Brave Heart


One of the things that’s surprised me as YogaDad has been my endless enthusiasm for media appearances. If you’d have known me when I was young, I was quiet and painfully shy, often sitting in the shadows while others soaked up the limelight. Behind the youthful looks and slight smile was a teenage boy that struggled to share worries. By bottling up negative emotions, sometimes in very stressful situations in an all boys’ school affected my physical, and likely mental health in ways that I now cannot imagine. 


Over the years, I’ve put my determined nature to good use, learning to be brave by stepping out of the shadows and growing in confidence as a result. This hasn’t been an overnight transformation, but one where I have incrementally learnt to find my voice, and over time, almost relished the opportunity to make myself heard. It’s not to say that I don’t still have worries in my life, but I’ve learnt to manage them in a more positive way. 

Yoga has definitely helped in that regard. I fondly remember the first weekend of Yoga Teacher Training at Bristol School of Yoga. Teacher trainer Ashley Russell had us up teaching individual poses to the whole group from the off. I vividly remember Ashley saying that we may as well get used to it as before long we would teaching in the real world. As terrifying as exhilarating, this has helped me become a self-confident teacher. 

Ashley Russell

On the media front, I gleefully take calls from researchers, happy to oblige wherever I can. More than anything I’ve loved speaking with the BBC Radio Bristol team the most. Whether it’s been bonkers BBC studio visits with the boys to talk yoga storytelling, or phone ins on differing parenting styles, I’ve loved every opportunity in equal measure.

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My most recent appearance was no exception. In fact, this was my most exceptional to date. In the words of Caz and Sam at the Beeb, I was brilliant. I definitely loved speaking with their evening presenter, Adam Crowther. What did I love most about the evening chat with Adam? Other than having the opportunity to showcase my free morning stretch on Facebook Live, I also got to shine a light on Mental Health Awareness Week.

MHAW photo

By his own admission, Adam had not done yoga before. So, it was fantastic to share my own experiences on breaking stereotypes and misconceptions about yoga . Also, how to measure success, not just by an ambition to touch your toes, but the more rounded aspects – where exercise of any form can be the mood booster to help tackle depression, anxiety and stress levels and develop a greater sense of self confidence and wellbeing. 

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Going full circle, if I asked my teenage self whether I expected to enjoy media appearances as much as I do, I would struggle to believe it. So, what’s changed? I’ve learnt to live for the moment, not over-analysing what may or may not happen and thereby fuelling fears. Still plan of course (well, I am a project manager after all!), but do so in a way that allays many fears, and enables my true self to deservedly shine through.