What Matters Most

Name: Lindsey Porter
Location: Falkirk, Scotland
Occupation: Yoga business owner

Lindsey Porter headstand.jpg

I used to be a modern-day, career-driven, busy, multi-tasking mum. I still am. The difference is this: I’ve redirected my driving force from delivering million-pound projects for banking institutions to delivering yoga sessions, wellbeing retreats and supporting local charities. And I’m doing it in the best way I know how: with passion, commitment, a good dose of curiosity and a mantra of “I can only ask.”

I’ve spent a lifetime picking up “other” skills alongside white-collar professional ones. I just never knew how these mismatched pieces of a jigsaw puzzle would somehow lock together one day.

At 27, taking some time out after Graduate training and working for a bank in the city, Reiki healing found me in a timely fashion whilst travelling around South America. It was following an unpleasant incident in Chile, I came across a Reiki-healing initiation course in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia – it was meant to be!

At 33, between leaving Canada and the American bank I was working for and moving to Scotland to join another, I deepened my yoga practice and immersed myself in learning about yoga instruction in Rishikesh, India with Yogrishi Vishvketu, Himalayan Yoga Master and Co-founder of Akhanda Yoga. It was here my yogic name, Asha Jhoti, was given to me which translates to: Light of Hope.

After spending nine years loving and learning about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) coaching and communication techniques, having children and working that mythical corporate “4-day week,” I made the difficult and brave decision to make some changes at age 42. It boiled down to these 3 things:

  • Stopping – this was the toughest step, to stop what I was doing, reflect and recognise reoccurring patterns that were no longer fitting with my values and beliefs of where I was at, where I want to be and who I am. Some deep stuff.
  • Starting – knowing what you don’t want is good. Knowing in what direction you do want to step forward is a journey of discovery.
  • Exploring – going beyond the known, the comfortable and enjoying the process as new paths unfold. Change included some necessary, meaty adjustments to our lifestyle particularly on the financial front – which were not to be taken lightly.

Now in 2016, my life is evolving through my commitment to yoga in a multitude of new and exciting ways. Yoga for me is becoming a much broader union of the mind, body and breath, I feel my “light of hope” is helping others and it feels good.

In January this year, I decided to take my yoga to new places. I set a challenge to get myself out of the damp Scottish winter slump. Every day in January, I took my yoga into the community and visited a different place of interest around Falkirk, performed a yoga pose and posted the picture to my Facebook site along with some facts about the sight, its history, the pose and its benefits. Local interest and support quickly grew and after the Falkirk Herald ran an article on it, an opportunity for a new challenge shortly followed.

Lindsey Natrajasana Kelpies.jpgAs part of International Earth Hour celebrations in March, I lead 130 curious people into a Guinness Book of Records attempt performing Tree Pose at the iconic Kelpies, Falkirk – the largest equine sculptures in the world (pictured here). The record is in the process of being verified.

This spring has seen a lot of new growth. Firstly I became an ambassador for the ethical and eco-friendly Asquith active wear brand. I then successfully designed and co-hosted my first Wellbeing Retreat in the Scottish Highlands offering daily yoga, hill walking and NLP coaching. In June, I was able to give back through taking part in Glasgow to support Yoga For Alzheimer’s for Alzheimer’s Research UK. I’ve joined the Executive Committee of Yoga Scotland to get involved in promoting yoga in a wider context, I’m starting to write articles around wellbeing-related topics and I am looking forward to whatever else comes next…

As my amazing, rewarding yoga journey unfolds I’m reminded of this: “That which matters most should never give way to that which matters least.”  I wonder what repeating patterns you can identify in your life that you could make some changes to, for the better? Namaste.

Lindsey Porter bio.jpg

Lindsey of Yoga~Nu~U is an experienced RYS Akhanda Hatha Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, NLP Practitioner, Holistic Therapist, Project Manager and starting out at writing articles. She offers yoga classes, one-to-one instruction and co-hosts Wellbeing Retreats (Yoga, Hill Walking and NLP Coaching) in the Scottish Highlands and overseas. Find out more at:
www.yoganuu.com Facebook site: Yoga~Nu~U.  Twitter: @LindseyDPorter. Instagram: yoganuu



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The Journey Back From Drug Abuse

Name: Anonymous
Location: Waitakere, New Zealand
Occupation: Graphic Designer

A close friend, who was training to become a teacher, first introduced me to yoga when I was about 20 years old.

I had grown up learning ballet, so my body responded quite quickly to the stretches and I soon became a guinea pig for my friend’s teaching practice. What first struck me was the reconnection to my body, and in particular, my legs.

As a typically self-conscious teenager, I realized that I had disconnected so entirely from my body (sadly out of sheer disgust), that I had not really looked at, touched, or engaged with my legs for about 10 years. It was quite a revelation to reacquaint myself with the lower half of my body and I’ll never forget how it felt when I realized the neglect that I had subjected on myself.

I had been through seven years of drug abuse, the last three of which were pretty significant and were getting gradually more and more dangerous in regard to me finding an escape route. Without question, yoga was that escape.

The breath refocused my desires and intentions. Motion and stretching released toxins and lifted my energy. Gradual progression taught me the metaphor of steady success. Everything together gave me the clarity I needed to know there was more out there for me, and helped me to see how attainable and achievable a better life could be.

After this initial introduction to yoga, I began practicing Hatha and Iyengar Yoga, and later Ashtanga Yoga at the Yoga Academy in Auckland City. And just this year I was fortunate to have found a wonderful teacher who has brought in subtle spiritual elements that have extended my practice even further to a deeper and even more fulfilling place; drawing prana from the earth to engage longer and deeper poses, opening and closing the practices with meditation and breathing exercises. It is truly beautiful and I am grateful every day for having found the yogic path and for the methods and guidance that continue to help me along my path today.

I am a 35-year old Mum of four incredible children living in Waitakere, New Zealand. I am married to a beautiful, awesome man and we have a cool dog. I am an artist and work part-time as a graphic designer, but love getting involved in voluntary community work wherever I can. Yoga is an important part of my life and although there are periods of time where I fall out of my practice, whenever I return it fills my heart with immense joy. I sincerely believe that if the world practiced this vital art, we would be a very peaceful, happy (stress-free!) and compassionate world indeed.

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Yoga Helped Me. Now I Help Others.

Name: Stacie-Saraswati Dooreck
Location: San Francisco Bay area, California, USA
Occupation: Yoga Instructor & Author

Photo attributed to Flickr user dietmut.

I was blessed to be born into a family that was already introduced to yoga as it came to the west. A dedicated yogi, my father took a yoga teacher training with Swami Sachidananda (Guru of Integral Yoga), he was involved with Siddha Yoga, and when I was young, he took us to meet Swami Muktananda for ‘spiritual awakening.’

My mother and father became full vegetarians after learning of its health and non-violence benefits from the Gurus. They ate no meat, poultry, or fish by the time I was born, so I was also raised vegetarian and I have never tasted meat or fish in my life. This upbringing planted the seeds for a lifelong journey of teaching and practicing yoga.

My introduction to Hatha Yoga (the yoga of postures) began when I saw my father doing shoulder stand in his meditation room as I grew up. But my own practice did not begin until I needed it, at the age of 17.

In high school I developed chronic neck pain from working out in a gym and waiting tables. My chiropractor actually suggested yoga to treat my pain. I tried a 30-minute yoga video and by day two of doing the video, all of my neck pain was gone; no MRI needed, and I was hooked. The feeling of deep peace and relaxation I felt at the end was like nothing I had experienced before. I did that video daily throughout my senior year in high school and also as a freshman in college.

Photo by Doug Beasley, http://www.dbpics.biz

The next thing I knew, I signed up for a Sivananda teacher training, living for a month at the yoga ashram in Canada. The experience was challenging and ‘different’ for a 20-year old, but it was life-changing too. It planted additional seeds for my lifelong practice and eventual teaching of yoga. I saw yoga as something that put you on a spiritual path, gave you discipline, and was a tool for wellness and balance of body and mind.

I felt that I had to share this amazing gift with others. Soon after I returned to my college dorm, I started teaching yoga to my friends and conducting relaxation workshops for my dormmates. I watched with fascination to see how yoga helped others as it did me, and my passion for the practice grew deeper and deeper. Ever since, the learning and sharing continues.

Stacie-Saraswati Dooreck is a Certified Gentle Integral Yoga Instructor, Certified Sivananda Hatha Yoga Instructor Since 1995, and a Certified Kundalini teacher, bringing a wealth of knowledge to her classes. Stacie used chair yoga while healing from an illness and continues to share with others the benefits of chair yoga. In 2011 she was featured on CBS Ch. 4 News Healthwatch teaching “Yoga for Seniors.” In addition, Stacie is a Certified Fall Prevention Trainer for seniors and trained as an Enhanced Fitness Instructor (evidence based chair exercises and fitness for seniors including cardio, strength training and stretching). She created and leads SunLight Chair Yoga Teacher Trainings in the US and The Bahamas. Stacie is the author of the book SunLight Chair Yoga: Yoga is for everyone!, a book designed to to teach those with chronic illness, injuries, in wheelchairs or at a desk (Yoga at work) how to modify yoga so all can benefit. Stacie can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/sunlightyoga and on Twitter @sunlightyoga, @yogainchairs and @yogainsf.

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