INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA Q&A

For International Day of Yoga 2019, we wanted to celebrate two of our favourite yoga teachers. Westlab ambassador Jodi Hollie is a yoga teacher specialising in Sivananda Yoga who also runs rejuvenating retreats at Chez Bear Lodge in the French Alps; and Josephine Warren incredibly juggles her job in the Westlab marketing team with yoga classes in Sussex AND retreats in the beautiful southern Peloponnese in Greece. We asked both of them a few questions to find out more about their yoga practices and beliefs.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

Josephine: I was in my mid-twenties and I was a professional actor, singer and dancer. The industry had taken its toll. It can be very tough and I wasn’t lucky enough to be given much support or teaching about mental health in the industry (which many drama schools now offer). My friend mentioned yoga to me - I had practised on and off in local village halls, but not seriously. One day I borrowed a friend’s mat, found a class on Yogaglo (www.glo.com), and immediately felt better - I felt lighter and the darkness I had been in started to slowly shift as I practised each morning. After completing a contract abroad as a singer, I had saved enough money to go to India and train in Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga in Rishikesh. As much as it sounds like a cliché, it changed my life. Now I am inspired to help others heal, and I have a strong interest in mental health, probably because that’s what first drove me to the practice. If I can make other people lives a little easier, less stressful and lighter then I feel I have succeeded in some small way to help.

Jodi: This is so hard because my teaching yoga came out of nowhere! I loved to practice yoga everyday because it was a getaway for me. I was travelling at the time (in Australia), and decided to do my training overseas too (in The Bahamas), so it ticked two boxes for me at once.

Where is your favourite place to practise yoga?

Josephine: Ideally it would be out in the open (on solid level ground)! The light and air just helps me to connect to my breath and helps support that sense of freedom. Otherwise, I love to practice at Space Studios in Brighton: they offer amazing classes and the studio is in a converted church so when you balance you gaze up at beautiful stain glass windows (www.spaceyogastudio.uk)

Jodi: On the beach platform at the Sivananda Ashram in The Bahamas (very pacific - it's where I trained and it's the most beautiful view in the world - I actually saw a turtle one afternoon while practising!).

Do you have a go-to practice?

Jodi: I usually start on my back with my knees into my chest... I breathe here. I do some sun salutations, hip openers, and balancing on my hands is my new thing currently.

Josephine: It’s all about getting the balance right. I lead quite a stressful life, starting a brand new business in Lancing and juggling other jobs and roles can leave me feeling really depleted. I love a Vinyasa class, but a slower pace suits by breath and body. According to Ayurveda (Aa ancient India medicine practice) I have a predominantly Pitta type so cooling and relaxing suit me best, and a calm Hatha or stretch Yin class always feels amazing afterwards! Meditation is also so healing, but I don’t find it easy and some days it can feel like a battle with my busy brain darting all over the place, but it helps so much. Lead meditations can help me a lot: having someone else’s voice to guide me and support me can be incredibly valuable when stress is taking its toll.

What is one important life lesson you try to share as a yoga teacher?

Jodi: Happiness - I always tell my students to smile while in balances.

Josephine: To breathe, to turn inward, be present and really get to know yourself. Learn your thought patterns and try to reduce the negative language you use when talking to yourself. In no way have I mastered this - I’m still on my journey - but learning about mindfulness and exploring the space within has been a gift. When we start to tune into the present moment, the future and past can start to fall away and ultimately this helps so much with wellbeing… I feel I could write a lot here, but I’ll stop there to reduce the rambling! :)

And finally, what are your favourite Westlab salts?

Josephine: Toughest question yet! I use the Magnesium Flakes to support my body prior to exercise, so on a Sunday night I’ll have a bath before a busy week of teaching. I use the Epsom Salts to recover after a more challenging class. The Epsom Spray I have with me at all times to spray onto any aches or pains. Lastly, the Alchemy range is just wonderful, all the benefits of the salts with added scent - I might have a mid week bath with these salts as a pick me up.

Jodi: The Himalayan Shower Wash and the Mindful Salts from the Alchemy range: they smell sooo lovely.

For more information about yoga classes and retreats visit www.jodihollie.com and www.josephinewarrenyoga.com