one thing we fear more than death is public speaking! If you feel like this is something you’re struggling with it might be worth reading some books on the subject to help you overcome any doubts and fears, or even attend a confidence workshop, or both! I had counselling when I was depressed and anxious, I read books, I watched motivational videos on YouTube, all of these things along with time (time is the best healer and all that) really helped boost my confidence and got me to a mindset now where I think “Just go for it, been through worse so what’s the worst that could happen now?”. I always remind myself of this if I ever have any doubts pop into my mind. I mean I still get nervous, I’m only human. I just have the tools now to push through the nerves rather than give up, and trust me once you push through, you naturally just keep on going and the nerves eventually go away 🙂
Also a good memory comes in handy with YTT because you need to learn sequences. Try self-practice at home with your favourite YouTube video, keep practicing and see how much you learn off by heart. Ashtanga practice/classes are really good for this. Also attending classes regularly is helpful because you can just absorb everything your teacher is saying and make mental notes, that really prepped and inspired me personally. Another thing you can do to prep is to start your studies asap. As soon as you sign up to the course and they send you the book list etc., start studying! Read, watch videos and attend workshops for all things yoga, anatomy, physiology, Ayurveda and Sanskrit. And when I say study I just mean so that when the time comes for you to begin your YTT you will already be familiar with everything and it won’t be so daunting. Unlike me who had never heard of Ayurveda before haha! I was like, who what where why?! That’s all I mean by studying asap.
Last but not least, write down your why. I didn’t because I’ve only just thought of it now haha, but where I did have my moments of wanting to give up I think it’s a good idea to write down your why so you have something to read if you ever have that moment yourself. Why did you apply for this course? Why do you want to become a yoga teacher? I think it’s a nice gentle reminder, especially reading it in your own writing, makes it more real and personal to you.
Intensive courses are hard, but the great thing about it is you learn so much all day every day you naturally learn things off by heart. I taught my 1st class back in the UK a week after I qualified, completely off the cuff, no lesson plan nothing. Basically I was at a yoga class and the teacher didn’t show up, so I offered to take the class. The students had no idea it was my 1st class since qualifying because it went so smoothly, and that’s because of how intense the YTT was. I didn’t realise it at the time but the sequences I taught day in and day out during the course must have stuck in my brain, even though my brain felt frazzled by the end of it, all those sequences are embedded in there somewhere haha!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog 🙂
If you have any questions re the course please feel free to contact me and Jacqueline:
And here’s some more pics from my time during the course..
Cotton Club (my 1st day in Ibiza before I arrived at YSI)
Yogashala Ibiza – The gorgeous pool that you won’t actually get to go in because you won’t have time haha, but it’s a lovely view during your practice 🙂
Me teaching a mini DnB Workout class in the Garden of Joy 🙂