My Yoga Journey by Paul Hodgetts
Ten years ago, I was immersed in corporate life, flying around the world for my job in IT, running from meeting to meeting and living life on stress, adrenalin and coffee. Fitness and stress relief came through running or playing squash.
However, things changed when I developed severe knee pain and was told by a surgeon that if I continued with high impact sport, I would face the prospect of a knee replacement.
Unable to channel the week’s tensions, my wife suggested I come along to her yoga class. She thought I would enjoy the physically challenging Hatha Yoga sessions, led by her male teacher. I resisted for weeks because my preconception of yoga was of slow-paced, sedate classes, more about relaxation than exercise.
When I finally went along, I could not have been more wrong ! Not only did I find the session physically tough, but I connected with the teacher’s words, appropriately about stress, and fell asleep during final relaxation !
I started going to his classes regularly, slowly beginning to understand how the mind and body are connected, and through this understanding, the physical aspect of exercise became less important. I very quickly went from wondering how I would fit a 90 minute class into my weekly schedule, to wanting to ensure I had a class every day. I was hooked !
Over the subsequent years when people asked what my dream job would be, I always replied, a yoga teacher.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to turn this into reality and in December that year, I left my job and the industry that I had been a part of for the last 35 years. My wife and I boarded a plane for India, where we both completed our teacher training through the Yoga Alliance.
On returning to the UK in March 2018, I set up Two Breaths More www.twobreathsmore.com. I now run this as a yoga practice, teaching several classes every week, running one-to-one sessions as well as teaching at Ironstone Wellbeing Centre in Kettering. The current crisis has of course had its impact on this, and currently, all classes are virtual and run via zoom. However once lockdown eases, we can return to face-to-face classes and maybe a number of outdoor classes, such as Yoga in the Park.
Yoga in the Park happened as a result of my wife and I enjoying a coffee in Welland Park café, when she suggested that I run yoga classes in the park to encourage people to experience it. From this initial idea, I approached the council, who were hugely supportive, as it fitted with their fitness and wellbeing in the community programme. I agreed to run yoga sessions every Saturday throughout July from 10 am to 11.00am, weather and demand permitting. The first session attracted 50 + people, the second 70 + and the third 60+. The sessions have proved so popular that I extended Yoga in the Park into August. Hopefully we can get back to outdoor yoga in 2021.
I now smile a lot more, have a fun job and feel I am making a contribution – what a difference yoga has made for me. Please contact me via my website, www.twobreathsmore.com if you’d like to try it.
Written by Paul Hodgetts – March 2021