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  • Writer's pictureWomen Connect

"all bodies are yoga bodies and your yoga is yoga, however it looks"

Define Yoga (noun)

"a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation"

Yoga's origins can be traced to Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts called the Rig Veda. The Vedas are a set of four ancient sacred texts written in Sanskrit. Yoga is amongst the six schools of philosophy in Hinduism, and is also a major part of Buddhism and its meditation practices. You can read more about the history of Yoga here.


This week we had a chat with Hannah Chapman, an Artist Booker at the exciting new app, OOOOO, and is also a yoga & meditation teacher.

When did you become interested in Yoga? I’ve always been interested in forms of spirituality and holistic healing but I found and fell in love with yoga about 8 years ago whilst juggling demanding jobs in the music industry, I started my career as a tour and production manager before moving into the promoter and agency world. Being able to practice yoga and meditation alongside these roles helped keep me grounded and gave me moments of rest and calm amongst the chaos as well as allowing me to connect with myself on a deeper level.

You've mentioned you juggled demanding jobs in the music industry, would you recommend yoga to those struggling with a demanding job? Definitely, I highly recommend all forms of movement to everybody, especially if you have a extremely stressful job. Movement can be medicine and therapy, you just need to find what you enjoy, whether that’s walking, HIIT, swimming, tennis or yoga. There are eight limbs of yoga meaning there are other elements than just the poses that make up the yoga practice, including breath work, meditation and the Yamas & Niyamas, so I think using these tools are highly beneficial for those struggling in a demanding job.

Why Yoga? I became a yoga & meditation teacher last year to expand my knowledge and practice, I wanted to learn how to connect with my body and mind on a deeper level and that is something I now want to share with others. After the year we have all had, it’s been highlighted more than ever how important taking care of ourselves and mental health is. Becoming a teacher I learnt that yoga is so much more than the asanas (poses) and it isn’t about the aesthetic of a pose or how flexible you are, it is about the experience of connecting mind, body, soul and teaching us to be here in the present. With that in mind I want to make sure I offer a practice that is inclusive of all people especially those who are put off trying yoga because they associate it with the yoga aesthetic portrayed on social media or believe that because they aren’t ‘flexible’ or can’t do certain poses that they can’t ‘do' yoga. How has it been to start your own business? And during a pandemic? It’s not been easy, starting anything from scratch is always hard work and when the pandemic hit all fitness classes had to move online so you aren’t meeting new clients in gyms and studios as you usually would. The online space is inundated with fitness instructors many of which have been/are offering free or low cost classes which you have to compete with. However with that being said I believe there’s room for everyone to succeed and I’ve had amazing support from friends, family and colleagues and have been able to organically build my client base through word of mouth. I’m excited to see what the year ahead holds. Do you have any advice to offer to anyone who was looking to set up their own business? Just do it, start and learn along the way, you’ll make mistakes but that’s how you evolve and grow. It took me ages to start because I wanted everything to be perfect but then I heard someone talking about perfectionism say ‘you are not a perfectionist, you are insecure’ and that was the push I needed to just get going. Change is scary, putting yourself out there is scary but if you sit around waiting for the perfect moment you will never do anything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, keep learning and find other people who are trying to achieve a similar goal to you, it’s great to have support and accountability from a peer taking a similar journey to you.

What would you say to someone who has been wanting to get into Yoga but has never had the courage to start? Just start, take it slow and go at your own pace, yoga is a life long practice so there’s no need to rush. There are so many free resources on YouTube and the internet for beginners yoga, and there are a plethora of teachers offering beginners classes so do some research to see what type of yoga or teacher resonates with you. If you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious with the thought of going into a studio then now is the perfect time to give it a go from home and build up your practice before the studios open up again. As well as Yoga and meditation, what other things have you found can help to balance a healthy work/life relationship? Exercise in whatever form, I love walking, running, CrossFit, yoga. Making time for myself is key and not spreading myself too thin trying to please everyone, learning to say no and setting boundaries with work, friends and family, although it can be difficult but you are only one person you cannot do it all. Resting! I ignored the importance of rest for many years, turns out rest it’s actually really necessary, so listen to your body you don't have to be going 100mph being everywhere for everyone all the time, it’s just not sustainable. Having another interest other than work and making time for it, it could be anything just find whatever lights you up and spend a bit of time each week doing it. What's your fave stretch/pose to throw into your routines? I have really tight hips so I love to do Kapotasana (pigeon) pose to open the hips up. You've mentioned how yoga is portrayed on social media, why do you think there is such a controversy surrounding it? Is Yoga really for one kind of person?

No yoga isn’t only for one person, it’s said that if you can breathe you can do yoga. However as yoga has been Westernized and the quest for the perfect soc

I’ve found this has created some myths as to why some people believe they can’t ‘do yoga’ because they don’t look like the people in the pictures they see on Instagram or they believe they aren’t flexible so wont be able to do the poses pictured or maybe they don’t really understand what yoga actually is.

But all bodies are yoga bodies and your yoga is yoga however it looks.

You can keep up with Flow to Glow Yoga here. Instagram. Website. Facebook.

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