Say hello to our new columnist Leanne, she will be sharing her journey to becoming a yoga teacher with us…

My name’s Leanne. I work in PR, spend most of my weekday evenings at a yoga studio and I’m about to start a ten-month Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course with CamYoga. I thought I’d share my experience with you on thirteen:fourteen. 

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 I attended my first yoga class back in 2012 and, for several years after, mostly dabbled with yoga on my own and through YouTube tutorials (I was a cash-strapped student!) I got more into it when I started a job in the publishing industry. Prior to my, then new, office job I’d only ever worked in retail where I was on my feet all day, and being quite seditary was a bit of a shock to the system. To counteract this, I started going to the gym and practicing yoga more regularly. But it was February last year when I first discovered my real passion for yoga. I’d quit my city job to work closer to home (gaining 20+ hours a week thanks to my now non-existent commute) and enrolled at the local yoga studio where I attended classes several times a week. It wasn’t long before I experienced the mental and physical benefits of a regular practice; I felt happier, more grounded and centred, physcially stronger... Yoga just felt so good, and put me in such a calm frame of mind, that I got hooked and I’ve practiced almost everyday since. 

 I know it’s cliché, but yoga has honestly changed my life. I have long been an ‘over-thinker’ and yoga helps calm my busy brain and bring my mind and body into alignment. In my late teens and early twenties, my tendancy to over-think meant I was often living in my head and rarely, if ever, present in my body. Simultaneously, and like a lot of young women, I struggled with body image and saw my body as something to battle against, rather than accept and fully inhabit. I was essentially ignoring my physical self and, consequently, often made poor decisions, rarely feeling, let alone following, my intuition.

At the time, I didn’t have the self-awareness to realise what was happening and take action. I was, also, often living life on ‘autopilot’, trying to keep up at work, with my friends, my partner, my family, considering my career, my future, whatever, but just doing what I felt I had to and not making conscious choices. Now I know the power in slowing down, tuning into myself and paying close attention to my body, my thoughts and really feeling things, physically and emotionally. When I stop living on autopilot, and become fully present, it’s like coming home, it’s the most real thing I know. Yoga has given me so much clarity, a greater, and deeper, understanding of myself,and a better way of navigating the world – all of which I am crazy grateful for.

 A strong part of my desire to teach is this conviction that yoga can transform lives (because it has for me and so many others) and I want to ‘do good’ in the world. I’m also a believer in doing what feels right to you at the time. Not having these big, specific, future plans, but following your curiosity and your intuition and going where that pulls you… and, right now, I am very much being pulled by yoga. When I decided to take the plunge and book the course, I figured that, at the very least, I would get a greater understanding of something I love, and so what did I have to lose? I realise I’m privileged to be able to do that and do feel very lucky.

 For the past few months I’ve been completing an online anatomy course, but am yet to have any face-to-face lessons, which start in two weeks time.

How am I feeling about it? Firstly, damn grateful, followed by a big, heady mix of nerves, excitement, anticipation and, a little bit, of fear. It’s just ‘first day nerves’ and I know I will be fine once I get there.

Wish me luck and I’ll catch up with you in the next issue!