A R I A D N E / / K A P S A L I

My Yoga Story: An interview with Carly Jennings

My Yoga Story: An interview with Carly Jennings

Oh I am so thrilled this day has finally come! You know when you are in a yoga studio, or flicking through the pages of a magazine and you think Wow, I wonder how she does itOr when you have finally braved that new yoga class and you place your mat at the far right corner of the room wondering how the hell you are going to fit in with all these perfect yogis all around you?

I’ve always been so curious about what different people’s yoga practice looks like; what draws people in and why; how they keep motivated; what they get from doing yoga; what yoga means to them. I want to know people’s Yoga Story.

I believe once yoga enters your life, it can truly cause major shifts on a body, mind and soul level, but I am convinced it does not look the same for everyone. People take yoga and make it theirs. Yoga is so much more than a physical exercise and people do yoga for all sorts of different reasons. Imagine the variety of different experiences, different stories, different lessons. So I decided to find out!

Welcome to the first of the Interview Series: My Yoga Story! Every week for the next few months I’ll be bringing you the yoga stories of amazing people (bloggers, wellness warriors, yoga teachers and lots more), who have opened up about what brought them to the mat, the challenges they have faced and what they’ve learnt through their yoga journey. If you are like me (i.e. slightly nosy and suffering from comparisonitis), you’ll love this inside view of people’s yoga life and I’m hoping it will help you let go of what yoga should look like.

I hope these interviews inspire you to get on your mat, breathe and Shape your own Yoga Story.

So let’s kick off!

My first guest is beautiful Carly Jennings from Living Brightly. I have had the immense pleasure of connecting with Carly through our online spaces and I can say her journey is truly inspirational. Being diagnosed with a chronic health condition which still remains a medical mystery, Carly has carved her own healing path, patiently researching and learning to take care of her whole self, stepping up and taking control of her life. Although we have not met in person, Carly exudes this gentle, warm energy, which feels contagious and I like to think she gives excellent hugs! (I will let you know when we meet one day!)

It is such an honour to have Carly share her yoga journey and I am sure you will fall in love pretty quickly.

Describe yourself in a few short sentences.
I am a work in progress – both physically on a healing level and emotionally on a soulful level. I have realised that Life means being open to evolving and growing constantly.
I can be deep, fearful and sensitive, yet playful, strong and witty. I am clumsy yet somehow graceful. A unique collection of traits – just as we all are.
I rarely think anything is simply black or white, and tend to see the spectrums of grey constantly. This can make me question things a lot…
I am caring, kind and generous. I am fiercely loyal and protective to those I love. I struggle to be happy if my family/friends are not okay. I am working on this…. I have flaws as we all do.

What is your life philosophy?
I tend to look on the bright side of life and whilst I feel blessed that this is my nature I also credit my practices towards nourishing this philosophy. I am choosing to accept myself just as I am whilst allowing growth. Choosing to judge less. I believe in being grateful for what I have and always remembering that the most important things in life are people and love. I believe that generally most people are fundamentally good at heart and that we have the power to create change.

Now, let’s talk yoga!

Tell us a bit about your yoga story. When did you first step foot on a yoga mat and what brought you there?
I first discovered yoga some years ago when I came across a DVD for Yoga & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was very unwell at the time and been bed-bound for a long time and I had no concept of the Mind/Body/Soul connection at all. I had absolutely no awareness that I could do ‘anything’ to aid my situation or even help myself to cope. No concept that yoga could be spiritual, deep, restorative and healing. No clue. It just wasn’t on my radar.
It took a long time for me to understand more, and to bring more spritual practices into my world. The difficulty was that mostly these practices did not impact my long term chronic health condition (which has evolved to Autoimmune Thyroid/Adrenals & Parvo Virus) and so I was not instantly able to appreciate their effectiveness.
Now however, I have a deep understanding that whilst yoga is not a cure (for me), it is a fundamental element of laying good foundations for healing and growing and being joyful – whatever your circumstance. Yoga can only make things better. It is as necessary as good food and deep breathing. It connects me to myself and grounds me. It allows me to calm my nervous system down and be in a position where healing can be activated. It strengthens me at my own pace. It does more than I can ever truly put into words.

What makes you return to your mat?
I return to my mat through love and faith. I know the mat will make me feel better even if I only do a few very simple stretches. The peace and clarity will emerge as I gently move in time with the breath. I know I am building something each time I lay on my mat. I am growing on the mat. I am facilitating healing at a deep core level as one part of my plan. Returning to the mat is returning to myself. Simple. And the more I return to my core self the more peace and internal strength and courage I experience. It is both my tool to cope and my tool to expand.


What does yoga mean to you? Define it in 5 sweet words.
Growth. Expansion. Depth. Peace. Nourishment.

What does your yoga practice look like at the moment? How has it evolved over time?
At the moment I still practice very gentle yoga. I am okay with this. It is not an excerise plan for me. I try to do some yoga most days. Mostly it is a relaxation sequence which calms the para-sympathetic nervous system down. Sometimes I do a few postures which feel liberating and powerful. One day I hope to do so much more, but I will appreciate the journey so much more for its length and depth – much as I will appreciate health all the more when I achieve it.

What have been the most powerful a-ha moments/sparks of inspiration + wisdom that you’ve experienced through yoga?
That I am a soul and all the anxiety and unease I feel is not ‘me’. Yoga connects me to my core. My essence. There is a beauty there. Yoga makes me wiser! Haha.

How did you transform these into life lessons off the mat?
Yoga correlates with my life in so many ways. All that I learn on the mat I apply to my healing journey. They all overlap and interspherse now. I try to live life as mindfully as much as I can. Yoga is one part of a bigger picture for me. An essential and grateful practice which aid a long-term ongoing recovery journey. I feel wiser, stronger and more intuitive within my life’s practices.

What have been the biggest challenges in your practice on + off the mat? What helped you overcome them?
Initially the challenge was physical as I tried to do more than I could manage. Once I accepted that yoga was not about pushing myself and found peace with gentle yoga, it all fell into place. I was basically coming at yoga from the wrong angle to begin with for me. Now it fits into my world and is a form of moving meditation. It took time to accept this, but gradually I guess I just evolved naturally and became a little wiser… it took a while though!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a yogi?
Don’t focus on wanting to ‘be’ – just do. You already are what you desire to be anyway. Just get on the mat right now and breathe … and grow and see where it all takes you.

And finally, what is your favourite yoga asana and why?
I don’t know the name, but I like the one where you lay on the floor and bring your heels together towards your hips. It feels expansive and my breathing can deepen further. I put my hand on my belly and shut my eyes.…. {BLISS}.


Are you in love with this gorgeous woman yet or what?! 

Carly is a Wellbeing Blogger embracing Health, Healing, Creativity & Purpose. She is a passionate Writer, Mentor & Health Enthusiast who is enchanted by the magic of (written) words, and the power of sharing your story. 

As a long term Health sufferer of CFS/ME/Thyroid/Adrenal/Autoimmune & Viral illness she hopes to gently inspire and support those on a healing journey, whilst continuing to pursue her own ongoing healing quest. She believes that true radiant Wellbeing is a perfect (unique) synchronistic blend of Mind, Body & Soul medicine.

A mantra to choose Love over Fear in each situation, and to pursue our own dreams regardless of circumstance. To encourage your own inner guru to glow.

Additionally you will find her sweetly chatting in depth (and gratitude) about Clean Food,  Soul Development + Bliss, Organic Lifestyle + Beauty  and Writing/Blogging.

Carly shares her story over at Living Brightly (check out her post on What is Yoga communicating to you?) and she is the author of a yummy Recipe Book – full of Gluten, Dairy & Sugar Free Snacks & Deserts, which you can get for FREE when you sign up for her newsletter! No brainer, right?

Let’s leave Carly some love in the comments below for being such an inspiration!

Namaste xx

Image credit: Carly Jennings