What’s your full name?
Annette Mellor (aka Yoga Mum)
Where did you grow up?
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England , UK
When and where did you first fall in love with yoga, sports or athletics? How did you get involved? How did it make you feel when you first began?
At a young age, I was always involved in sports... everything from being a member of the high school swim and netball teams to throwing javelin and shot put. As a young adult, I continued swimming, running and also trained to teach fitness classes (Jane Fonda ruled!). When my two children were toddlers, my interest moved to body building and I truly loved working with "free" weights. I had the privilege of training alongside some of England's National champions!! Later in life I found meditation and Moksha hot yoga... they soon became my new love, and actually still are to this day.
What is your background (education, training, etc) that allows you to do what you do today? How could somebody else learn to do what you do?
In 2003 I chose to leave my Corporate Banking career and took the first ever Moksha intensive training and I've pretty much been teaching yoga ever since! I managed the Moksha Downtown studio for five years, before I became co-owner of the studio in 2008. I love to take trainings and I've completed my Moksha Lvl 2, Sivananda, Pre-Natal and Baron Baptiste Power Yoga. As well, I am a qualified Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage practitioner.... all these modalities really complement each other, and I do bring a lot of these skills into the hot room as well! I'm also the proud co-owner of our Moksha Yoga London West and Moksha Yoga Brampton studios. All my years of working in the Corporate/Business world are certainly being put to good use these days!
I feel for me, teaching yoga was a calling... it's a passion you know. When you connect with something that excites you and fills you up to the brim... there's an internal switch that goes on, rather like a light bulb - and you just know THAT is what you are supposed to be doing with your life. And really it's available to anyone, no matter what you choose to do in life and no matter what age you are when you do so! I 'll be 56 this year and I was thrilled to be asked by lululemon to be an Ambassador!! Yoga is for anyone and every-one.... you really just have to get on your mat!
What do you appreciate most about London and its community?
London is called The Forest City. It should be called "The City of Hearts". When I first emigrated to London, 25 years ago, the one thing that really stood out for me then, and still so today, was how involved the communities are... with companies sponsoring fund raising events for the needy, parents coaching kids, so many volunteers working to make life better for others, and everyone is always giving, giving, giving! Volunteering and sponsoring are very evident in our London yoga community and it warms my heart to be a part of that.
Makes me proud to be Canadian!!
What is the most important thing you would tell a beginner in your field?
We all started somewhere. We all took our first class. Getting on your mat for the first time can seem over-whelming and there is this rather strange perception that you have to be flexible to do yoga! I've advised thousands of students... flexibility of both body and mind comes with the practice of yoga... you're not expected to hop into the studio and tie yourself in knots! There's nothing better than moving your body in space... particularly in the hot room. I love seeing how our students progress, how surprised they are when they connect to a particular posture, realize that niggling back pain has magically disappeared, or have what we call an "ah ah" moment! Quite often I see these happening after only a few weeks of practice - the human body really is pretty amazing.
How do you cultivate a regular, useful practice yourself? What do you do on a daily basis that supports your pursuit?
It's so important for me to maintain my personal practice - both yoga and meditation. I aim for at least four asana classes a week and like to shake it up a little by practicing different classes we offer at our studios. Meditations vary, these can be anything from quiet "sit" at home, to group meditations that can last for a few hours. Work/life balance is something we all have to find time for - you just have to stop, step back, breathe a little deeper and realize how important a little me time is - no matter how busy you are. On that note... I'm off to class - see you all in the hot room soon!!