So i thought a good place to start with my blog sharing a bit more about my journey to where I am and who I am today.... and unfortunately this entails me searching back through the very first album I ever added to Facebook over 8 years ago- I think there are some worse ones before the days of Facebook hiding somewhere but these will do.
There I stood 19years old... living in the UK (Manchester) working a desk job as a Travel Agent, partying at least 2 nights a week... barely able to afford my bus ticket to work at the end of the month and eating garbage most of the time. Growing up I was always a larger girl... I am 175cms tall and had always been sporty and a little heavier than average, always being told if I lost a few kilos I'd be stunning. Then I moved to the UK from Sydney at age 18 to explore and venture out on my own. Very quickly I realised it was going to be hard to stay fit or active there as it was so cold & raining outside that going for a walk or run was not pleasant... and I couldn't afford a gym membership or good healthy food- let alone know how to cook healthy balanced meals for myself.... and add all the drinking and partying.
I stacked on the weight... I went from a healthy size 12 apron 73kgs to a huge size 14/16 weighing at just over 85kgs at my heaviest. I remember my changing moment. It was my 19th Birthday and I was wearing a cute mini dress from TopShop that I'd spent a huge chunk of my monthly wages on- I looked down and I had cellulite on my KNEES! My KNEES! I was horrified, probably cried and hated how I'd let myself go in under a year. So I changed jobs which allowed me to get a Gym membership and started to eat better and made my self love a priority. I was going to the gym everyday doing cardio and spin classes and nothing was changing quickly... but I stuck at it and after 4 months my metabolism caught up and I started to loose weight. I remember seeing 77kg which was 11stone (i think) and being ecstatic.
I then left for a 10month trip through Europe and then America & Canada to visit friends explore. It was on that trip in LA at a Santa Monica Yoga studio (donation based because I was on a backpackers budget) I attended my very first Yoga class... 150 people practicing Ashtanga Yoga all breathing and sweating and moving together. I was so lost, I was self conscious, I had no ideal what I signed up (in) for, and I struggled. I loved it. I was Sold on Yoga. I had a day break to let my out of shape body recover and then went back myself alone the next day. I continued to find different Yoga schools on my trip and practiced when/where I could until I returned to the UK and took up Ashtanga Yoga at the Local Gym 3 times a week and then at the Buddist Centre- back then there was only 2 Yoga spaces in Manchester so it was still unusual to do Yoga. My friends didn't like me practicing all the time and missing out on Pub Feeds and drinks to do Yoga, and definitely didn't want to come with me. But I was addicted and loved seeing my practice Evolving and how my body was changing, getting stronger, leaner and more confident in my own skin as well as in my own power.
The rest of the weight slowly melted away when I wasn't making the weight the focus, I was just enjoying my body, nurturing it with movement, healthy homemade food- I had become quite the inventive and experimental cook and loved cooking for my flatmates every night- and really learning how to balance all those elements in my life. By the time I returned to Sydney at 21yrs old I was a healthy 65kg and ready to start building a life for myself here.
That was the start of my journey of self discovery. I am so grateful for the experiences that I've had in that body to find my true self and my ideal healthy size/weight/lifestyle. My weight now fluctuates between 59kg (when I'm unwell or overworked) to a healthy 63kg when I'm eating everything I fancy (within the Vegetarian, Gluten Free, healthy baked goods or treats group).
Yoga to me isn't about weight-loss or dieting as that hasn't been my experience at all... It's about eating fresh unprocessed foods while living an active lifestyle, and balanced work/play/enjoyment/mindful social life. It's about finding what keeps us healthy and mobile and pain free in a way that supports our minds, spirits and bodies.
Find what makes you happy and healthy and do that, as much and as often as you can.