Monday, August 01, 2011

Interview With A Yogi :: Philippa Moore


I'm absolutely honoured to have my inspiring friend (and Aussie gal!) Phil here on Shiny Yoga to share her story. You know those friends of yours that you just take so much inspiration from? Those people that change their life, commit to shining, and do it, just Do It? That's Phil. You want to know this girl! 
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Phil is a passionate yogini, as well as a world traveller, tea drinker, marathon runner and wannabe novelist. She currently blogs at Green Ink and Skinny Latte Strikes Back, the latter of which was recently ranked number 6 in the Cision Top 10 UK Diet and Nutrition Blogs.  Originally from Hobart, Tasmania, she now lives with her husband in London with no kids, no pets, and many pairs of running shoes.  Read more about the gorgeous Phil here :)

1. How do you befriend yr body?
With many things.  Exercise – that’s a big one.  I’m not a member of a gym so all my exercise is done in the great outdoors, just the way I like it!  I love getting out in the fresh air, running along by the river and through grassy tree-filled parks.  I don’t have a car, so I walk everywhere.  
Keeping active grounds me, reminds me of how strong my body is and what it can do.  I love revelling in my good health and vitality.
Image of Phil courtesy of catchcompose.com
I also try to dress well and take pride in my appearance – you don’t need to do much, it’s not like I spend hours with the hair straightener! - but just taking ten minutes in the morning to do my hair and makeup, and set out clothes the night before so I don’t grab yesterday’s shirt with pasta sauce stains on it goes a long way to making me feel confident and put together.  I’m not saying you have to be full of yourself, but I think it’s important to be able to look in the mirror and like what you see.


For a long time the concept of “befriending” my body was a very foreign one to me.  I did a regular internal log of things I hated about my body and viewed any compliments with suspicion.  Now, I focus on the things I like and am getting much better at believing the nice things others say.  I’d like to think that I would still do this if I hadn’t lost 30kg in the process – but I truly believe that once I found more caring and helpful ways of living my life, my physical problems were no longer the barriers I once thought they were.  It’s been hard work, certainly, but it’s also become second nature because life is so much better this way.  Making friends with your body is one of the secrets to living a happy, healthy life.  Your body is your ally, your constant companion in life.  Take care of it and accept it, warts and all.

2. Describe your yoga practice - remembering that yoga is union, and not just asana. How do you live yoga on the mat, and off the mat?
My yoga practice can be anything from a structured class with a teacher and group, to a home practice in my tiny living room.  I enjoy the structure of a class, but I like the freedom of doing what I want to do at home.  I love working through a vinyasa.  I work on the core a lot, and do long holds of downward dog and various favourite forward bends and standing poses like tree.  There are some poses that ground me more than others so I gravitate towards those.  I love to dedicate my practice to someone I care about who is in my thoughts.  Breath is important too.  Yoga is so much like running (I’m a long distance runner) in that the body, the mind and breathing really have to work together in unison so that you don’t get unbalanced.

How do I live it off the mat?  I guess by trying to be compassionate and balanced in both my deeds and thoughts, being aware of how I behave and how that affects others, but also being detached when I need to be.  I try to channel my energy into the appropriate places.  I used to put a lot of energy into things that, in the grand scheme of things, really were not important.  I’m also slowly getting over this mindset I had from my teenage years that I had to like everyone and everyone had to like me.  It’s not a fun way to live! Over the last few years I've slowly shed myself of the energy vampires.  I felt terribly guilty about this at first but life is too short to spend with people who make you feel bad about yourself.
 


At the end of the day, I’m very much a work in progress but fundamentally I try to adopt this idea of “ahimsa” in my daily life; kindness to all living things.  I live consciously, and try to do things that will have a minimal impact on the environment.  I try to meet any negativity that comes my way with kindness.  I’d like to think that what I do, big or small, makes a positive difference in other peoples lives.

3. Is meditation part of yr practice? If so, in what way?
Not in a structured way, I let meditation arise in the practice naturally if I feel moved to.   I mostly do mindful breathing meditation, and it’s more for calm than for insight.  I’d love to learn more about it.

4. What tips would you give a new meditation or new yogi?
I did a yoga class with a man called Raja while I was in India a few months ago, and I’ll never forget something he said to me.  He said, “no one who comes to yoga goes away empty handed.”  I thought that was beautiful, and so true.   By exploring what yoga and meditation has to offer, whether you can do a handstand or not, you’re opening yourself to ideas and philosophies and a practice that truly changes your outlook on the world.  So I would start by encouraging people to give it a go, even if they think it might not be for them.  Scratch the surface and see how far you want to go.  Be patient with yourself, and take the time to appreciate yourself for doing something so special for yourself.  It’s a journey, first and foremost.  Being able to finally do crow pose after six years of practice is amazing, granted, but it’s not the whole point of it all…if that makes sense.  Mastery is one thing, but it is very much a process that you become enfolded into.  The more you practice, the deeper you’ll go.  It’s such an adventure.

5. What is your fave book? site? studio? style of yoga? pose? sequence? (these can be associate with yoga or anything inspiring you love!)
Oh there so many things I love!  My writing web site Green Ink had a whole series on things I love! 
My favourite pose is downward dog (SO good for runners!).
For a home yoga practice I can't recommend Shiva Rea's Yoga Shakti DVD highly enough.  My friend and fellow yogini Mary got me on to it about six years ago, and I am yet to get bored with it.  Although I don't use it as much any more, the home practice I do is heavily based on the sequences I learned from it.


Other things I’ve been loving lately…..the novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier; chocolate cake; ginger tea I brought back from India; writing (the love comes and goes with that!); piano music (Ludovico Einardi and Michael Nyman are my favourites); Pinterest; the Book Show podcasts from ABC Radio National.  None of them particularly relating to yoga, but all inspiring in their own way and contributing to the deliciousness of life : )

6. How can people bring yoga into their everyday?
By paying attention.  Having a holistic approach to living.  Building habits of mindfulness and quiet into your life.  A few minutes in downward dog does wonders for restoring balance. 

7. What is one thing that today you are grateful for?
Love.  I never take that for granted.

8. How do you slow down and smell the roses?
My husband and I have a “coming home” ritual at the end of each working day.  We light incense and candles, put favourite music on softly, and then either make a cup of tea, or pour a glass of wine (if it’s been a rough day!) and sit down together and talk about our days.  It’s just lovely.  I look forward to it.    
Image of Phil courtesy of catchcompose.com
9. Any ideas on stressing less and enjoying more?
I believe a lot of stress in life comes from worrying about things that might happen, bearing the burden of the “what ifs”.  Calvin and Hobbes said it well -  “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take the time to enjoy where we are”.  It’s hard when you don’t live in the moment – it’s hard for you and it’s hard for the people around you.  Trying to be present, really present, and live in the moment can do wonders for stress relief.


Minimising our catastrophic “all or nothing” thoughts is a stress reliever too.  We are a lot stronger than we think and if the worst ever does happen, we find a way of coping with it.  By the time I was 26, I had already survived two of my worst nightmares.  Prior to those things happening to me, I had been terrified how I would cope if they ever did…but they did, and I was ok.  More than ok, as it turned out. 


I think a lot of people go through life with a fear that they’re missing out, and that can lead to stress and unhappiness.  It might sound strange to combat stress with stress, but why not take a few risks?  If you really want to do something, why don’t you find a way to do it, or at least get started on the road to that dream?  It won’t happen by itself. Sometimes you just have to take the leap and not worry too much about where the net is.  It will appear.  Things always work out.  


Finally, the last piece of advice I would offer is to never do anything that makes you unhappy.  It’s not worth it. 

10. How do YOU live a wholehearted life?
The above image is one of Phil's faves, she found it at myfriendjules.blogspot.com
I think it comes down to the simple things.  Connecting with like minded and positive people.  Taking time to make a meal from ingredients singing with freshness.  Sitting on the couch or in my garden with a chai latte and a book I can’t put down.  Knowing I am never obligated to a dream or a belief; if something isn’t working, I can change it. Dreaming, setting goals.  Choosing to commit to a joyous life.  Encouraging others to do the same.   

4 comments:

skinny latte said...

Thank you for having me on your lovely blog Stel :) xxx

Mr Latte said...

What a beautiful interview. As always, so inspiring.

Mr. Latte ;)

missy vas said...

Great interview. We love Phil!
I will try and pop by more often.

missy vas said...

What a great interview. We love Phil. She inspires me more than she realises.

Great blog Stella - I will try and come back more often.

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