Sacha Rowlands Yoga Ambassador
Sacha got into yoga by accident but it's now her way of life. She talks to Sundried about all things yoga.
Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.
In the past I’ve taken part in 10km races and Tough Mudder, which certainly was tough but the camaraderie on the day is amazing - everyone helping strangers overcome obstacles and working together. I also love trekking. I’ve hiked in the Himalayas, to Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain.... I love the beauty of nature and the sense of achievement you get when you reach your goal.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
So although I’ve always taken care of myself, exercise was never something that came naturally to me, and it took me a long time to find something that I love. I’ve always needed to take part in group exercise where an instructor shouts at us and a sense of extreme competitiveness stops me from being the first to stop or slow down. Or where I felt as though I was being tricked into exercising, such as through a dance class. I still love dance classes or a boot camp, but once I found yoga I found my jive - something that nourishes my body and soul.
I actually came to yoga by accident. After a knee injury meant that my annual skiing trip was off the cards, I was invited to a yoga retreat instead. I was still suffering niggles in my knee and leg but after a couple of days suddenly this had eased. For the first time in a year I had no pain at all! From then I was hooked and the more I practised, the more I knew I needed to share this amazing practice with other people!
I also run. If I’m honest, I like running because it’s free and starts the moment you leave the house. And you can’t bail once you think you’ve had enough - however far you’ve gone, you have to get back home! It’s amazing how much further you can go than you believe you can. It’s also a great opportunity to plug into a podcast and have some me time. Or, if I’ve no podcast on, the simple action of putting one foot in front of the other and finding the rhythm of my breath is almost like a meditation. I’ve done some of my best planning on runs!
What are your training goals now?
I’ve entered the ballot for the 2020 London Marathon and I’m really hoping to get a spot! I’d love to complete a marathon.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I can’t really ride a bike!
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
That not everything is a competition. You don’t need to compete with everyone around you or with yourself. The yoga mat is a great leveller and teaches humility and patience - with yourself and others.
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
I’ve always been a believer in everything in moderation, rather than following a specific diet plan. I do follow a vegan diet, for ethical reasons rather than health reasons, which means I get plenty of veg in me. But I get plenty of dairy-free ice cream in too! The move to a vegan diet means that I’m just a little bit more conscious in making sure that I have a source of protein on my plate, but it’s easy to do. To be honest, since moving to this lifestyle, I’ve become stronger than I’ve ever been before.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
We all have days where we don’t want to work out or get on the yoga mat. We’re tired, it’s cold, it’s hot, it’s raining, we’re busy. Listen to what your body wants. If your body is crying out for a rest, give it a rest. If your mind is telling you to rest, ignore it and ask your body. If the body wants to work out, give it what it needs - you’ll feel so much better for it. No one ever says ‘I wish I hadn’t gone to that yoga class!’
Talk us through your training regime.
I practise yoga most days. Some days it’s a full hour session, other days it might be 20 minutes, but I aim to get some strengthening and stretching postures in most days. My running is much more sporadic, depending on my schedule, but yoga is important to me because of the emotional benefits as well as the physical ones, so that’s prioritised.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I read and research things on the internet. I listen to the experiences of other yogis and get inspiration and information from classes. I’m naturally inquisitive and interested in the human body, so I’m always trying to learn more.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
1. Listen to your body. This is probably the most important one that I can think of. Your mind will lie to you. It’ll tell you you need to stop when you don’t. Or it’ll tell you that you can’t possibly stop, even though your body is crying out for you to. The mind lies; the body never does.
2. Hydrate. You’ll always feel better when you’re doing anything if you’re hydrated before you start. In yoga, we spend a lot of time upside down and if we’re gulping down loads of fluids mid-class it can make us feel a bit queasy. That said, if you need to drink during the practice, do it - I wouldn’t listen to any instructor that tells you not to. But take small sips and then re-hydrate afterwards.
3. Don’t compare yourself. It’s YOUR body and YOUR practice. We’re all built differently, with different experiences and different challenges. Don’t worry if your pose looks different to someone else’s - it’s all about how it feels, and not about how it looks.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh my goodness, I don’t know how to answer this. One food? Forever?! I love spice so maybe a vegan chilli. Extra spicy.
What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the ethos behind the brand. The fact that it cares about the health and well-being of its staff and that your order is traceable is wonderful, and something that all brands should do. Plastic is a huge problem, and the Eco Core range is made from recycled plastic bottles. If they’re in my leggings that means they’re not in the ocean!
Favourite fitness quote:
"Healthy isn’t a goal, it’s a way of living."