I’m Mairi and my family and I moved to Javea, Alicante, Spain nearly 2 years ago. We love it here and I’m so happy that we are living our dream, of an outdoor lifestyle, learning a new language plus it is much sunnier here than my homeland of Scotland, where I worked as a yoga and mindfulness teacher near Blairgowrie, Perthshire. I taught yoga and mindfulness mainly in schools but first, let me tell you a little more about myself.
My past life
I worked for some years as a lecturer in Podiatry (a foot specialist), then decided to combine two of my greatest loves – teaching and yoga. I first felt drawn to yoga after moving to London, where the hectic environment led me to seek out the classes. It took me a few sessions to get used to the pace of yoga: I am someone who doesn’t like to sit around too much and I like to keep busy.
As I progressed through the course, I stopped checking the clock and just enjoyed the calmness that yoga brings both physically and mentally. I continued my practice whilst living in London, trying different types of yoga from gentle static poses, flowing sequences and hot Bikram yoga.
Training to teach Mindfulness felt like a natural progression for me, as mindfulness and yoga go hand in hand. I have loved learning more about myself, slowing down and enhancing my thirst for life
Teaching mindfulness in schools
Mindfulness & Yoga go hand in hand. Every Yoga course I completed had breathing and mindfulness at the heart of it. Whilst in India I read several books on the consciousness of Yoga, awareness of now and the power of now.
I wish I had known about Mindfulness as a child or that it was available in school. Giving kids the tools to deal with difficult emotions makes so much sense! Whether it be general life, changing/difficult home life, coping with the stress of exams or the transition between primary or secondary, kids need support to help them become more resilient. Life is not always easy, especially when perfection and happiness is deemed to be the norm in a social media dominated world. Mindfulness teaches kids that all emotions are ok, it is alright to feel sad/angry/unhappy. These are normal emotions and it is not a problem to experience them.
Yoga in schools
Yoga is not just about the physical postures like the tree, although it is one of my favourite balancing poses! My training in yoga for children involved learning through interactive play such as games which aid confidence, self esteem, teamwork, social skills and promote calm and respect for one another. These benefits can go well beyond the classroom!!
Teaching pregnancy yoga
I later completed my studies in pregnancy yoga within Yogacampus with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli while expecting my first child and finished my mother and baby yoga training when my daughter was only a few months old. I felt massively drawn to this area of yoga and loved learning about the changes to a woman’s body and techniques to help women prepare both mentally and physically for this change.
Pregnancy Yoga is ideal for a changing body. Each week your body can feel different, physically as well as emotionally. The postures are fairly tame compared to conventional yoga classes but that’s a good thing as your body is working hard to house your little one. As well as performing exercises which are safe and effective for pregnancy, classes massively focus on breathing. There are several different breath techniques used for each part of labour. Full yogic & Ujayi breath are used in between contractions to re-energise and relax. Golden thread breath is performed during a contraction, aiding you through the strong sensations of a contraction which builds in intensity then fades, taking you closer to meeting your little one. Coffee pot breath or stage 2 breath helps breath the baby out, working with your body’s natural urge to birth your child.
I had major issues with my pelvis during two pregnancies. However, it was after my second child that I suffered extreme mobility issues and was unable to walk unaided for several months. I used my yoga training and knowledge to aid my recovery. Although I am still not completely pain-free, I believe my yoga practice has greatly improved my recovery time.
Teaching mother & baby yoga
Mother & Baby Yoga is the best type of class you can do when you have a new born. I am obviously biased but I think it is the perfect combination of initial light exercise for you after birth, gentle massage & mobility exercises for your little one and well deserved relaxation.