In this series of blog posts, I speak to Surrey-based yoga instructor Liz Daffen about how she become interested in yoga and why everyone should try it. We share a fondness for practising yoga in pyjamas as well as being captivated by the wonderful and magical benefits of different yoga practices.
Q: How did you first become interested in yoga?
Liz: When I was younger, I used to love doing a lot of high-impact sports. When I worked in an office job, I’d find that, although HIIT classes felt great to get some high-impact exercise in – it wasn’t very kind to my joints.
So, I tried yoga once in my early twenties but, at that time, it just didn’t resonate with me at all.
I’m not quite sure what I expected from my yoga class. There was a bit of chanting at the end and I just wasn’t quite prepared for it at all. But it’s funny how you can revisit something years later, and it can just suddenly resonate with you.
10 years later after my first yoga class, I experienced a family trauma which left me feeling the need to move (my body) – but not in a spin class kind of way. I gave yoga another go, and realised that it gave me exactly what I needed. Ever since then, I was converted. It felt so nurturing and felt like exactly what I needed. It was definitely still a quite a good strengthening exercise but much kinder to my joints.
Q: How did you go down the path of teaching yoga?
Liz: The inspiration to teach was being at the right place at the right time. After my office job, I was presented with an opportunity to so something completely different. For me, I love learning more about yoga and sharing this amazing form of breathing, movement and mindfulness with others. It’s something that I feel everyone can benefit in some way: I’ve taught people from all walks of life, of all ages – there’s no ‘one size fits all’. Yoga has something for everyone and I love helping people discover it.
Q: We both love the concept of practising ‘yoga in pyjamas’. Why do you think someone should try this out?
Liz: Why not? I teach a few classes back-to-back and get back in time to teach my bedtime yoga class. As soon as I put my pyjamas on, I instantly feel this ‘ahhh’ and my body and mind are ready for the bedtime practice.
Whereas if I just stayed in my normal gym clothes, I’d still feel slightly in a heightened sense of stress and ‘rush’ – which is the opposite feeling you would want to achieve before bed.
Q: What’s a common misconception about yoga that you’d want people to think differently about?
Liz: I hear so many people say: “I’m not flexible enough”. It’s such a misconception that you have to be flexible to practise yoga.
In yoga, we are trying to maintain that suppleness in the body. If you don’t move your body frequently, you build up stiffness, so it’s really important to get your body moving so that it’s nice and mobile. If you’re not particularly strong or flexible, you can absolutely use props or blocks to help you.
It’s also important to bear in mind that not all yoga classes and teachers are the same. There’s a class out there for everyone, and sometimes the first class might not be the same as the second class. As long as you resonate with the teacher, you’ll be sure to find a yoga class for you. If you want, it might be helpful to have a chat with the instructor before the class starts and flag any issues you might have. Then they can ensure they can help and support you.
Q: What upcoming projects or future events are you excited about in the wellness space?
There’s so much to be excited and anxious about at the moment! 2020 has certainly been an interesting year but it’s given me time to focus on my podcast and on creating a membership site. The podcast was always something on my to-do list, while the membership site was never on my list – until 2020 presented a great opportunity to start making video content.
As teachers, we can’t always be there to teach, so it’s nice to record something for reference. So, if someone came up to me to say they had a specific issue they want to work through, then I can send them to the website and direct them to a particular video or practice.
I’m looking at developing my online content. I’m working on putting together a few more videos to be able to share, maybe a meditation course for members.
Next year, I’d like to put together some workshops. There’s just so much to talk about in a yoga class, but there’s not always enough time to go over everything. So having workshops would be a great way to dedicate time to talk about and experience different practices such as breathwork, mandalas, chanting etc.
I’ve just launched my membership site so I’m really excited to add more content to this overtime. Next year, I’m looking forward to also conducting a series of workshops where people can explore yoga in a bit more depth.
More in the series:
- An Interview with Liz Daffen: Yoga in Pyjamas, Being Kind to Yourself and Misconceptions about Yoga
- Surrey-based yoga instructor Liz Daffen talks about her nighttime routine and how she winds down before bed
- A Yoga Teacher’s Favourite 5 Yoga Moves to do before Bed
- Breathwork, mantras and humming – yogi tips to help you sleep better.
ABOUT LIZ DAFFEN
Liz has always had an interest in exercise in various forms, from a young age she took part in ballet, horse riding, cycling, walking and Taekwondo, after university she gravitated towards a career in the corporate world. In recent years, on being made redundant she was keen to get back into more movement and exercise, and so embarked on a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and hasn’t looked back. Since then she has completed numerous other courses to help bring breathing, movement and mindfulness to a variety of ages groups and abilities. Having experienced first-hand the benefits of yoga and Pilates for physical and mental health she enjoys sharing this with others.
Liz is a warm friendly teacher offering classes that are varied and can be adapted to suit individual’s needs.
“I love teaching to all ages and abilities. Many people say that there not flexible enough for yoga, but we all have to start somewhere, and the wonderful thing about Yoga and Pilates is that it can be adapted for all abilities.”
Come along if you would like to stretch, tone, improve posture, reduce stress and increase overall wellbeing.
Breathing. Movement. Mindfulness.
to access all my social media in one place
Use code: SleepandFlourish for 20% discount off your first 3 months membership with Liz Daffen