By Yasir El Mahdi
Meet one of the first few who will join Alex online and in person for the Hybrid Yoga Teacher Training. She first joined us for the 30 Day Sober Challenge and like she'd like to think (and so are we) that the universe brought her to the MLPC. Beth agreed to be in our 4th issue of the magazine and we're so appreciative. Enjoy getting to know our friend...
Who is Beth?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia and also lived in NYC for a few years. A lovely Irishman swept me across the ocean at 34 years old and I've been living in Dublin for over 10 years now. Leaving the law firm life back in the States, I now work in the corporate world. The work / life balance in Europe enables me to make many of my travel dreams come true. My large, extended family and great friends usually don't keep me away from Philly for too long without a visit. The expat life isn't easy, but it sure makes my life adventurous!
How did you meet Alex?
After following Alex and MLPC on Instagram, she kept popping up on my feed, so it was either the algorithm or little nudges from the universe. I'd like to believe the latter! I can't wait to meet Alex (as well as the group) in May during my YTT in Bali. Global connection through the internet is great, but meeting people in person is always special.
What inspired you to start practicing yoga?
A good friend invited me to a hot yoga class in 2008. I played basketball in college and I thought I needed something less impactful on my joints, in addition to swimming. Yoga fit the bill and help me stay present. When I practice yoga, it feels like I'm in my own bubble of calmness and I like that, even if it's just for a little while.
What’s your connection to the MLPC?
Initially I joined MLPC for the 30 Day Challenge, knowing full well I probably needed to sign up for the full challenge. After a few weeks, I loved the community and yoga so much that I upgraded to the 108 Day Challenge. This week we are learning about the niyama called santosha, which means contentment or satisfaction. I also started the hybrid 200 YTT, which is 100 Hour online and then 100 Hour in Bali in May. It seemed like the best of both worlds for my schedule. Needless to say, I am fully immersed in yoga and the MLPC community and it's really great.
How did you end up being so committed to yoga?
Yoga and I have been circling each other for about 15 years now. It's helped me in different seasons of my life and I've also abandoned it when I probably needed it the most. Practicing yoga every day for the past 2 1/2 months is the longest I've consistently practiced. I've only been so committed to yoga because of the way it makes me feel in my body, mind and soul. Surrendering to the commitment and consistency of it has shifted something and leaves me asking for more yoga! It's never boring. When I think I conquered or figured out something on the mat, there's something else right behind it waiting to challenge me.
Did you face any challenges during the month of February?
It's still pretty dark in the mornings and early evenings in February. As Ireland is so much higher on the map than Philly, winters tend to be difficult. After 10 years, it still affects me. This year I focused on embracing the dark with simple, daily actions that made me happy - yoga, reading, cooking and writing, to name a few. Getting rid of the alcohol 100% made a huge difference as well.
What are the biggest benefits you’ve reaped from your yoga practice?
Quieting my mind and calming anxiety. It's also a great mood booster for me.
What’s your favorite posture?
I really enjoy any forward fold. My favorite is the wide-legged forward fold (prasarita padottanasana). It's a great stretch that creates a calming effect for me.
"Needless to say, I am fully immersed in yoga and the MLPC community and it's really great."
What’s your most difficult posture?
Where do I start?! Ha. Currently, it is wheel pose (urdhva dhanurasana) and crow pose (bakasana). I am working on strengthening my body and core.
What is your favorite type(s) of yoga? And why?
I love a long, hot yoga class. It helps me with flexibility, deepens my poses and I work up a sweat. The heat helps me stay in the present moment (not necessarily by choice!). Alternatively, I love the slow, held poses in a yin class. Sometimes that is harder than a hot yoga class for me - to turn inward for longer periods. It helps release emotions too.
Any words of wisdom to those just starting out?
Step out of your comfort zone and lean into the unknown. Let yourself be vulnerable to learn new things and make mistakes and it will crack open your body, mind and spirit in time. Also, try not to focus entirely on the physicalness of the poses. It's not a competition (as I remind myself as well). Yoga benefits the mind so much more than we think.