Fitness: My Yoga Journey by Helen Pomeroy
My first experience of yoga was a book on Hatha Yoga that my mum gave me when I was 16. I was intrigued and soon started trying out the poses in the book.
I quickly realised there was far more to yoga than just getting into a pose. You have to balance, move with control, focus your mind, and remember to breathe. This was a challenge for me as an impatient teenager. However, I persevered and it has been part of my life ever since.
There were no yoga classes in the part of rural Devon where I grew up, so I quickly became used to practising at home. Looking back, I can see how it helped give me a sense of calm and achievement through my teenage years.
I had no expectations of yoga when I started. It was just something that I enjoyed and which made me feel good. More than 30 years later I can attest that it has provided me with multiple benefits at every stage of my life. Some of these were obvious and some more subtle, but yoga has always been there to help with the changes and challenges life throws at us all.
When I was working as an accountant, it helped me to de-stress after work and to relieve the aches and pains that you develop when sitting at a desk for long hours. Throughout pregnancy, yoga helped to keep me relaxed and healthy. It supported me as a new mum, even if on some days all I had time for was a restorative pose and to check in with my breathing. On one occasion I injured my knee skiing, so I adapted my practice to include the strengthening exercises I needed to accelerate my recovery.
My own practice varies according to my needs. Sometimes a strong dynamic practice is perfect for me but at other times a gentle session including pranayama (breathing) and meditation serves me better. Yoga is very adaptable and can fit in with your needs. A short daily session brings significant mental and physical benefits, and attending a regular class will give you the motivation and skills to practise at home if that is something you would like to try.
Yoga helps with everything I do. I believe that it is open and accessible to all and that we can adapt our practice for every stage of our lives. To me it is about mental and physical self-awareness. Yoga helps to bring us back to ourselves and to reconnect with what is happening in our bodies and our minds. It brings our attention inwards and helps to give us a greater sense of self.
Becoming a yoga teacher was a very natural extension of my yoga journey. I get a huge amount of fulfilment from being able to share the benefits, whether teaching individuals or groups. When teaching private lessons I have the opportunity to tailor a practice to my client’s needs, but equally I love the atmosphere and energy in a group lesson.
We recently moved to Cambridge where I have already found a thriving network of exceptional teachers providing a wide range of yoga classes. I am looking forward to trying more of them myself as well as developing my teaching practice here.
Helen teaches from home in Cambridge and also at The Hills Road Sports and Tennis Centre. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit helenpomeroyyoga.com to find out more.
Photography by Helena g Anderson