Maude Hirst: ‘I was scared of yoga and meditation, until it changed my life’
-Oct 23, Hannah Hargrave , Living -
Maude Hirst, who has starred in the hit TV shows Vikings and The Tudors never considered herself a yogi and always assumed that meditation wasn’t her thing. But, in an exclusive interview with Lumity, the star reveals that after a painful split from her partner two years ago, she found herself heading to a wellness retreat to heal – and she’s never looked back. She’s now founded her own bespoke mindfulness practice, EnergyRise, and is determined to help others who are suffering like she once was.
Maude tells us that she felt the life-changing power of mindfulness after her traumatic personal experience, which led her on an extraordinary discovery of healing.
Instead of fixating on the external world, Maude looked inward and learnt strategies to rebuild her life in a healthy and conscious way. Two years on, as well as loving what yoga and meditation have done for her mind and body, she’s forged a life-changing career from it too and is determined to make these tools accessible for all.
Maude kindly sat down with Lumity to talk about her journey and explain why her new bespoke mindfulness venture ‘EnergyRise’ proves meditation and yoga can work for anyone.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
“It was about two years ago when I decided to do it consistently,” Maude tells Lumity. “Before that I was practicing yoga on and off for about five years, but pretty infrequently.
“Then I went through a horrible breakup and a life reshuffle and did the typical thing and took myself off to a yoga retreat.
“I couldn’t believe what an amazing time I had and how incredible I felt afterwards.”
In what ways did you feel different?
“Well, I’d just come out of acting in a TV show for a very long time, and then I had the break up and I could suddenly see that I hadn’t really been happy for a very long time. The yoga retreat allowed me to feel again and have reflection on what really makes me happy. I felt like a whole new area of possibility opened up in my life whereas before I was always hiding behind the script or the character, thinking I was happy. But actually I wasn’t. So it opened up this new way of thinking.
“I knew then I wanted to take it further and booked to do yoga training.”
This is coming from someone who was sceptical about yoga and meditation too, right?
“Yes, I was scared of it,” Maude admits. “I have never been religious and I’m still not now and I thought there were connotations that you had to be spiritual and you had to understand the whole philosophy behind it. But really it’s about looking inwardly at yourself and carving time out of your day to really feel again. We live so much in our minds in society today that it gives us time to connect back to ourselves.
“I really believe that it can 100% be for everyone.”
That is the philosophy behind ‘EnergyRise’ isn’t it? That you can find a mindfulness program to specifically suit that person’s needs?
“Yes, there is always a practice to suit you, whatever your age, but really it’s more about where you are in your life. Our bodies react to different things in different ways and our bodies all learn differently too. So the aim of my company is that you can try all these different things and find what works for you and feels really good for you. Mindfulness in all its forms whether it’s a physical practice or a seated practice is supposed to be something which you want to add to your life every day. So if you don’t like it or it doesn’t feel right or you’re scared of it, you won’t go back to it.
“The aim is to find something that makes you feel so good you want to go back again and again. You want to feel alive, or joyful and at peace with yourself. You should feel excited to wake up every day.”
We all lead very busy lives so how can people find the time for meditation?
“If somebody has a very manic life and really doesn’t have time for a half hour or hour long class a day, they can still benefit from just 10 minutes,” says Maude. “It’s been proven. It can be hugely impactful in your life. I always suggest to people to set their alarm just 10 minutes early so they can fit in meditation while sitting in bed. You don’t even have to get out of bed 10 minutes early. Just give yourself that time before you get caught up in the list of things you have to do in your mind or rushing to a meeting.
“I’ve actually found that meditation can give me more time! I’ve noticed if I meditate in the morning my day is so much more productive. There isn’t that deliberation on what I should be focusing on. I know what I want to do in the day and I’m much more direct with my focus.”
Would you say though that consistency is key to reaping the rewards of yoga and meditation?
“It’s very important,” Maude tells Lumity. “It doesn’t have to be that you practice it every day. I know when you’re just starting out the idea of having to add to your day can feel overwhelming. But do as much as you can as regularly as you can. Maybe start with three days a week, but with the knowledge that the more consistently you do it the quicker you will see results.
“Kickstarting with one of my 10 day challenges is a great idea, because once your body has experienced something every day for that long it starts to become a habit.
“We all work well under a ‘challenge environment’ too and at the end of the ten days you can truly say you have given it a go.”
How quickly can people expect to see and feel a difference?
“Of course long-term benefits don’t happen instantly but look at my journey! It started at a weekend long yoga retreat, but the way that I felt after those couple of days lead me to want to do it consistently. So actually you can see a difference straight away. Sometimes you can do one meditation and it can completely change how you feel for the day too.”
What are the main benefits of mindfulness and meditation?
“Generally you find more peace in your life and you get clarity because you’re not constantly in overload of thinking. The main benefit for me personally was that I used to never really be able to hear my voice in all the chaos of society. It’s given me a clear definition of who I am. It’s inner guidance. I know what I want and what feels good for me and that’s come from mindfulness.”
Are you still acting?
“I am,” Maude says. “I love the creativity of acting and my meditation has made me approach my acting from a different place. I’m more excited about it because I know who I am. I also love to work with the idea that we don’t define ourselves through our jobs. So we can be somebody who does so many different things and we keep evolving as people.”
With such a busy life we doubt you have time for a million and one beauty products. So what do you rely on when it comes to your skincare?
“I like to switch up my regime. But I do love Lumity products, especially the Lumity Skin Nutrients Facial Oil. I have dry skin on my face and the oil is just amazing. I generally cleanse twice a day and then use the oil. Once a week I’ll exfoliate and have a Lumity 4-in-1 Cleanse cleansing mask too.
“I suffer a little bit from Rosacea, especially in the colder months so having an oil and a moisturiser feels like an extra bit of protection for my skin too.”
Finally, what would you say to anyone contemplating starting yoga and meditation, but they’re still not convinced it’s for them?
“There are so many different types of yoga and meditation, so please don’t give up if you go to one and don’t like it. There is a practice which will suit you, let me help you find it.”
Maude is committed to making mindfulness accessible to all through EnergyRise, working with individuals to discover the practice that works best for them, facilitating sessions through online meditation and yoga courses, live online classes, retreats, events and a limited number of VIP online one-to-one sessions. Maude has helped to transform the lives of so many of her clients and now aims to take her practice global with her accessible online platform.
If this article has inspired to you to kickstart your mindfulness journey, then you might like to take a look at these five amazing wellness retreats for 2019 & 2020.