I have just realised that I started this blog with the full expectation that everyone who is reading it knows me already and so I have been rabbiting on without properly introducing myself. Please let me use this post to redress the balance and introduce myself properly.
So, this is me – Victoria – at Jersey War Tunnels in 2009. My hair was brown then and now it’s bright red but for all the three years in between it was blonde.
I used to be a youth worker by day and a yoga teacher by night. Then, in 2006, I left my full-time job to become a children’s yoga teacher. (See what I did there? Combined yoga with youth work??)
My charity was quite successful but not as successful as I’d hoped. I wanted to change policy and address rising obesity levels in children at a high level. Instead I became a children’s entertainer for hire by the hour.
The pressure of working harder and harder in a business that was bringing in no money meant I had to take on a part-time community development job to pay the bills. The contrast between how hard I was working at my own little charity for no rewards compared to the complete lack of work or engagement I had with the community in my high-paying community development job was jarring.
So jarring, in fact, that I had a nervous breakdown in 2008 and was subsequently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2009. Yet, throughout it all (doctor’s, psychiatrists, pills that knocked me out, pills that wound me up, not being allowed to drive, the continual crying) I taught my adult yoga and Pilates classes.
I couldn’t cope with the kid’s classes because I found they were so astute and knew that I was putting a mask on. Having a 3 year old ask you “why are you so sad?” when you’re singing nursery rhymes is very eye-opening. Adults tend to be caught up in their own stuff and don’t notice that you’re undergoing an existential crisis as long as you are turning up to class and telling them what to do.
So I decided to stick with teaching adults and I started Stretch Northern Ireland in late 2009 where I taught my adult yoga and Pilates classes as well as doing freelance training for other companies.
Then, in 2012, after teaching classes steadily for 3 years, my husband Chris and I decided we needed a change and so we relocated to Glasgow, Scotland on Boxing Day, ostensibly for me to take over a yoga studio – Stretch Scotland.
I started StretchBodyMind in late 2012 to give me a chance to be less location specific and to stop trading time for money. I’ll tell you more in the next post…