Wellbeing: How yoga changed my life

She may have only stumbled upon yoga by chance, but almost two decades later, it has completely transformed Daisy Worzencraft’s life. The 41-year-old, aka @cambridgeyogagirl, tells Velvet why this age-old practice is so crucial to health and wellbeing

What got you into yoga and when?

I first stumbled into a yoga class around 18 years ago as 'company' for a friend who wanted to see what yoga was like. I left feeling like something had switched on inside me, and I have had yoga in my life ever since.

What types of yoga do you specialise in - and how do they differ?

Although I practised Iyengar yoga for the majority of the past 18 years, only branching out to other styles of yoga in the past few years, I am actually qualified to teach Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. I have completed a teacher intensive course in Forrest yoga, too, but I am still yet to do their full, comprehensive training.

Iyengar yoga is very traditional, with focus on alignment of the body and subsequently the mind. Hatha yoga I find similar to Iyengar in the sense that it takes individual asanas (poses) and it is slow and focused.

Vinyasa yoga was new to me! It is faster paced, and the asanas are linked, or 'transitioned' in to each other - like a flow. Forrest yoga, however, was very hands-on, and challenging due to the holding of asanas for longer periods of time, and it is usually done in quite a warm room.

Can you tell us a bit about Forrest Yoga as that sounds fascinating?

Forrest Yoga is a style of yoga created by Ana T. Forrest in 1982. I only became aware of it two years ago. And, no, it's not in an actual forest - unless you want it to be! It's very hand-on, with teachers adjusting or supporting as you learn to let go. It is a strong practise, holding poses for longer periods of time, and a focus of releasing trauma from the body. It is often done in a warm room with a huge focus on the core, which is essential for the function of everything else, and very deep (and sometimes noisy) breathing.

What health benefits have you experienced since starting yoga?

The benefits of having yoga in my life, as I say to my students, is not how you feel during class but how you feel after. I feel taller, stronger, calmer; I still use physical yoga in times of stress and/or uncertainty, and I can categorically say that I have never left a yoga class feeling worse than when I went in! That is my motivation.

Physical yoga practise helps to release stored up emotions and traumas that are held within the very cells and tissues in our bodies, by moving and breathing in a way that is in tune. You learn to listen to your body, to hear the messages, and to acknowledge the messages with the use of your breath. Basically, how you deal with challenges on the mat, is how you will deal with challenges off the mat! Yoga isn't just about the physical practise of the asanas, it is about how it affects your whole life, and how you can start a journey - that has no ending - according to the eight limbs of yoga. Yoga is my friend, and it has always been there for me, no matter what.

Daisy teaches at Satyam Yoga Centre (Monday 5-6pm); Camyoga (Tuesday 10-11am); Cambridge University Sports Centre (Wednesday 9.30-10.30am) and Nuffield Health Centre (Wednesday 5.50-6.50pm). She also runs 6-week online courses.

Find out more by emailing daisyworzencraft@hotmail.com or head to @cambridgeyogagirl

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