We asked how practicing yoga helped our members overcome challenges, change limiting beliefs, heal and grow… And we received extraordinary tales of transformation.
Each story is significant and has the power to inspire others – we are yoga practitioners, friends, family, humans… And together we share the happiness and sadness, positivity and challenge, success and loss that have composed the chapters of our yoga stories. This isGwendolyn Cawdron’s story.
Yoga teacher dreams
I’m going to be a yoga teacher when I grow up! – I’ve said for nearly fifteen years.
In fact, I am a professional classical musician – I play viola in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and before this I played with the Philharmonia Orchestra, in London.
Dabbling to dedicated
My earliest memory of doing yoga was attempting a Gaia Yoga VHS, as a teen, in my living room. I dabbled in yoga during my music college days, but it was in London in my mid-20’s that I got into it seriously, starting with Bikram Yoga. I loved the heat, the repetition and the workout. The rigour and the sense of accomplishment I felt afterwards also appealed!
I then stumbled on a Dutch teacher, Esther Ekhart, when searching for yoga videos online. I loved her kind nature and crystal clear instruction. It was through her I learned Sun Salutations and proper alignment – and kindness to myself in the process!
Around this time, I brought yoga into my workplace, the Philharmonia Orchestra. Philharmonia is a busy international touring orchestra and I first started brainstorming yoga sequences while standing in airport queues, trying them out on orchestra friends who were keen.
I made sure to clarify that I wasn’t a qualified yoga teacher, and that everyones’ body was their own responsibility… Then I would lead sessions of twenty or thirty minutes, often making up the sequences as we went, based on the recent Esther videos I’d done.
I loved the camaraderie and we all felt better in our bodies and minds from it – and performed better as a result.
I looked into Esther’s yoga teacher training but didn’t feel confident enough in my own yoga ability to go ahead. To this day I wonder “what if” about those.
Flow and peace
When I moved to Liverpool 5.5 years ago, I fell out of the yoga flow. It’s only quite recently that I’ve come back to it – to ease some aches and pains from viola playing, and to find more mental peace in a life full of demanding work and mothering a toddler!
The first place I turned was back to Esther, and discovered the rich, generous world that is the EkhartYoga website. I love the variety and quality of the instruction. And I’ve practiced with various programs on the website (like 20 is Plenty) nearly every morning for the past six weeks!
It’s felt like coming home.
Self-care and courage
I’ve been so inspired by rekindling my love of yoga that I finally signed up for yoga teacher training! I still feel like a novice in my own yoga journey but now my aim is to connect with myself in the moment – through linking movement, awareness and breath, and offering myself the gift of self care.
I want to share this gift with others too, through yoga classes – especially teenage musicians and those who wouldn’t have the means or confidence to seek out a yoga class but would really benefit from it.
I offer this story with thanks and love to Esther and the amazing EkhartYoga teachers who are helping me on my journey!
~ Gwendolyn Cawdron, UK
Throughout June, we’re sharing stories of transformation from members of our EkhartYoga community leading up to a special class with Esther on International Day of Yoga 21st June. We invite you to follow along on Facebook and Instagram or via our weekly newsletter.
Register here for Esther’s free yoga class. We’ll send you the link to the class on 21st June 2022