Featuring Tracey Brady from the UK

Monday, 31 August 2020

Written by Tracey Brady
Edited by Justine of Just Yoga

My name is Tracey Brady and I am the founder of Bliss Chimp. I am in my late forties and come from Topsham in Devon, united Kingdom. My day job is being the Managing Director of a corporate governance business.

I went to my first yoga class in my late teens and dipped in and out during my twenties. By my thirties I was into the gym, running but always loved a class environment – my Mum was an aerobics teacher when leotards and legwarmers were de rigeur! Then in my forties I found I needed a different approach; gyms were a big turn off and offered me no motivation. I had progressed in the day job and was running a business with a large team and we were living in London. The hours got longer and I had less and less energy. My husband knew I needed a ‘wake up’ call. He really encouraged me to get back to yoga. So I found a couple of retreats back home in Devon, found a teacher in London and within a few months I miraculously signed up to do a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course. 

I convinced myself it was to deepen my own practice, but I knew almost instantly that I loved teaching. I spent a year training in London and completed a 300-hr programme with a month in India at the ashram of Akhanda Yoga in Rishikesh. Since then I haven’t looked back. We even moved back to Devon two years ago. Lockdown sent me online and enabled a connection that went far wider than my local Exeter yogi’s. Now my network in London, old school friends, random strangers who found me on Instagram all came together in a beautiful space and became this amazing Bliss Chimp community that I am so grateful for. From 1 October I am launching a full online studio with a variety of classes and teachers, a place of warmth and community, connecting people in remote places, people who may be restricted in accessing a physical studio, maybe intimidated by that lycra clad environment, or maybe they just like the convenience of logging in from the comfort of home.
Yoga has transformed my life, by giving me a balance. Meditation practice is my cornerstone.
I have trained with teachers in California, India and the UK and there is nothing I love more than knowing I’ve given someone else the tools to help them live a balanced and more peaceful life. 

Mountain (downward facing dog in most teachings), in Akhanda mountain or Parvatasana was a much disliked pose for years, the usual thing, wrists hurt, too many thoughts ‘how much longer, how many more breaths’ etc but I’ve learned to accept it as it is and how to find expansion and grounding in this pose. I also love Yin so ‘legs up the wall’ is a great relaxation and decompression pose. I don’t have any injuries fortunately. I practice honouring my body, where it is today and encourage you to do the same. I am not a super bendy, foot round the back of my head yogi.
My ethos is practising yoga on and off the mat, which means reminding myself of all 8 limbs of yoga. Its not a work out, yoga is a work in.
As I said I used to struggle with some poses like holding in Mountain, others too but I work on my whole practice and what feels right for me.

Yoga has taught me to accept myself, that my true essence is a kind, loving person who thrives in sharing these teachings with others. In Akhanda we are encouraged to embrace ourselves as playful, blissful, expansive and fearless. I remind myself of these regularly and it always makes me smile. I often use fearless when I come up against an obstacle and work out how I can ‘fear less’. It helps to concentrate on what’s important. I also trained in sound healing, using mainly gongs which has been another great way of helping support people in their personal journeys.

As I referenced previously meditation is my cornerstone, I practice twice a day, first thing the morning and in the late afternoon. Asana practice is almost daily, sometimes it could be 15 minutes, sometimes an hour and a half. I have to plan it. Yoga during lockdown has been brilliant, working at home I’ve had more time to teach and of course set up my online studio. I’ve loved this aspect of it – the connection with everyone has been so brilliant.

My husband has always supported me and gave me the much needed shove I needed to get back on track. He’s a cyclist, cycling c350km a week! He says he reaches something like a meditative state at times on his bike – each to their own.

I am wrapping up a 40-Days-of-Meditation group at the moment, they are on Day 36. I am having one-on-one's with each of them to help process what they have experienced. One of the students is someone I met over two years ago at a corporate event in Edinburgh where I was speaking about corporate governance. I started the session with what I call 10-minutes of ‘self governance’. These city professionals in their suits and heels are then led unwittingly into a simple meditation using breath. At the end I tell them they’ve meditated – the response is phenomenal! At this particular event someone came up to me at the end and told me this was exactly what she needed and thanked me. She now works for me in London, and is a dedicated meditator. In her one-on-one today, she told me how much that chance meeting had changed her perspective on life and how I’ve helped her to accept the person that she is.

I do recommend yoga a lot. I also believe a person has to want it, so I am not pushy although I am rather animated when I talk about it. I believe small changes add up to great transformations when you stick at them and that should be the motivation.

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