“The Goal Of Yoga (No, it’s not the Handstand).
The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your head is not the goal.
The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates.
To make peace with who you are.
The goal is to love, well… You.
Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish.
Shift your focus and your heart will grow.”
– Rachel Brathen
The goal of yoga often gets lost in translation, especially in the world we live in where social media seems to play such instrumental parts in people’s lives. Many people are more concerned with simply capturing a snapshot of a pose to get the most likes, rather than fully immersing themselves in the authentic practice of yoga. The roots of yoga can so easily become misconstrued and so frequently we find ourselves becoming more obsessed with the result than the actual journeys we are on.
I have created Zenaya Yoga (to have aspiration and inspiration) in the hope of providing a platform for people to engage with this practice in an authentic and meaningful way. I hope to bring what I have already learnt and spread my love for this practice, whilst also continuing to expand my knowledge and learn from everyone I come into contact with.
I have a deep desire and love for leading a balanced and active life, which has stemmed, I believe, from the fact from a very young age I engaged and competed in a variety of sports; from gymnastics to football to cheerleading. For as long as I can remember, my life has always incorporated a weekly schedule of training sessions for whichever sport I was involved in at that point. So when I finished University last year I seriously struggled with my lack of structure and a regular sport to burn off my ever-growing stresses and pent-up energy.
I have always been totally drawn to any sport that allowed me to become stronger, whilst also improving my flexibility (something i’ve always rated pretty highly), so, naturally, yoga drew me in hugely. My initial involvement with yoga began when I was around 17; I just tagged along with my Mum to one of her classes round the corner from our house as the physical aspect of the practice appealed to me at a time when I was in a brief no-sport period in my first year of college, before finding cheerleading at university. I probably only went to about 4 yoga classes that whole year. I enjoyed it, but didn’t really channel the energy for the class and my interest waned.
Over the next 4 years, I went through phases of going to yoga classes and practicing in my own time, but nothing very consistent came from it, until my final year of university. At the time, I was juggling all the studying involved in your final year of university, Captaining our All-Girl Level 2 Cheer Team (which, whilst one of the biggest blessings also brought incredible amounts of stress), writing my dissertation and dealing with a variety of personal issues, my stress levels were ridiculous. I began going to regular yoga classes and quickly started feeling the benefits of them. Although my initial engagement was purely physical, it rapidly came to incorporate all sides of the practice, particularly the mindfulness/ meditative aspect which, for someone like me who has always been a serial-overthinker, worrier and emotionally-driven person, I found fundamentally instrumental in improving my emotional well-being, as well as the physical benefits – both of which have continued to invigorate and motivate me to dedicate time and energy into this practice.
The past year has seen my yoga practice evolve and transform unrecognisably, which, in turn, had the same effect on my thought patterns, behaviours, habits and mindset. Within this journey, I uncovered a passion, and ultimately a path, that I never imagined myself travelling down and ultimately has come to define huge parts of my life. My personal practice is well-rounded and continuously changing, although continuing to have a strong focus on inversions and arm balances. I have been lucky enough to train closely with a number of very knowledgeable and influential teachers whilst I was living in Barcelona, and in particular have spent significant time working with experienced and amazing inversion practitioners who have allowed me to deepen my practice, and my understanding of my body, my mind and, ultimately, myself.
I hope to share my love of this ancient practice, and particularly inversions, as much as possible and spread my ever-growing knowledge and passion to as many people as possible. I truly believe in the healing power of yoga and hope to share my experience whilst also guiding and encouraging people on their own journeys in whatever form that manifests for them. I hope to also continue to grow and learn and improve myself at every step I take along this path, and enjoy this process of transformation that has come to define my life.