“The best way for us to cultivate fearlessness in our daughters and other young women is by example. If they see their mothers and other women in their lives going forward despite fear, they’ll know it’s possible.” Gloria Steinem

This is a new series that I wanted to start on my blog to address something that has been bothering me recently. At university, lecturers frequently mention scientists who have inspired them, or who have made a great contribution to science in some way. So far, I can count on one hand, actually half of one hand, how many of them have been women. So I have decided that I want to share with you some of the inspiring women who I took up to and am motivated by every single day, and because quite frankly, I know too many badass girls not to share!

This first one happens to yoga related, but over the next few weeks, I will be sharing interviews with inspiring women in all walks life with you.

This week is Adell Bridges. Adell is a yoga instructor, based in Cardiff. I first came across her via her instagram account, which you should definitely go and check out. Not only are are asanas incredibly visually stunning, her photos help keep me motivated to get on my mat every day, are usually quite instructional, and she is part of building a wonderful community of supportive yogis (see, social media can be nice!). I talked to her about yoga, overcoming challenges, advise, and of course, one of the most important things in life… good yoga pants!

Q: Tell us about what made you start yoga? And what inspires you to keep coming back to your mat (or off your mat) everyday? A: I started yoga about 4 times before I got hooked. For me it was about finding the right teacher—the first three times I tried it, I left thinking “yoga isn’t for me”. It was that fourth time I tried it that I left with the yoga high that made me want to do it again and again. So now I always advocate to others that if they don’t enjoy a yoga class, to try a different style, a different teacher, a different location, until they find what works for them.  And this is the beauty of yoga and why I now keep coming back – there are so many styles, so many limbs, so much to learn. I don’t think in 10 lifetimes a person could learn everything there is to learn about yoga!

Q:That leads nicely to my next question, on or off the mat? Your instagram is full of beautiful beach yoga shots, is that normally where you do your practise or do you find you often practise indoors as well?                                                                                     A:I do often practice on the beach if it’s a nice day! Sometimes I go there just to get photos, as it’s not really warm enough most of the year. But I do find myself practising yoga just about anywhere. The other day for example I had to get my phone screen fixed after dropping my phone. While I waited in the shop, I did some yoga! It was either that or flip through tech magazines they had out. I usually do yoga—the physical asana, that is—whenever and wherever I feel like it! Any space big enough, when I’ve got the time, I will be stretching or handstanding! But I set aside an hour every day as well, which is indoors on a yoga mat, to practice.

Q:What has been the biggest challenge for you so far in your practise?                                                                                                 A:I had a knee injury which I’m only just beginning to get past. The thing about this injury is that it came about due to me pushing myself. So it wasn’t just the months of feeling pain and cutting back on what I did, it was the lesson in recognising that I was listening to my ego rather than to my body. But it has been a very helpful lesson in the long run!

Q:Obviously yoga wear has totally blown up in the last few years, what are your favourite brands and what do you look for in your kit (for me, its so important for yoga pants to be properly opaque, so unimpressed with see through yoga pants)?!                 A:Of all the yoga pants I’ve got, Alo are definitely the best in how they fit and look! But there are definitely some other great ones out there made by people with a vision to make the world a better place, and not just make a profit. IamVibes for example has been created solely through the vision of empowering women.

Q:What are your thoughts about sharing yoga practise on social media? Do you have a practise that is just for you as well as one you are willing to share?                                                                                                                                                                                                A: I personally love that yoga has blown up on social media.  Instagram played a huge role in the beginnings of my yoga practice. I learned through Instagram, for example, that yoga is more than just the physical asana! No teacher I went to told me about pranayama, mudras, meditation, or the yamas and niyamas. I remember reading about these things in people’s captions and then googling them, and realising yoga wasn’t just another exercise programme, but a whole lifestyle. I know that some people have very strong opinions against Instagram yoga, because they think it puts people off. They see it as fake or unrealistic. But we all have our opinions, and we are all on our own journeys, and I know for me it was Instagram that led me deeper into yoga! But because I am conscious of the risk of Instagram being fake and unrealistic, I try to be transparent about my yoga practice.  Lately I’ve been trying to post more videos, which definitely show more flaws than a still photo!  You can’t edit out wobbles! So I would say I share my entire practice on Instagram, and I’m happy to do that if it keeps inspiring others to give yoga a try.

Q:What is the best piece of advice you have been given?                                                                                                                         A:When I was growing up, my dad always used to say “this too shall pass” when me or my sisters would complain about something. It used to annoy me because I wanted sympathy! I wanted pity!! But of course he was right, and it has stuck with me.  Most of the time, things that annoy us or stress us in life are really so insignificant. It helps me see the bigger picture and be happy with life as it is overall, instead of focusing on little transient frustrations.

Q:If you could go back, what advice would you give to your teenage self?                                                                                      A:Oh wow, if only I could! I would probably try to persuade my teenage self to get into yoga. It has transformed my life for the better in every way, so I do find myself sometimes wishing I’d gotten the yoga bug sooner!

I would like to sat a big thanks to Adell for sharing some of her thoughts! If you are around Cardiff you should definitely check out her classes, I will leave her website linked where you can find her timetable. 

I hope you have enjoyed this, and please let me know who inspires you!

Hannah