Yoga is an ancient practice that can easily bring balance back into our lives – whether you like it hot or calm and cool, it’s about finding what works for you. Personally, we’re fans of hot yoga like Vinyasa and Ashtanga but trust us when we tell you to start with the beginner classes! Freda Potgieter is an expert yogi, who tells us how she found balance by recognising her inner voice and listening to it.
Married to a professional rugby player, Dewald Potgieter, I now live in London. That’s where my yoga adventure started and, as a Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga teacher, it’s brought balance back into my life. I finished my training at the House of Yoga in London towards the end of 2016 and started teaching a week later. I’ve never really felt passionate about anything other than my relationships with people. I studied business, worked in corporate and always felt unfulfilled – until I did a yoga teacher training course. As a result, I can now envision a future that excites me. I love my job!
Yoga has no ceiling – I believe there is always room for growth and learning, advancing in all the yogi aspects. It’s opened my world to so many different possibilities and awakened so much excitement in me – to learn more, explore more and develop my own meaning of life. The training I went through is about finding your authentic self and admitting to the masks we wear and the things we fear. It allowed me to blossom into the person I truly am – I’m more confident and I have a better sense of self for it. I believe that we should spend time with ourselves, listen to our inner voice and truly accept and embrace our own nature.
Yoga started off as a purely physical practice and evolved to something bigger. I found that I became more aware of my natural reactions. You can learn so much about yourself and how to handle your reactions to difficult situations. I learned that I am a “blamer” – if I fell out of a pose, I would blame another person’s movement or my tough day, instead of focusing my attention on myself and how I could improve myself to do better. I also do that in my day-to-day life, when I don’t live up to the standards I set myself. I not only learned to control my body, but my mind and emotions as well. It taught me to calm myself, extract from a situation and decide how to react without letting emotions get in the way.
Yoga in itself is about finding balance: sukha and sthira, fire and water, movement and stillness, flexibility and strength. By finding that balance on my mat, I found it easier to do in my day-to-day life, by being strong but also accommodating. To control what I can and let go of the things I can’t. Balance is different for each and every person. Some of us need more fire and some more water. I find balance by staying present and aware of my body, mind and spirit. I feed them accordingly, but it’s only made possible by total awareness. I am busy by nature, so a yoga session followed by 10 minutes of shavasana is my stillness and “me” time, but yoga might be hard work for others so they might meditate to find stillness. It is all about finding your own personal balance.