Featuring Andrea Schroeder from South Africa

Sunday, 16 August 2020

by Justine of Just Yoga

Twenty-nine year old Legal Adviser, Andrea Schroeder from Cape Town, suffered from chronic knee pain, for a long time, before heeding her doctors advice to exercise three years ago. But, 'what exercise?', she thought. Surely moving her knees more would cause her more pain, and result in more pill popping. The fear of it getting worse and being the result of more serious conditions like arthritis or gout, overwhelmed her to the point where she finally decided to take her doctor's advice. She investigated various exercise forms and was inspired by a friend's suggestion to try yoga. She found the gentle and low impact quality of yoga desirable to her needs.
"I learnt to observe myself, and not absorb the things happening around me. This was very helpful as I continually note my inner language and guard how I speak to myself."
Andrea has been on journey of positivity and self motivation since then. She is continually journaling her lessons learned and modifying her behaviour to reinforce positive habits. She joined Robin Sharma's 5 am club and lives by the principle he teaches in his book of the same name. Quoting from her journal entry back in June 2017, she wrote: 'Tomorrow I implement the 5 am rule and live how the other 5% of the world live. To have what only 5% of the world has, you have to be willing to do what those 5% do'. And so Andrea would rise at 5 am and perform yoga asanas for 20 minutes everyday.

"Movement of your body will release dopamine, which is the happy hormone. These happy hormones will leave you feeling motivated, happy and excited. Your body appreciates it because a healthy body houses a healthy mind."
Andrea's favourite asanas are the Virabhadrasana series (Warrior 1, 2 and 3) of asanas. She finds Warrior 3 empowering and an achievement since she never believed that she could balance all her body weight on one knee, three years ago when this journey started. Warrior 2 challenges her quadriceps, adductors in her inner thighs, as well as her hamstrings. She also finds it highly effective for stretching her gluteus muscles, which are responsible for the movement of the hips and thighs. While her knee sometimes still hurts, she has found that consistent yoga practice has helped her over the last three years. When Andrea struggles with holding an asana she has learnt to make a few adjustments that help her to gradually grow into successfully holding them for longer.

"Yoga has definitely impacted my mindfulness and provided me with strength, confidence, peace and routine. It is a habit for me for me now because I am mindful of what helps to heal me and what harms me."
Yoga has taught Andrea that the world will revolve, regardless of whether she is in it or not. This very confronting realisation led Andrea to re-evaluate her life and the choices that she had been making. Making a few changes to her thinking, led her to become more driven by purpose than materialist things. She also craved a balance that would allow her to tap into her spiritual and physical self because she had become very cognisant of the fact that work occupied a lot of space in her head. Her journaling during her yoga journey really helped her to identify things that had been limiting her in life and remove them altogether.
"I know I am destined for greater things, that I am not alone in this big, at times, scary and bad world and that I am amongst angels, my Higher Power, in human form and consistently watched over by God."

Yoga has had so many positive influences in Andrea's life. It has improved her mindfulness of her health, finances and her relationship with people. Her biggest achievements, thus far, has been quitting smoking and realising that she has control over her mind and her destiny through the actions she takes. During lockdown, yoga asana practice and meditation helped her to become more conscious of how she was spending her time. this enabled her to very quickly instil routine into her life.
“I feel myself making an effort to give more of myself to myself. I’ve been doing yoga and I enjoy the feeling when I complete different poses. I feel so ‘free’ and ‘proud’."
Yogi Andrea Schroeder's final words of advice to anyone wanting to take up yoga is to love yourself and love your body enough to keep it strong and keep it healthy. She wants you to know that you should let go of things that have hurt you in the past, look to the future, accept your adultness and all the responsibilities that come with it. This is it - You have once chance to live on earth, live it with the healthy body you always wanted.

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