I created this guest post series for you to connect with some inspiring women sharing their inspiration, wisdom and love of yoga.
Kicking off the series is Rani, a passionate yogini and wellness coach from Australia. She combines exercise physiology with yoga philosophy to her coaching to address physical, mental or emotional issues. Rani and I connected online through our love of yoga, writing and supporting others. She has so much energy and passion, she’s an inspiration, so lets hear what she has to share with us.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Rani! I am a wellness detective! I am a passionate yogini, I am inquisitive, a collector of stories, facts and moments. I love learning. I love reading. I love moving. I love delving deep. I love to help people solve problems. I am empathetic. My family means the world to me.
My life is filled with yoga! I practice yoga, am currently undergoing further training in both hatha and yoga therapy, and I teach yoga to groups and individuals. In between all the yoga, I make coffees three mornings a week in a sweet little beach front café on the Gold Coast, I work on my very new and exciting business Road To Wellness as a wellness detective! Where I utilise my background in exercise physiology, yoga philosophy and wellness coaching to help individuals solve physical, mental and emotional problems. I spend all remaining time with my hubby and two beautiful doggies!
2. Everyone who has ended up on a yoga mat raising their arms in their first sun salutation has a story of what led them there. What’s yours?
As a super active teenager, waking to jump in the ocean every morning to surf, I bought a yoga dvd realising it would help with my surfing! When the waves were not the best, I remember unrolling my mat to follow the dvd and loved moving my body in the different postures. I even remember taking it over to a friends house where we set ourselves up in her lounge room to practice yoga together!
A few years later, whilst studying exercise physiology at university, I was a member of the gym that offered yoga and pilates classes as well. Over time, the number of yoga classes I attended increased as the amount of time spent slogging it out in the weights and cardio section of the gym decreased. In my final year, I decided to sign up for my first yoga teacher training! What a year that was. Feel free to read more about that year on the RoadTo Wellness blog
3. What keeps you returning to your yoga mat?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure – there is something inside that propels me to get on my mat. That ‘something’ has not always been there, it has been building over time. Recently, as my practice became a daily one, my understanding of yoga as being experiential became stronger and stronger. As Pattabhi Jois says, “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory” and “Do your practice and all is coming”. I finally understand what he means by this!
4. How has your yoga practice filtered through to your everyday life?
In SO MANY WAYS!
* Yoga has taught me to listen.
* I consciously feel into my feet, trying to find evenness in standing.
* Not much around the house affects me like it used to: messy kitchen, mindfully clean it; unmade bed, we’re going to sleep in it again soon anyway; sand bought in by doggies, mindfully sweep. Yoga has taught me lessons in mindfulness.
* I feel strong within my body – and I no longer have the consistent struggles with body image that I used to.
* My mind is clear – well, more clear. I used to have ridiculously crazy pre-menstrual mood swings. So much so, that my hubby once mentioned at that early stage in our relationship he was worried I was bi-polar. He went on to say he hopes that I never give up my yoga practice!
* Whilst I may react to situations in a less than ideal way sometimes, I am now able to watch that reaction and smile at it. I am able to see the reaction for what it is – a reaction.
5. What is your favorite yoga pose, breathing practice or mantra?
Nadi shodana is one of my favourite breathing practices.
A very simple OM shared with a beautiful group is my favourite mantra.
As for my favourite posture, I have many! I love strong standing postures and feeling the internal heat build; I love challenging arm balances; I love deep heart-opening backbends; I also love ‘legs up a wall’, restorative postures utilizing a bolster and savasana – final resting pose (which certainly has taken a long time to actually enjoy laying down doing “nothing”). All in all, I love all postures at different times! Some days it’s a matter of being in the posture whether I love it or not!
6. What advice do you have for those just starting out on their yoga journey?
You never know where it is going to take you!
Make a start: unroll your mat and continue to unroll your mat. It doesn’t matter if you make it to yoga classes, if you sit in cross legs and breathe into your belly for 5 minutes, if you sweat through class, are uncomfortable and feel like you “can’t do yoga”, that you’re “not flexible enough”, “not yogi like”… JUST START. Unroll your mat and make a start!
7. How has your yoga practice evolved over time?
Initially I attended one yoga class per week, over time it built to two, three and four classes. My practice was a little like a yo-yo, I would practice for three months, then take a three month break turning back to running and gym workouts. I fluttered from one studio to the next trying to find a place where I fit. I tried different styles of yoga from Iyengar to Hot yoga, Kundalini to Ashtanga. Finally, I found my fit in a studio that I am now undergoing further training. It doesn’t matter what the style, yoga is yoga. This is what the studio taught me. Yoga is yoga!
In 2013 when in crisis – feeling overwhelmed with all I had on my plate, I moved home to look after my ill father. I developed a home practice when my beautiful teacher told me one LIFE-CHANGING piece of advice: “Just unroll your mat every day, it doesn’t matter whether you lay in savasana for 5 minutes, complete a full hour of postures or something in between… just unroll your mat”. How powerful those words were for me at that time.
These days, yoga is my life, I practice asana, I practice breath techniques (even for just 5 minutes in the car…), I read about yoga philosophy, and am undergoing further training in Yoga Therapy as well as a mentorship at the amazing studio I feel at home to further develop my teaching skills.
8. What are you loving right now?
Earl grey tea; watching the sunrise even for just 5 minutes; playing with my doggies on the beach; catching up with very special friends; the opportunity to undergo further yoga training; experiencing goose-bump worthy synchronicities!
9. How do you nurture yourself?
Rest in bed and read read read, have a bath, write. I take myself off to sit or stand in nature, often to the beach for a swim in the ocean! I am still learning to truly listen to myself: if I need to rest, I rest, if I need to move, I move. Truthfully though, my husband seems to know me better than I know myself and he teaches me to truly listen time and time again!
10. What wisdom has your yoga practice revealed to you that you’d like to share with us?
“You are exactly where you are meant to be”.
The most important realization ever revealed to me, that has not only helped me through the passing of my dear dad, but has affected my core being. It is what makes up the backbone of my business, Road To Wellness. It is what I remind myself time and time again during both the ups and the downs.
Thank you sharing your love of yoga with us Rani!
Rani is a wellness detective! She is a devoted yogini, accredited exercise physiologist, lifelong learner and passionate about people. She combines exercise physiology, yoga philosophy and wellness coaching to help individuals solve physical, mental and emotional problems. Educating and empowering women on their very own, unique road to wellness!
Here is how you can connect with Rani:
Check out her website here.
Or drop her a love note over at firstname.lastname@example.org