The Sweet Truth Podcast (a place for women to come together and talk about topics that need covering, which began life as a fashion podcast but morphed once they realised there was a whole world of conversations that needed opening up) asked for a Q&A themed around their episode ‘Mind, Body and Finding Your Inner Zen’ so please find our chat below and look out for a live episode in the summer!
S.T: Yeh Yoga looks SO fun! How long has it been going for?
Y.Y: Thanks, it really is! It's been going for 2 years now (look out for a birthday party soon!) and most people don't realise that YEH also stands for Yoga (with) Emily Harding!
S.T: Tell us about your approach on how you teach yoga, do you have themed sessions aka Disco yoga? Is it more directed to being fun rather than the spiritual side?
Y.Y: My approach is to try and encourage those who have never been, or are still new to the practice, to make it a habit and a regular part of their lives, and sometimes that approach is through themes but mostly it's about making it enjoyable and fun! Once it's become a part of their lives, I find people naturally start to latch on more to the other amazing themes and thoughts that weave into a class (so all the other aspects of yoga, not just the movement) or go off and explore the spiritual side for themselves.
S.T: Everyone has to start somewhere! How did you discover yoga and what were your first thoughts?
Y.Y: I started maybe 5 years ago as a way of soothing my back pain which I've had like forever. Me and my mum used to practice Yoga with Adriene videos in front of our tv, and used to head-butt the sofa trying out crow! I liked it because I've always been out of balance in my body (really strong skiiers legs and then little chicken arms from doing not much else!) so I loved it as the same videos started to feel a little easier, and I started to get a little stronger!
S.T: Have you got any tips for people wanting to get in to yoga but not sure where to start, how to approach it and for what reasons? Do people want to do it for flexibility reasons, however is the real reason more about how it makes you feel physically and mentally ? I have only done yoga a few times and I wasn’t really sure how to go in to it and what to think about etc - how does one become open to it?
Y.Y: The thing I hear so frequently is 'oh but i'm not flexible enough for yoga' it's crazy how much a lot of people are put off because they think it's all handstands and splits! Flexibility can develop as a result of yoga, it's certainly not the goal of it. I actually wrote a blog post on 5 tips for first timers (at https://www.yehyoga.com/blog/yoga-tips-for-first-timers). My main tip would be ask around, ask a friend who's keen if they can recommend a good beginners teacher, or even start with videos. Yoga with Adriene was my first teacher, and having the luxury of picking the sequence, taking rest and getting to grips with it alone was really useful to me, at a time when I felt very conscious about it all. My main tip though would be go to a lot of class and find a style you like! There's a saying floating around in the yoga world, 'even if you get into yoga for the 'wrong' reasons, you'll end up staying with it for the right ones!'
S.T: Who are your fave instagrammers in terms of yoga and fitness?
@CelestPereiraYoga - SO much amazing insight about the body
@Secret.Sunrise.London - I cry at their events all the time, so magical!
@JamesSmithPT - The man speaks (hillarious) sense, doesn't give a fuck and would be an excellent person to watch the RWC19 with
@soulsistersfitness - the happiest, most lovely and motivational women, their classes are sunshine and booty burn in one efficient blast
@thewellconnect - female empowerment, events that get to the root of crazy things in the fitness industry, and all round amazing vibes
S.T: How often do you practice? Do you also do any other types of fitness?
Y.Y: I try and live yoga every single day, it won't always be the asana (postures) as there's so many aspects to it! Currently I'm injured (I had an MRI this morning!) so I'm doing less yoga practice (it's about 3/4 times a week right now) and way more strength building! I do heaps of other fitness, spinning, boxing, calisthenics, strength classes, pilates, running (when less injured!) I love it all! London is so great for doing new types of class!
S.T: What type of yoga is your most preferred and whats your favourite position (and why) ?
Y.Y: Rocket yoga right now, but I'm also starting to lean in way more to yin. I've got a suspected kidney yin deficiency from burning myself out a bit too much, so I'm trying to slow down a lot. Favourite poses (again it changes all the time!) are forearm stand and handstand right now, because I've struggled with them both for soooo long, but now I've been doing a lot of cross-training, I'm seeing leaps and bounds in my strength and technique and it feels good to be able to breathe in a handstand!
S.T: Would you recommend yoga to anyone who struggles with their mental health? As a yoga teacher, have you ever heard any success stories of how it's really helped people?
Y.Y: Definitely! Yoga really helps with anxiety, stress, finding balance in our lives, and it can be a really good way to slow down and come back to the very essence of what makes us who we are. It really helps you to learn how to be more 'mindful' and this in turn can be applied to every moments of our lives to help us find joy in our day and everything around us. I'd say find a really experienced teacher to help guide you, and start with yoga movement and slowly build up to meditation. Diving straight in with meditation can actually be a bit counter-productive for those struggling with mental health, as forcing people to sit with their thoughts straight away (particularly if those thoughts are already difficult) might actually do harm instead of helping