A little look into the background and world of Yoga Azores co-founder Mandy in our teacher highlight series.
What got you into yoga?
When I was 21 I lived in Singapore for a few months and visited other south east Asian countries whilst there. It opened my eyes to different ways of understanding the world. I became interested in Buddhism and read lots of books about it - in one of them Yoga was mentioned so I looked for a yoga book. There began my first dip into yoga with Richard Hittleman's 28 day exercise plan! I didn't take it that seriously but it was something that I kept coming back to. Then upon return to England I started going to classes. What really 'got me into it' was realising that here was something that addressed body, heart and mind and I felt better for doing it.
What is yoga to you?
A practice. A way of life. A way of understanding the world. My practice on the mat includes mindful movement, breathing, mantra, mudra, reflection and meditation. For me the main practice is meditation because it is the most direct way to experience yoga. I am really interested in all the ways we practice and experience yoga off the mat.
How do you practice sustainability or social awareness?
Moving to the Azores from England was largely motivated by a desire to try to live in a more sustainable way. We live in a yurt which is a very low impact dwelling and have a couple of sheds for our kitchen space etc. We compost everything, including our own waste, we generate our electricity via solar and wind, we use all of our grey water on the garden, we grow a lot of our own food (organically), we buy very little stuff apart from food that we can't grow and a few extras. Every decision I make, especially when consuming, has the question 'what is/has been the impact of this to the environment and people?'. So that means being mainly vegan and always going for organic and fair trade when it is an option.
What do you love about the Azores?
Well, speaking from the perspective of this little Azorean island of Santa Maria, I love the quiet, the nature, the lack of pollution, the laid back culture, the slow pace and the climate!
What are you grateful for today?
My beautiful daughter Ostara who reminds me every day of all that is good in the world.