Emily is a yoga instructor living in Indonesia. She talks to Sundried about her inspirations and passions.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
When I was at school I played netball and absolutely loved it. At 16, I attended boot camp with my mum 4 times a week; the feeling after exercising was incredible and I quickly became addicted! I was overweight as a child and when I started to see my body transform it was the greatest feeling in the world. I started to control my eating, I cut out dairy and gluten and tried to eat as fresh and clean as possible. At University, I would go to the gym every day and attend HIIT classes, weight training and do my own workouts.
I then discovered hot yoga and my whole world changed. I signed up for 30 days of hot yoga in Manchester; the classes were 90 minutes long and after the first class, I have never felt anything like it in my whole life. It was pure euphoria. The first week was tough, being new to yoga and trying not to faint in the 40-degree heat was a challenge but it was so worth it. In that first 30 days, I gained balance, core strength and clarity of mind, I began reading about yoga, doing YouTube video classes online and I started attending all different styles of classes, Yin, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hatha in my local studios and have been doing yoga ever since. I quickly realised yoga was my thing. I have always been flexible and from a young age I was always hanging upside down and putting my legs up the wall and now I realise I was practising yoga without realising. It was when I was attending a class run by a young girl in a local church, I thought to myself I could do this, I would love to teach this class, so why don't I?
What are your training goals now?
I am currently working on building up more strength in my core, shoulders, and wrists. I’m working towards some more advanced poses like Firefly, Scorpion and Pincha. I didn’t realise, but I really need to work on my shoulder flexibility so I am practising a lot of dolphin pose at the moment.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn't know about you:
I have misophonia! (Hatred of certain sounds). I didn’t even know it had a name until I looked it up, but it means I cannot stand hearing other people eat or talk with food in their mouths and I’m currently in Indonesia where everyone makes SO much noise when then eat! So that is my current challenge!
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Don’t compare your progress to others. Everyone is living their own path at exactly the right pace for them and you are exactly where you need to be right now.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I am a vegetarian as I don't believe in eating animals, I could never kill an animal and eat it. Animals have energy just like humans, so when an animal is killed their energy is fearful and tense, so imagine when you are eating the meat you are literally taking their energy and adding it your own. There are so many studies about meat and why it isn’t good for our bodies but I won't go into that now!
I eat a LOT of fresh fruits and vegetables, I try and stick to foods that suit my Vata Ayurvedic dosha. For breakfast after yoga, I will normally make a smoothie jar made from oats, frozen bananas, fresh mango, papaya, spinach and coconut water, or whatever fruit I have in the fridge! I also love to make vegan pancakes using bananas, oats, water and cinnamon! I drink lots of teas, sometimes with coriander seeds or I make my own simple chai tea. I also take Spirulina capsules every day as the health benefits are insane!
For lunch and dinner, I make soups or spicy curries; with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, lentils, chickpeas, cauliflower, spinach ~ all the veg I can find, and coconut milk. I always use fresh spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric and lots of chilli. Tempeh and tofu are also my go-to favourites! They're made from soya and you can throw them into anything to add some protein, and if I want something bad I like to eat dark chocolate.
Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
Motivation is KEY. I believe that if you optimise your mornings you optimise your life! So, first thing I do when I wake up is clean my mouth (it gets rid of all the toxins built up overnight that need to leave the body) I drink a glass of hot water and then meditate for a while, put on my favourite music and do some yoga. I always mix it up but even if it's just 10 minutes it's such a great way to wake up the body. I then make an amazing smoothie and sit and read for about 20 minutes. I’m trying to read around 2 books a month at the moment, but If I’m not in the mood I listen to an inspirational podcast. I love anything by mind valley, all their stuff is so inspirational and they interview some incredible people. I really think podcasts are an amazing way to learn new things and keep motivated.
Talk us through your training regime.
So I use the 30-day arm, thigh, and ab challenge apps. The whole workout lasts just over 30 minutes and I fit it in before or after my morning yoga. I also like to go running but it's very hot here in Indonesia so I have to go very early, meaning I only go about once a week. I attend 2 intense Vinyasa yoga classes a week and do my own yoga every morning and some yin poses before bed.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I always follow and try out the different weekly yoga challenges on Instagram. They mostly last for around 7 days and I think it's a great way to challenge yourself, follow inspirational people, get tips, advice and keep up to date with the ‘online yoga world’. I just finished the ‘strong as a yogi 7-day challenge’ and that's why I'm working on strengthening my wrists as some of the poses aren’t in my usual practice; another reason it's so great! You remember poses you haven’t done for a while and try out things you wouldn’t normally do!
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
- Exercise your mind as well as your body
- If you think you can do it, you will succeed
- Listen to your body
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fruit! Especially mangoes. I’m obsessed with mangoes at the moment as it's mango season here in Indonesia. Last month I was obsessed with dragon fruit.
Why work with Sundried?
I have a degree in Fashion and worked as a designer straight out of Uni, but I was working for a huge fast fashion company that really didn’t care about the environment or the humans who made the clothes. I really truly believe that ethical and sustainable fashion is the future and it has to be! So for me, finding a sportswear brand like Sundried that's really focused on ethical values and the impact it has on the environment makes it super exciting for me to be working with them.
I also really love the colour pops they use on the designs and the tonal contrasts. They are an inspirational diverse brand who work with people from yoga teachers to personal trainers to competing athletes. I think they really bring the fitness community together no matter what the sport, level, walk of life, or style which is truly amazing.
Favourite Fitness Quotes
‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’
‘Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.’
“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.”
‘Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body.’