Featuring Tamsin Springer from South Africa

Monday, 3 August 2020

by Justine of Just Yoga in collaboration with Tamsin Springer

For 30-year-old Capetonian Tamsin Springer, yoga is not just about performing asanas, it is something that takes her to a place of clarity and calmness. First introduced to yoga by her parents, Tamsin has fond memories of her teenage years spent watching her mums old yoga video tapes trying to mimic the postures. When she first started, she found it difficult to perform certain asanas and soon realised she was not naturally very flexible or strong. Despite these challenges, she persevered because of how amazing she felt once she had reached the end of that yoga tape. Somehow, after twisting her body into weird pretzel-like positions, her body felt so light and her mind so calm and clear. This is when she fell in love with yoga and why she still loves it today - that feeling of calm and relaxation that washes over her at the end of a yoga session cannot be replicated. For Tamsin, this is one of the best ways to de-stress and clear her mind.
"I love the feeling of flowing and moving with the breath in an almost dance like fashion."
Once her passion for yoga was ignited, there was no stopping Tamsin. Yoga also became a non-negotiable father-daughter activity transitioning from something they did on the weekends out in the garden to and every-morning-30-minute-yoga-practice before work. When Tamsin moved out from home, she and her dad still continued to meet up on the weekends to practice together. Even though they now live in two different provinces and are far apart, Tamsin and her dad still do yoga together, three times a week via Zoom.

"The biggest benefit to doing yoga is to have that time to just pause everything else for a while. This is so valuable."
As mentioned, yoga has had such a positive impact on both her physical and mental wellbeing that she wants to share with the rest of the world. There is a sparkle in Tamsin's eye as she describes the feeling that washes over her when she lies in Savasana at the end of a sequence. She believes everyone should experience this feeling. Along her path of personal development, Tamsin learnt that yoga is an inward journey of self-discovery. Most of us are constantly chasing happiness, searching for things that will make us happy, satisfied or content. However according to yogic views, you cannot chase happiness, it is not something you can attain in material objects or in reaching certain destinations and milestones; happiness is something that comes from within. This peace, happiness and love that we chase after is in fact inside us, we just need to find it. Yoga has also taught Tamsin to live in the present, to be here right now, not to dwell on happenings of the past or stress about what is still to come. To truly live in this very moment!

Towards the end of Tamsin's quarter-life crisis, she had realised that she had developed a passion for health, fitness and yoga. After years spent in a corporate job in Information Management, Tamsin decided that the only way she was going to feel fulfilled and happy was if she followed her true passion. Initially she studied to become a personal trainer. She then slowly started sharing her own yoga experience with people by integrating yoga into her personal training sessions and eventually decided to formally study to be a qualified yoga instructor. Tamsin says that teaching a yoga class brings her so much joy and although making the transition from a full-time corporate job to starting up her own company was tough and truly terrifying, she is so glad she took the chance and made it work.

"I am very lucky to have a family that has always been supportive of the things that I enjoy and am passionate about. Even though I may not be able to get everyone to try yoga, they still support me and have helped me significantly in turning my passion for yoga into a career."
Tamsin completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in Rishikesh, India at Himalayan Yoga Association. This was a life changing experience for her. She arrived home feeling like a new person. Having that fully immersive yoga experience away from the stresses of normal life was priceless for her and she learnt a lot – both about the world of yoga and herself. One of the expressions, used by her yoga teacher during her YTT, really stuck with her. It was the next breath is not yours’. He was trying to highlight that the future is unknown and that, by living in the past or future, you are losing your present life and that is something you can never get back.

Tamsin is now a yoga instructor and personal trainer, running her own private fitness company called TAM Fitness. Through her company she is able to use her passion for yoga, and all things related to health and fitness, to help others start their own health and wellness journey. Initially, she operated as a mobile company, travelling to people’s homes or offices to train them, however, due to the COVID-19 lockdown she has now moved her company online and operates by offering clients live video sessions using Zoom.

Tamsin’s absolute favourite pose is Camatkarasana (Wild Thing pose). Interestingly, the name of the pose translates to mean “the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart.” She really enjoys this pose, and feels so strong and graceful in this position. It is a pose that you can flow in and out of so with such grace. This pose helps to boost your energy and leaves you feeling joyful and accomplished. She says that it may sound strange but being in this position just leaves you with this amazing feeling of accomplishment. She also loves balancing poses such as dancers pose because she likes trying to find that stability in her body to hold a pose.

There are poses that Tamsin finds challenging. As someone who has always battled with arm strength, arm balancing poses are very tough for her. She has learnt, though, that the key to overcoming a challenge, is to just keep trying and to not give up. Each time you don’t get it right is not a failure but rather another step forward in your progress. Practice definitely makes perfect and she has now mastered a couple of arm balances and is very proud of herself for just pushing on and improving bit by bit with each practice. Tamsin says that finding where your weaknesses are and finding ways to overcome them is a rewarding challenge. She also focused on exercises to help her strengthen her upper body which, in turn, helped her when tackling poses like crow pose.

"When you are learning to master a new challenging pose, use props like pillows or soft cushions to catch you if you fall. I learnt this the hard way when I face-planted doing a crow pose."
Yoga helped Tamsin overcome lower back pain a few years ago. She managed to injure her back attempting a headstand that she wasn’t ready for yet. It was exceptionally painful and she was battling just to bend over or stand up after sitting for an extended period. After doing some research she found a yoga video that was designed for lower back pain and it really helped; she learnt which movements to avoid and focused only on what would help her recover. She has not had any back pain since then.

Currently, Tamsin tries to do yoga at least 4-6 days of the week. She loves to do yoga first thing in the morning, because there is just something about using yoga as a way to awaken her body and mind to get ready for the day ahead. She has made her yoga practice part of her routine, as she finds that unless it a part of her routine and she makes a habit out of it, it becomes very easy to use the excuse “I don’t have time”. During lockdown, yoga has been something that Tamsin could turn to, to help managing her stress. It is something that she looks forward to doing each day. Lockdown has also given her the time to work on improving her yoga practice as she has more time to practice the poses that she finds challenging.

"I would highly recommend anyone to give yoga a try. We are living in a world powered by stress, anxiety, long work days and very little physical activity. Doing yoga is a great way to get your body moving whilst helping manage stress and anxiety."
Yogi Tamsin Springer's final message is that you do not know when your last breath will be, so live a life that focuses on being in the present, making the most of every moment that you have. She has learnt that no person is perfect, but we can make small changes in our life that help shape us into being the person we truly want to be and to learn to find the happiness and peace within ourselves. Tamsin wants people to know that yoga is for everyone! From the flexible to the inflexible, the young to the old, the fit to the unfit; no matter what stage of life you are in or what your exercise history is, you can definitely benefit from adding yoga to your life from both a physical and mental perspective. Yoga makes you feel better! Whether you are looking for a way to manage your stress, to strengthen and tone the body, to help heal certain ailments or just to add something new to an exercise regime, there are a number of great benefits you will experience.

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