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January Student of the Month

Gill Smith has been studying ISHTA yoga with me for several years and is embarking on the ISHTA 200 hr. training in London starting in September 2012. She works in finance.

How has yoga changed you?

It has softened me. I didn’t realise how stiff I was until I started to practise regularly. Physically loosening up has allowed me to let go of a lot of tension I was unaware of carrying. This has been one of the best things about yoga. And I look more relaxed, too. Ultimately, I’ve made better decisions from being calmer and this in turn has made me happier.

How do you hope it will change you in the future?

When you are (relatively) calmer and happier about life, you see things differently. The single biggest impact of yoga has been in getting me out of the rut I was in, and that’s because it’s made me relax. If yoga continues to do this for me, then I’ll be very happy with it.

Has doing yoga given you any important insights about yourself?

Yes, it’s allowed me to get to know myself better. Until I started to practise yoga, I did very little that was remotely creative or unusual. Being someone who naturally loves routine and hates change, I had overlooked how important and enjoyable it is to do something that allows you to step outside of the mundane.

If you had started yoga at seventeen, would it have changed your life?

Most definitely, but I wonder if it would have been quite as important to me as it is now or made the kind of impact it has. However, I wish I was less stiff than I am. So while at seventeen yoga might have been wasted on me, if I’d started at twenty-seven I don’t think I would creak as much as I do.

If you could be a yoga pose, which one would you be?

Sun salutation.

Why?

I aspire to be graceful and to move beautifully (I’m not and I don’t), which is how a sun salutation appears to me. It’s my favourite pose to practise and one of the hardest to get right. And all done for the sun, which we don’t have enough of.

What is your favourite thing to do after a satisfying session of yoga?

Eat. I like to practise in the morning before breakfast and then have a big breakfast and coffee immediately afterwards.

Do you have a favourite yoga quote or saying you would share with us?

“When it comes to the whole subject of loving others, you must know this: how you handle your own heart is how you will handle theirs.” I don’t know who said this, but I like it.

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