Featuring Tasmin Humphrey from the UK

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Interview of Tasmin Humphrey 
by Justine of Just Yoga

Name: Tasmin Humphrey
Age: 20s
Location: Essex, UK
Profession: Yoga Teacher

How and when did your journey with yoga start? 

I first practised yoga at just eight years old when my mum bought a Geri Halliwell at home yoga video. I found yoga fun but it didn’t really stick with me at that age. However, when I was fifteen I was diagnosed with scoliosis and had to have surgery to correct one of two curves in my spine. After my surgery I thought yoga was a no-go for me – I went to a few classes but always felt as though I would hurt myself if I really tried so I didn’t try it. At the time I was working in an office and my back really started to hurt. During a doctors’ appointment I asked about it and the doctor suggested yoga. I was worried but she assured me that as long as I explain my condition to the teacher I should be okay. This was the first permission I needed. I started going more regularly to some local and online classes but yoga still wasn’t a part of my routine - I would dip in rather sporadically. 

Skip forward a few years, I have started to suffer with my mental health; anxiety and depression plagued my mind. As a psychology PhD, I knew a lot about mental health and mindfulness as it was getting a lot of attention in the psychology research so I started trying out meditation. From this, my interest in yoga philosophy grew. I really resonated with the teachings and it made me enjoy my asana practice more too. My sporadic practice turned into a daily practice and I was hooked. I thought a lot about teaching yoga and at the start of 2020, just one month after finishing my PhD, I jumped on a plane to India to do two teacher trainings. Since I arrived back home, coronavirus hit and I began teaching online firstly with a couple of studios and currently running my own classes on my website TasminYoga. I teach yin and yang to yin as I’ve grown to love with these styles of yoga. I love that the slow styles emphasise tuning inwards and connecting to self as this is something that has personally helped me.

What are your favourite poses and why?

My favourite pose is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose) because I love hip openers and it is especially great for introspection.

Do you have any existing injuries?

I will always have to work with rather than against my scoliosis and spinal fusion, however I’ve found peace with the fact that deep backbends, shoulder stands and plow pose will never be a part of my asana practice, and I know I can still find the same benefits in other poses/ variations.

Which poses have you found the most challenging and how did you overcome it?

For me, inversions are challenging. They bring up a lot of fear, so even though my strength is there I’m holding myself back. There are good days and bad days but I find being gentle with yourself is the key to letting go of any resistance against a pose.

What has been the most interesting things that yoga has taught you about yourself and life?

Yoga has taught me that we are all completely and honestly enough, just as we are. Once we fully understand and embrace that then all else follows – empathy, compassion, self-esteem, resilience, less procrastination, less fear, less anxiety.

Would you recommend yoga to someone?

Absolutely! I think yoga holds the power to help so many individuals, it has this potent way of reflecting yourself back at you without making you feel bad about what you find in the mirror.

When do you practice yoga and how often?

I practice in the mornings, however as a teacher I often practice sequences for my classes during the day as well. I try to practice every day but I am human so that isn’t an absolute.

Has yoga helped you during lockdown?

Yes, starting to teach yoga in lockdown was especially scary at first – getting to grips with technology and teaching was pretty daunting. However it’s developed this amazing new aspect of my relationship to yoga that I never expected.

Do you have a final inspirational message for would-be yogis:

When we sit in stillness and find the part of ourselves we had forgotten lived inside of us, this is yoga.

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