I have developed a girl crush – big time: Vienda Maria. This lady really not only walks her (very inspiring) talk, but she also has a way of doing it which makes you want to pack light and follow her. Vienda teaches women that life is yours to create and that breaking free from the soul-crushing, restrictive mindset that holds most of us back is the key to living a life of freedom and, if your heart so wishes, travel. And travel she has. Vienda has build a business that allows her to travel the world the gypset style: half gypsy, half jet-setter. Vienda is an inspirational life coach, mentor and a beautiful writer and she has taken me aboard her tribe of women on a mission to live their authentic truth and realise their full potential.
In fact, Vienda, along with her budding gypset Hayley Carr, is taking me on an adventure of a lifetime: The Gypset Adventure (join me, will you? I have a post coming up soon, but shoot me an email if you are curious!) and I literally cannot wait to begin this journey.
But for now, let’s dive in and get to know this beauty!
Describe yourself in a few short sentences.
I am a life coach, author and creative who travels the world, teaching women that they can create the life of their dreams, by learning to value themselves, believe in their dreams and let go of the limiting beliefs, patterns and negative thinking that is holding them back. I believe that our future is in the hands of women, and if we all heal and empower ourselves and each other, this world can be something so specularly beautiful. I believe we can achieve what we all want, a world filled with: love, happiness, peace, success, creative expression, health and abundance.
What is your life philosophy?
I’m not sure I have a life philosophy really, ha! I love that Socrates says “I only know one thing, and that is I know nothing.” But if I had to put something into words, it would be this:
Live simply, love deeply, question everything and find joy in every moment.
Life is made of the pleasures of things, so let’s seek them out and enjoy this physical experience, while we can. That’s why we are here, after all, isn’t it?!
Tell us a bit about your yoga story:: When did you first set foot on a yoga mat and what brought you there?
I’m so happy you asked this question! The first time I stepped foot on a yoga mat was 13 years ago. I was in the first year of my psychology degree and my friends and I decided to sign up to the local gym. My friends all wanted to do pump class, which I tried, but immediately hated. I just am not the weight-lifting kind of girl. So one day, I wandered into the yoga class instead. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I had come home to my body. Things started to make sense, and it just felt so damn good!
Since then my yoga practice has been fluctuating but ongoing. I’ve spent 3 seasons in India taking classes daily, and then had times where something else took my attention for a little while, but no matter what, yoga is always there for me, patiently waiting to return to the mat.
What makes you return to your mat?
Usually it’s my body reminding me that yoga is what it needs. I can just feel in my body that I’m not settling, not grounding, my muscles feel tight and sore, and I feel a little disconnected. In those moments I know it’s time.
What does yoga mean to you? Define it in 5 sweet words.
Body Mind Soul Connection.
What does your yoga practice look like at the moment? How has it evolved over time?
At the moment, I have a home practice which is 2-3 times a week. Often in the afternoon when I have a break between my coaching sessions, or in the evening after I have finished, I’ll light some candles, put on some soft music, light my favourite incense and roll out my mat for a good 50 – 60 minutes to stretch, strengthen and reconnect with my inner and outer body.
I notice that when I liven bigger cities I prefer to attend yoga classes, but at the moment I live in a really peaceful spot in nature, and feel like being really gentle with myself and making the most of that space while I am here.
What have been the most powerful a-ha moments/sparks of inspiration + wisdom that you’ve experienced through yoga?
One thing that I learnt from yoga is the importance of consistency. I used to think that my crazy, whimsical ways were the best way to do life, because that felt so real, and so fun, but yoga taught me that coming back to your practice and doing those same asanas over and over again, actually creates something really magical and special. When applied to the rest of your life, when we keep showing up, and keep doing that thing that feels so good, over time, we change, expand, grow and experience new levels of Being.
A few years ago I was quite a Bikram yogi, it was the kind of training that I felt I needed at that time, and would attend 90 minute classes. I was going through quite an emotionally challenging time, in the relationships I was in, and the high intensity really helped me work through my emotions. I remember one day, while in the heart-opening camel pose, just breaking down and tears flooding down my face. As I completed the sequence and lay down for savasana, I realised that I had to leave this man, in order to follow my heart and create the life that I wanted. It was such an powerful experience.
How did you transform these into life lessons off the mat?
I feel like the most important lessons here is, your body always knows your truth. So listen to it! No matter what the circumstances, your body knows. It’s only our minds that make things complicated and create a fog. So when we pay attention to what our bodies are telling us, we can always make the best decisions for ourselves. Yoga really helps cultivate and nurture the relationship we have with our bodies, making it easier to understand what they are telling us.
What have been the biggest challenges in your practice on + off the mat? What helped you overcome them?
I am lucky to be naturally flexible, so getting into postures on the mat was always easy for me, and my ego got a thrill out of being able to appear to do yoga ‘well’! But the truth is that I was always really lacking in strength which is just as important in yoga, as it is in life. Early last year I decided that I really wanted to develop my physical strength, and since then, it’s been fascinating to observe that, as my arms, legs and core have become stronger — so have my boundaries, my ability to stand my ground and speak my truth, and the ease with which I feel grounded and yet flexible at the same time. It just shows to me how powerful and inseparable the body and mind / spirit connection really is.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a yogi?
Get on your mat! It’s that simple. Just start practicing as often as feels good to you. The journey will take you in it’s strongholds and you will experience what happens next.
And finally, what is your favourite yoga asana and why?
That’s not fair! Haha! It’s hard to choose a favourite, but at the moment I’m really loving pigeon pose. But as I change and go through different phases my favourite asanas change also.
QUICK FIRE Qs::
//How do you feel after your favourite yoga class? AHHHHHHHHH!
//Where is the weirdest place you did yoga? In a strangers living room, in Brighton after a New Year’s party, at 5 in the morning while tripping on acid. Actually, there was a time in my life where that was normal, so it wasn’t really that weird.
//Who’s your yogi crush? (Come on, we all have one!) Actually, I don’t really have one. I mean, there are tonnes of amazing yogis but I’m not really a fan of any specific one.
//Favourite mantra? Currently my favourite affirmation that I use during my yoga practice is “I let go of anything that no longer serves my highest good.” I believe that letting go is the secret to getting what you want.
//Go to feel-good food? Sweet potato in any form! And tea. It’s not a food, but tea makes everything better. Chamomile. Chai.
Vienda is a life coach, writer and creative who travels the world, teaching women how they can create their own reality by uncovering their own truth and embodying their full potential. This is where they discover freedom.
She believes that when we live our lives from a space of love and soul, a transformational ripple occurs that changes our entire world. Making our planet a better, kinder, more peaceful place.
One beautiful, spirited human being at a time.
Vienda’s message has been shared by thousands across the globe through her blog, which reaches over 12,000 inspired folk per month, and platforms such as Cleo Magazine, Tiny Buddha and Roooar Magazine.
Vienda has written 4 eBooks of her own, including the popular Releasing Rituals guide, and has been featured in 3 printed books such as best-seller Love & Oneness from The Adventures of Manifesting series. She is currently working on her very own best-seller, titled ‘Gypset’.
++ Are you in love yet??
To find out more about Vienda + Hayley’s Gypset Adventure check out this Q&A on Vienda’s blog!
Image credit: Vienda Maria