After training as a yoga teacher while holding down a full-time job, Fi Clark, 36, is now Head of Yoga at immersive yoga studio FLY LDN and admits yoga has not been just a career change but also changed who she is as a person too.
“Teaching yoga has had a profound effect on the way I live my life, way I interact with people and my relationship with myself,” she admits. “I’ve never before felt so content and accepting of me. It’s taken a long time to get to this point and it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. But I can’t imagine doing anything else now that I’ve experienced what a life teaching yoga and spreading that love can do for me and for others.”
‘A change of scene led to a change of life’
Fi, who is pictured below, was doing well in her career as an executive assistant and would practice yoga in her free time. As she learnt more she fell in love with it even more and had a lightbulb moment when she was on a yoga and surfing retreat in Morocco. “I wanted to completely change direction and lifestyle and so I trained in London alongside working full time and it was the best decision I have ever made,” she says. “When I made the decision to train to teach, it was just as much about the sort of life I didn’t want to continue with. I decided I wanted to do something that would have a direct positive effect on people, I wanted to get away from the desk and laptop, away from being part of a big wheel and to be able to voice and facilitate the need for creating headspace in a modern, tech-driven world. And that’s exactly what I’m doing!”
‘Teaching others has taught me about myself’
Being out of the corporate machine and helping others to tune into themselves has also given Fi the unexpected reward of continually helping her learn too. “I have learnt to be patient and trust the process,” she says. “I’ve never had long term goals but I can be very impatient with myself as far as short term goals are concerned. Teaching regularly and seeing individuals progress reminds me that little and often is the key to long term success.” And that’s not the only lesson she has learnt on the mat which has translated to the rest of her life: “The best piece of advice I have been given was to be genuine in front of others, whether you’re having a good day or bad day. This in turn gives them unspoken permission to do the same. It’s far less exhausting to own up to who you are and take off the daily mask of I’m fine and in turn you’ll develop deeper relationships when your vulnerabilities are on show.”
‘My personal wellness discoveries’
Having a career in wellness has certainly made Fi focus on what makes us our best selves and how to make her life easier, more fulfilling and the difference simple, non-material pleasures can make to our mindset. “Sleep is paramount, life is so much more enjoyable when you’re well rested!” she says. “Listen carefully to your intuition and instinct as to what your body and mind need on a daily basis, challenge yourself when you need it and rest when you need it. Be kind to yourself and accept who you are and where you are in life because you’re exactly where you’re meant to be. Eat and drink for nutritional value but don’t feel guilty for those times where you fall off the wagon, enjoy them for what they are and start again with the good intentions tomorrow.”
And when it comes to working out, punishing yourself is not something Fi advocates. Rather listening to your body and giving your mind the space being at the mat affords you. “Each time you come to the mat you’ll feel different as far as energy levels, ability and physical and mental strength is concerned,” she advices. “Be mindful that yoga doesn’t always mean challenging and pushing yourself. Incorporating a YIN or restorative practice into your routine is hugely beneficial. What really matters is your intention of being on the mat in the first place, to find space in the body and the mind.”
Follow Fi’s journey on Instagram @fifiyogagirl and if you’re in the need of some new workout music try FLY LDN’s latest playlist. If you found this interesting, here’s why yoga is about so much more than looking good.