A Journey Into Yoga
My journey to becoming a yoga teacher was a long one. I initially dipped my toes into the world of yoga in South Africa during my teens. However with work and moving to the UK when I was 20, I hadn’t managed to maintain a practice. Life, love, travel, starting a business – it all got in the way and yoga became a happy memory somewhere in the back of my mind. That is, until the beginning of 2015.
I had been having a rough time for a few months when one of my friends invited me to a yoga class. The studio she went to had a special offer for your first month’s membership too. Self-care hadn’t been that high on my list of priorities and I felt rather self conscious. However, I wanted to get out of the house and it seemed like a nice thing to do on a Sunday morning.
I still remember walking into my first class. I was inflexible. My muscles felt tight. I was overjoyed to have found a mat near the back of the class as I honestly believed that my efforts must have resembled a hippo attempting ballet (minus the tutu). But I had signed up for a month and had nothing better to do with my Sunday mornings so I stuck with it.
I later realised that most people have those feelings when they first walk into a yoga class. I can also tell you that I have never been more grateful for introductory offers in my life. I remember thinking, ‘well I may as well go back as I’ve paid for it’. I ended up going twice a week for a month, and that month changed my life. I became more in touch with myself. I felt both my balance and confidence grow. I was more aware of my body and I became quite in awe of what it could achieve in terms of strength and flexibility in such a small space of time.
Almost exactly a year after I first stepped into that yoga studio in London, I was stepping off a plane in Goa, India and stepping into a taxi bound for Himalaya Yoga Valley. After spending most of 2015 travelling and growing in my own personal yoga practice, I decided to travel to India in the beginning of 2016 to complete my 200 hour teacher training.
I decided to do my training through Himalaya Yoga Valley after a friend of mine completed hers there. She raved about the facilities and teachers, saying the experience was life changing. I’m a photographer and I adore travel. This, coupled with the fact that India is the home of yoga, made choosing to fly to Goa a no brainer.
When you see the adverts on TV stating ‘Incredible India’ they are not lying. From the gorgeous beaches that seem to stretch for miles, palm trees, free roaming cows that may at any time flop down and catch a tan next to you on the beach, to the delicious and complete sensory overload when eating. It was like nowhere I had ever visited before.
‘Life changing’ does not seem the right words to sum up my experience. I had decided on teaching as my yoga practice had completely changed my life. I was stronger, calmer, more in control and healthier than I had ever been. It had given me a truer sense of confidence and a deeper knowing of myself – all things I wanted to help others find in their own lives. And while I expected the course to be hard I had no idea the journey I was really taking.
Over the next month I changed my daily routine, my personal practice and my eating habits. I have never been so physically, mentally and emotionally tired. However I have never seen or accomplished so much growth and strength in such a short time. It was simultaneously one or the hardest, while also being one of the greatest, things I have ever done. Under the various teacher’s supervision, we delved into not only the physical practice but the philosophy too. I walked away with a greater understanding of what yoga actually means, what it sets out to accomplish and its true beauty. It also gave me a new outlook on life and a personal belief that all we really need to do is have faith in the journey.
I am so excited about being invited to write for Bloved. Over the next few months I will not only be sharing my passion for the physical practice of yoga and its’ benefits. I’ll also be giving you some of my tips and advice on mindfulness and how it leads to a less stressful life. As well as sharing more about how and why to use props and my favourite yoga wear brands – so you can seek your bliss in style!
Maxeen Kim Photography
- Photography: Maxeen Kim Photography