Jackie Heffer-Cooke explains how she changed her life from TV Executive to Yoga Teacher. It was all to do with following her ‘why’…
New year is always a great time for reflections and motivations. A time when we can look over our accomplishments, be kind about our mistakes, and set to making new plans for the exciting fresh year ahead.
A sankalpa is a yogic ‘new year resolution’. It’s an intention, a one-pointed resolve to focus body, mind and soul on a specific goal. It’s a tool employed to harness the will, to focus on our intention and clearly, yet calmly, move towards it, without struggle. Of course, a true sankalpa is not formed by the ‘I Will’, but more by the ‘Thy will’. It’s the true nature which guides your choices.
This true nature could be called the ‘what’s your why’. I recently went to an excellent conference and the speaker talked with passion to a group of young individuals who teach sport in schools about finding the ‘what’s your why’. This he claimed is the only way to live your life, to not only know why you are doing something, but to feel it.
I understand the ‘what’s my why’. It’s the reason I didn’t sustain the high pressures of working as a TV Executive, I like what I did, some days I loved it, (some days I hated it), but it wasn’t my ‘why’ and therefore I just didn’t feel it.
What is my ‘why’?
My ‘why’ began to stir back in 2001 when I attended a ‘stress management’ course along with the rest of my TV team. I sat in the training room with the others, learning about the stress response system and the damage living too long in it can do to your health, and I looked around at my colleagues suffering with colds, and headaches, and back pain and sometimes worse (for one producer alopecia) and then I went home and took a long hard look at myself in the mirror – is this it? Is this life?
For me, the catalyst of finding my ‘why’ was having my daughter Megan. Life turned upside down and landed on its head, and I liked it. (Maybe that’s why I like to throw a yogic headstand now and again, it’s always fun to look at things from a completely different perspective and consider the view).
Becoming a mum, and then later a yoga teacher, a hypnobirthing practitioner, a massage therapist, these things gave me my ‘why’. My specialism is in pregnancy, birth, baby, family yoga and retreats for families and adults. There is no better ‘why’ than teaching brilliant breathing techniques for birth, sitting with a new mum after class and chatting through the craziness of new mothering, or propelling me and my kids to zoom to the moon in a family yoga afternoon. All of this is yoga, all of what I teach and has been passed on to me to pass on to others, like an eternal feeling of just passing stuff on, woman to woman, person to person, nurturing stuff to make that human being feel a little more secure, cosy and warm. That’s what yoga is to me, that’s my ‘why’.
So, this year do it. Be brave and move with your personal current, rather than against it. Follow your ‘why’ with what you feel you are, and you will never look back. Affirm it, asana it, meditate on it, do what feels right, but just go with it. You will never look back!
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