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How Yoga Took me from an Anxious Wreak to an Empowered WOMAN

Our wellbeing expert Claire Eli is running a tangible wellbeing workshop on Wednesday 3rd Nov at 12.30pm – all members are welcome to join. Ahead of the session, Claire has shared some experiences of her own on how wellbeing (in this case yoga) has made such a difference in her life. 

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!


Many people are drawn to yoga after seeing images of relaxed, calm and healthy-looking people looking fly in fitspo gears… it’s intriguing. How do people bend and twist like that over that far?!…. the pictures look so glamorous.

Despite all this when it came down to it, during the first few years of doing yoga I still couldn’t seem to get through a class without looking at the clock!

This was until I found the Jivamukti centre in London, it was next door to my design studio. I signed up for the unlimited offer and committed… of course, initially, I was living for the Savasana at the end of class.

But there was something about the practice that I began to crave; the discipline, the commitment, the slowing down of breath, the presence and embodiment. This was better than any talking therapy I had ever been to.

Looking back I think my higher self was preparing me for when shit would really hit the fan and I would need the practice more than ever.

I was in London at a stressful job, I was burnt out, and although I didn’t realise it at the time, I had a very low opinion of myself.

The pressure bubble burst. Fast-forward 6 months…a bad break up, crippling anxiety, & resurfaced memories of sexual trauma played over in my mind, I truly thought I was going BAT SHIT. I had lost the plot, I could barely keep my head above water, regular panic attacks meant the switch between life and death felt like a very fine edge.

There was no one I could speak to about it, (who wants to let down the party when one is young and free in London). The only way I could express any of this was with my new friend, the yoga mat.

I had been through my fair share of coping mechanisms in the past, tricked councillors, disordered eating, binge drinking & drugs, but this time enough was enough. Despite feeling like I was losing my grip on reality I dug deep and kept showing up on my mat.

I got to know every inch of my body. I started to embrace my femininity again, I started attending dance classes, I started meeting new people. And most importantly through this process, I began to understand my mind. Although it is tempting to play victim, I saw that it was MY mind which was the mechanism that had got me to breaking point. And now that I could see it I could do something about it.

THE POWER OF OUR THOUGHTS IS VERY REAL and one way to understand them is to engulf yourself in a physical practice. Knowing your body is a gateway to knowing your mind and intuition. THEN you can visit the higher part of yourself, the soul, the true essence of YOU and life itself. This is what this practice has done for me, it goes FAR beyond the physical postures.

In every stiff corner of my body there was pain, not just physical pain but behind it a flood of grief… I would tear up at the back of the class in child’s pose and hope that the teacher wouldn’t notice… but afterwards I always felt lighter so I kept going.

Sure enough the deeper I went into the practice, the more things released. My mind felt lighter and I began to embrace what felt like a new me.

…the adventures that have come since are stories for another day, (there have been many), but the fascination of this practice and the healing it brings for us to uncover and unlock our highest potential keeps me in awe every day.

I have been around the world learning the teachings of yoga, lived experiences that were once dreams & felt myself smile from places I didn’t know were there.

If there is anyone out there that feels like they want to quit, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is something much bigger at play. I urge you to sit with yourself, be it in a yoga posture, after an intense workout, or on the meditation cushion. It will hurt and things will come up, but sit with it long enough and you will see that you have the power to let go and set yourself FREE.

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