Each month on the Active Living Program we feature amazing Cardio, Strength and Stretch Trainers.
Here on MNB’s ‘Meet Your Trainer’ series, we’ll introduce your trainers each month so you can get to know a little more about them.
How long have you been a trainer?
I have been a yoga teacher for two years, and have practised yoga daily for the last nine years.
What inspired you to become a trainer?
Yoga is most definitely my passion. I did my first teacher training not to become a teacher, but rather to advance my own practice.
The more my practice grew and the more I immersed myself in it, the more I realised that I wanted to share what I had learnt with others. This led me to start my own yoga business and become a teacher.
I’m a pharmacist by trade and madly crazy about the holistic approach to health, and so becoming a yoga teacher has enabled me to add more value and a different perspective to patients looking for an alternative approach to dealing with stress, anxiety or depression.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love watching my students progress. For me, that is the most rewarding and fulfilling part of what I do.
Most students see a yoga posture and think that there is no way in their lifetime they could do it. Being able to witness their progress after they learn the right technique and alignment (with a dedicated practice, of course), and watch them realise they can do anything they set their minds to, is definitely the best part of my work.
What excites you the most about the Active Living Program?
I think the coolest thing about the Active Living Program is that it makes moving and living an active lifestyle easy and accessible to everyone! Not everyone has the time to go to a gym, yoga studio or fitness class, so creating online content to help people get started and follow a class online, is a really great initiative.
When I was in my teens, I was very much into going to the gym’s and doing “body pump” and spin classes. My friend and I decided to try a yoga class at the gym to change things up. When we heard the teacher start talking about breathing exercises, we lasted a full 5 minutes before we cracked up laughing and tried to subtly move our way towards the back of the class.
I remember saying to my friend at the time, “Yoga is so not my thing!”.
Who would have thought that for the last nine years, I can count on my hands the days I missed my daily yoga practice!! Haha
Favourite post workout snack:
After yoga, I only ever crave something light, so I’ll often reach for a big fat green smoothie and some almonds.
Favourite workout tunes:
In honesty, I don’t have one! I usually practice yoga to no music. Yoga is not just about the asanas (yoga postures), but it is also about connecting your mind with your body, and flooding your body with consciousness. Music can often be a distraction in achieving this union, so I usually practice without it.
Go to motivation: (how do you stay motivated when times are tough)
I’m going to sound nuts, but when times are tough, I often go right back to my yoga practice. It helps me to still and calm my mind, and it re-engergise my body. When I don’t do yoga or exercise, I find that that is when my mind becomes scattered, my body feels heavy, and my mood becomes flat.
Discipline and commitment are big components of a yoga practice, so even when you don’t feel like doing yoga, pushing through it and getting on your mat helps build your mental stamina, and also trains your mind to be persistent, which flows over to situations off the yoga mat.
So yes – when I find it hard to be motivated to do yoga, I do yoga. Nuts, I know!
How do you Move?
I do my own yoga practice every single morning. If I have time, I will do a second practice at night, where I focus on the techniques I am trying to build. Most people are surprised when they hear that yoga is the only form of exercise I do. For me, the style of yoga I practice and teach is more than enough in building strength, while balancing it with flexibility, and building up endurance and stamina.
When the sun is out, I do also love a good long stroll in the park or along the beach. Anything to be outdoors!
How do you Nourish?
The beautiful thing I’ve noticed about yoga, is that the more you learn to be consciously aware of how you place your body on the yoga mat, the more consciously aware you are of how you nourish your body when you’re off the mat.
The more I have gotten into my yoga practice, the more I crave fresh fruit and vegetables, and a vegetarian diet. I do my best to avoid any processed foods and anything from a packet. There’s no perfect diet for everyone out there, so the best advice I can give is to keep it simple, and listen to your body and how certain foods make you feel after you eat them.
How do you Believe?
Your mindset is key in anything you do. Realising that your thoughts are real, and have such a powerful force in creating your reality, has made me hyper-aware of the thoughts I have daily and also be conscious of what I am feeding my mind every day.
I try to read as many books from different authors as I can, and usually re- and re-read the ones that have had a powerful impact in my life (Viktor Frankyl’s “Man Search for Meaning” and “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama are two of my favourites!).
I have a strong faith and know we were all put here for a purpose, so surrounding myself with friends and family that help to grow, expand and support me in that journey is always key.
You can also read more from Merae here on MNB!