Yoga as a Way of Life with Alida O'Connor
Alida O'Connor shares her yoga journey and explains how yoga has become a way of life for her. Alida teaches a weekly class at Notting Hill on Thursdays and also regularly covers for her teacher Zephyr Wildman.
When did you first realise you wanted to teach?
After a few years of putting my Marketing degree to work in the travel industry in London and New York, I realised that my yoga practice meant more to me than an occasional break from my desk job. I took the leap and completed my 200-hour teacher training with YogaWorks at a retreat in Nicaragua. I have never looked back.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration on your yoga journey so far?
I was lucky enough to find my way to one of Zephyr Wildman’s classes at The Life Centre a couple of years ago and have found her as a huge inspiration to my own personal practice. Zephyr has always been hugely encouraging as I began my journey as a teacher in London… I can’t wait to teach alongside her on our Yoga and Hiking retreat in the Swiss Alps this July.
What can people expect from your class?
I teach a strong alignment based Vinyasa flow which incorporates intelligent sequencing, pranayama and meditation while acknowledging that no two bodies are the same.
What do you like best about teaching at The Life Centre?
I love the sense of community that defines the Life Centre. As you walk through its doors you are filled with a sense of family that is rare in London.
What do you think makes a good teacher?
The best teachers recognise that no two bodies or students are the same and are constantly learning, from teachers and students alike.
What tips would you give to a beginner?
I would advise any beginner to sign up to a beginners class, or better still a course. It is so important for students to understand the physical mechanics of the basic postures before delving into a more experienced class. It can be intimidating walking into a class for the first time so maybe take a friend and turn it into a shared experience.
What is your favourite asana?
My favourite asana is Dhanurasana (bow pose). My body is naturally more suited to backbends than forward folds. If I’m finding backbends quite a struggle in my practice it’s normally a good indication that I’m closing off emotionally in the more subtle body. Discerning subtle changes in the body and connecting them with your emotional state is one of my fascinations with yoga.
Where might we find you on your days off?
Anywhere in the great outdoors. I feel very at home in the countryside having only left rural Ireland not so long ago. In London, I spend a lot of time roaming around Hyde Park with my dog.
How do you practice yoga off the mat?
I am extremely grateful to have found yoga and to those who encouraged me to follow my calling. Yoga has become a way of life for me and I try to follow its guidance in everything I do; from how I nourish my body, the consumer choices I make and how I interact with the people I encounter daily. A heartfelt conversation with a student can be as important as learning a new pose.