Living Yoga Off The Mat with Shona Vertue
This blog series is a reflection of how incredible yogis are living yoga off the mat – taking the powerful and ancient principles of yoga into their world.
Having 10 years of practical Yoga experience and a dedicated background in Elite Gymnastics and Dance under her belt, Shona is known for her attention to detail and passionate enthusiasm towards health and fitness.
Extensive training in Strength and Conditioning, Chinese Massage and an ongoing BOS in Nutrition have gifted Shona with an eclectic and holistic approach to health and fitness, which is clearly evident in her classes and training sessions.
With over seven years industry experience teaching Yoga in several independent studios in Sydney, Australia, and co-facilitating health retreats around the world in places as diverse as Thailand, Taiwan and Samoa, Shona successfully and simultaneously managed her own Personal Training business where she instilled a strong foundation of knowledge and experience in her clients.
She sees her mission in life to broadcast the message, as widely as possible, that the key to happiness comes from enjoyment and commitment. She ascribes to the words of American author and businessman, Herman Cain, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you’ll be successful” This is a lifestyle philosophy that she enthusiastically practices and preaches.
Finish this sentence:
My yoga practice is… 24 hours a day 7 days a week – it tests me, challenges me, uplifts me in every moment of my waking life. My asana practice is a chance for my soul to dance, for my mind to clear and my body to regenerate, lengthen and strengthen.
To me, yoga means… coming home, wherever I am in the world.
My experience off the mat has… been way more challenging than any asana could ever be on the mat! But just as it is rewarding when you finally get your feet off in crow, or float your way into a stable handstand – connecting with yoga off the mat and finding peace in the storm of life, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a yoga practice.
The biggest shift/epiphany/moment of insight I’ve ever had during yoga was… (tell me what it was, what you learnt, how it changed you)
Ah! So many! I think I have a shift or awakening in just about every Jivamukti Class I take! But I’ll go with the first one my intuition brought to me – I used to practice in Sydney with Kelli Angela Prieur (one of my favourite yogis) – she would always talk about surrender (and funnily enough had it tattooed on her arm), at the time I was obsessed with asana and wished she would just hurry up with starting the vinyasa already so I could get ‘my yoga on’. Her stories on surrendering and it’s relevance to life never failed to speak to me, however, it wasn’t until some 7 years later, sitting on a towel because I couldn’t afford a yoga mat, in a cold and dirty flat in London, feeling alone and sorry for myself that her lessons on ‘surrendering’ would hit me hard. Suddenly I realised that I was swimming upstream, I was focusing on all the negative around me, I was impatient and fearful of the unknown, I didn’t trust myself so how could I trust the universe, but it was then that I saw Kelli’s beautiful face and a wonderful reminder to surrender, and trust. I have absolutely never ever looked back – now surrendering is one of my favourite practices – it is now no longer a challenge and it makes life so much easier – when things aren’t going right, there is a reason – surrender and allow what is supposed to unfold, unfold – it has allowed for the most magical life in London.
Quick Fire Questions
What are the lessons you carry on a daily basis, off your mat?
Non-judgement towards myself and others – this is a hard one when we’re all so addicted to facebook and instagram, comparing our lives, trying to out-happy one another. Everyone at their core however, is just another being trying to release suffering and experience joy just like you and me.
Why are these important to you?
It makes life so much easier. Easy like Sunday morning.
What yogic principle have you translated for yourself – what, how and why?
Satya is powerful and has always been a struggle for me. I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to gain the acceptance of others – my parents at first, then my peers, then boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, you name it. I would often lose my identity or truth in order to appeal to what I believe they needed. I searched for acceptance and love from others because deeply, I didn’t feel as though I deserved it, I couldn’t love myself, so I would have to be what others ‘wanted’ in order to be loved. This got me into a lot of sticky situations, I’ve hurt myself and others because of it.
Honour the truth of who you are because it IS truly beautiful. Really it is. You are beautiful.
What does ‘Living Your Yoga’ mean to you?
All of the above? 🙂
I think this changes as the lessons change – for me right now, and I’m going on my intuition here, it means: Falling in love with myself – when I love myself, I take care of my body, my mind, and I am more capable of taking care of others.