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In conversation with Blair Hughes...


September

This month we caught up with our amazing brother Blair to find out a little more about his yoga journey and his exciting new journey as a teacher trainee facilitator

Tell us a little about how you first came to  yoga…

I was introduced to yoga many years ago whilst playing sport back in Scotland. It was actually sport psychology which initially blew my mind as I realised how powerful it was for sport players. I then asked how else I could learn about visualisation, and how you could use your mind to excel in the sport you are playing. My teacher said that if I really wanted to learn about the body and mind, then learn and practice yoga. It was great advice, even though it took me another 14 years to establish a regular daily yoga and meditation practice.

Where did you learn to teach yoga? 

Power Living in Neutral Bay was my first yoga teacher training about 10 years ago. I think it was their second teacher training, which was amazing as all 14 of us had Duncan Peak, the founder, all the way through the training. It was pretty hardcore, which I loved because I so craved and needed to see myself from a new vantage point. I believe it was a major turning point of my life.

How did your first class go?

My first real teaching yoga class outside of friends and training was at Crunch Gym in Leichhardt. I was about 2 weeks out of my first YTT, and I received a call about 12pm, if I could teach at 4pm. I jumped at the chance, and it was so much fun. I just taught the standard sequence, with so much enthusiasm, and it wasn’t until savasana, when I was sitting observing all 40 women lying completely free, that I realised the anxiety had gone and I will confess that tears were running down my cheeks. Then, Sacred Earth stopped playing and I had to pull myself together. I will never forget that class as it was where my Freedom From Anxiety workshops that I used to run came from. We change in yoga with really small steps at a time, and if we just keep showing up, an organic transformation will happen. It is what I call “Real Transformation”.

Do you think the way you teach has changed over time?

I love this question because yes it has changed; yet I always check in with my early days of teaching, because I had so much enthusiasm and fun teaching as I kept it accessible for people, yet most definitely challenged them physically and mentally in order to tough their soul. I very much appreciate the teaching methodology that I was gifted by Duncan Peak and Baron Baptiste.

As for how I have changed. Firstly, I trained as a Check exercise and holistic lifestyle coach and coached 15-30 clients a week for over 8 years, so this has influenced by understanding of the body massively. I also trained in NLP, hypnosis, human behaviour with Academy of Wealth and Achievement in California. These trainings completely change how I communicate in yoga classes and with clients big time.

Then, of course, all of the yoga trainings and teachers who have influenced me, which there are too many to talk about here.

The biggest shift has been in my ability to hold space, ask questions and access people’s unconscious minds through metaphor and hypnosis and create inductive learnings for the students. I believe this is the foundation of empowerment; creating real and positive change within people’s lives. This is what drives me as a yoga teacher!

How do you start your day, do you have a morning routine?

I have to smile at this one, as the people who know me know I’m pretty disciplined and always have been, which is great as long as you’re doing the right things 🙂

I always start my day with meditation. It used to be 20 minutes and now if I have time, it is 1 hour or more. If I do not have time, I will sit for even 2-3 minutes. It is that important. I will then go and practice or teach and practice straight after. As far as nourishment, I only have half a litre of water as soon as i’v mediated, and depending on my morning, I prep a smoothie the night before, which is usually coconut and flesh, activated nuts, ghee or fat of some kind with a few other bits and bobs.

I’m big on rotating foods and nutrients. I only really have blueberries, as far as fruits which goes into my smoothies. I also have other compelling daily rituals that really help as well.

Has practicing yoga had an impact on your life?

Impact? It has completely transformed me. I am not so self-conscious and a lot more self aware. I believe in yoga and when I say yoga I mean the whole shebang – “Raja Yoga” and the 8 limbs. I still have my insecurities definitely, but I’m so much more aware of them and really see them. I used to be pretty shy, although you would not see it, but now I’m so much more comfortable within myself and love to get to know people most of the time:)

You have now started running your own Teacher trainings.  What can teacher trainees expect when they choose your 200 hour training?

Running my own teacher trainings was never actually on my radar. It wasn’t until Malvina Kang from Hom Yoga asked, did I even really consider it. But, when she asked, I clearly remember my whole body lighting up and I grabbed that moment and anchored it in my nervous system.

This has truly brought so much focus and meaning into my life. The main focus of the 200 hour trainings is to:

1. Learn how to deliver a powerful and classical vinyasa sequence, with excellence and precision to inspire and empower your students.

2. Learn how to access your intuition from day one of training. Teaching from your truth is the most powerful and influential way to transform your yoga students and the yogi within you.

3. Learn how to keep ourselves accountable through ritual; how our own practice and experiences are the way in which we can be authentic to teach from the heart.

On my recent 200 hour training, all of the students answered 10/10 for these three intentions, and you could see it on the last day that all of them had achieved this, which was so humbling and so exciting for them.

What else is on the horizon for you this year?

2017 has been a massive year for me growth wise, 10+ years on the making. I sometimes ask myself if this is what I’m meant to be doing right now, and in all honesty, I question it sometimes as the rewards financially can be challenging yet when I really tap into my deeper self, there is never any doubt and I trust all will be okay!

So yes, this year I have Inspired Teaching on October 7-8 & 14-15 in Darlinghurst which is a 50-hour Yoga Alliance accredited training which I’m super excited about sharing how to inspire and empower students using The 8 Limbs of Yoga as the tried and tested road map to transform peoples’ lives organically.

I also have a 70-hour teachers’ retreat Nov 28 to Dec 4, about 1.5 hours outside of Sydney called The Art of Living Yoga where I will be sharing all that I’ve learned as a yoga teacher over the last 10 years. The intention for this retreat is to bring yoga teachers together for us all to learn and share what is working for us and what has to change within us to show up more authentic and powerful in our lives and for our students.

I also have some teaching and workshops planned for possibly overseas!

To connect and follow Blair go to:

blairhughes.com

@blair.hughes

And visit him at Yogatime! He teaches and holds space every Sunday 4.30pm and 6pm.