How practicing Yoga has helped PhD student and powerlifting competitor upgrade her mindset, life and
So we're back, another blog, and an exciting series to come... I feel really passionate about sharing more every day stories with you about how yoga is transforming the lives of people from all different backgrounds and walks off life. I want to start unravelling what's behind the postures, the headstands and the stretches and start sharing how much deeper the practice goes and how people around us are utilising the lessons and discoveries from the mat and taking them into every day life to THRIVE in their work places, at home, in themselves, in helping others... To kick start this weeks series, we've got the kind hearted, energetic and hard working Laura Petch!
I’m currently in the final year of my PhD in biosciences, so I work in a lab full time. I’ve been going to the gym quite regularly for a couple of years, but I’ve been specifically training for powerlifting for just over a year now. I’m currently being coached for my third powerlifting competition (British University Women’s Championships) – where I’ll get three attempts to lift my maximal weight at each of the three compound lifts: squat, bench and deadlift. I recently incorporated meditation and yoga into my daily routine to try and bring some positivity and mindfulness into my super busy/stressful days!
How old were you when you started your yoga journey and what initiated the reason to start?
24 years old, and I started for a few reasons. Firstly, powerlifting training began to get heavier and harder, and I needed to keep up with the mobility and stretching side of things to make sure my body was in the most recovered state possible to lift again. Secondly, to give both my mind and body a break – to have an hour or so a week to focus on absolutely nothing else but my body and it’s capabilities on the mat.
Would you say your yoga classes are something that positively impact your everyday life, if so how and why?
Absolutely! When I leave a yoga class I feel as though my mind has gone through a reset. I’m someone who keeps myself busy 24/7 and doesn’t like to admit when a break is needed. Yoga encourages me to clear my mind and let go of all the worries and stresses I may have faced during the day. It encourages me to focus on the present moment, and when I leave I carry that with me through the rest of the week.
Is yoga something you'd consider has helped you physically / mentally or both?
Both! As I mentioned above, for powerlifting, stretching and mobility is key so yoga has definitely helped me become more flexible and aware of deep stretches. Mentally, it’s changed my mindset entirely. It’s helped me focus on the present so much more, has showed me how to let go of things that are out of my control, and has helped me focus on myself.
When it comes to powerlifting, how important do you think it is to having a healthy state of mind?
So, so important. If I approach the bar in a negative mindset, and tell myself it’s going to be hard, the weight simply won’t move. To be successful in powerlifting, I have to focus completely on the lift, and pretend there’s nobody else around me. When I approach the bar focussing on my strength and what I’m capable of, training feels fantastic. It’s also been really important for me to learn how to fail. Now I’ve failed each of the 3 lifts, I have no fear when I approach a weight, and I know that failing the lift now just means I’ll get it in time.
In one word, how does yoga make you feel?
What are the three top tips you'd give to anybody whose not practiced yoga before and wants to kick start their yoga journey?
1) Try different classes until you find one that suits you! I tried yoga a few years ago and was completely put off because we were made to do the splits one at a time in front of the class – I felt humiliated. So don’t be put off, and remember that everybody starts somewhere.
2) Do some research into the benefits and meaning of yoga – it’s so much more than just stretching and doing some poses!
3) Don’t focus on anybody else but yourself. Your practice is yours, it doesn’t matter if the person next to you is the most flexible yogi on the planet, they’re at a different point in their journey.
Since practicing yoga and meditation, what would be the three main differences you've seen in your everyday life?
1) I’m so positive! In every single situation, even if it takes a little while, I manage to take the positives from it.
2) I live in the present so much more. I’ve stopped worrying about what should have happened, or what could happen in the future, I just focus on now.
3) I am so grateful for every day. Whatever I’m doing – showering, walking into work, training – I just feel so grateful for the things I have and the things I’m capable of.
Follow Laura on social media and follow her journey!