Esther Nagle

Yoga And Wellbeing Teacher

Speaker Interview

Q: Please tell us a little about who you are and what you do

I am a single mother from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales. I love to walk in the hills and coastlines of Wales, having developed a passion for walking following the very untimely death of my brother in 2005. I teach Yoga in my local community, teaching in community centres, schools and local businesses, as well as across the world through the power of the internet. I love to teach people to breathe, and this is my focus on Space to Breathe Academy, where I teach through virtual one to one sessions and group experiences. I also write. I have written a book about my recovery from addiction through Yoga, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga. I write on my own blog and on sobermommies.com, as part of the regular writing team. I firmly believe that we all have the power to transform our lives in this very moment, and it begins with taking a deep breath, grounding yourself in the present, and exhaling all you no longer want in life.

Q: What would you say is your specialty in your industry?

I am less concerned with teaching people to put their body into precisely aligned, complex and gymnastic postures, than I am about teaching them to breathe and relax. While a flexible body is healthy and enables greater mobility and relaxation, it is not really the goal of Yoga. The most important part of Yoga, to me, is learning to control, improve and connect to your breath. When you can do this, your body will become healthier, your mind calmer, and the two become unified and balanced. If I could only teach one aspect of Yoga for the rest of my life, I would teach people to breathe.

Q: How long have you been in this industry?

I began teaching in my local community in September 2014.

Q: What's your story of how you got into your business

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Q: What are your 3 biggest success's in your business to date

The publication of my book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, was one of the proudest moments of my life. Becoming an author had been a dream I had since childhood, and part of me still gets a thrill about the fact that I did it 3 years later! Being invited to deliver a wellbeing session for Menzies Aviation was a real privilege. Teaching senior management at such a powerful and important company to breathe and relax was a great honour. They work in highly stressful jobs, and really benefitted from the session. Finally following my dream and focusing my atttention on teaching breathing, and launching Space to Breathe Academy in January 2019 was amazing. Teaching people to breathe and seeing the transformation that happens so quickly for them, fills me with joy.

Q: What would you have done differently in your business knowing what you know right now?

Initially I wanted to focus on helping people in recovery, but I had no idea really how I wanted to do that. I was still in early recovery myself, and full of imposter syndrome, not surprising given the years of self loathing that had fuelled my addiction. This allowed my inner critic to seize control and I found myself constantly coming up against reasons not to progress. If I could go back and develop my business differently, I would focus my attention far more on promoting the benefits of learning to breathe, and showing people how it can help reduce stress, manage the emotions, promote better sleep and much more. This, combined with my story and the networks I am in, would have allowed me to speak to people in recovery in a different way.

Q: What is a common myth in your industry?

That Yoga is all about what you can do with your body. Western Yoga has altered Yoga significantly. Yoga is now seen as being a fitness thing, a workout, and the pinnacle of success in your practice is how bendy your body is. This is not the case at all, and the Western yoga practitioners are missing out on a lot because of it. Yoga is a whole way of life, that can guide the practitioner into a life of inner peace, health and contentment.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you help your customers overcome ?

We live in a society that stresses out the human body and mind almost 24 hours a day. We are over stimulated, over worked, and overloaded. The stresses we face just to get through the day is enormous. Our consumerist society tells us that happiness and wellbeing are to be found in consumable products, so we eat, drink, spend, smoke and scroll our time and health away, seeking happiness and contentment in the world outside us. These things don't bring us peace, they do the exact opposite. It is only when we go within, connect to the breath, calm the body, and learn to still the mind, that we can truly begin to find peace. This is what I can help with. By teaching people to connect to, and improve the breath, I show them that they can find peace and calm almost instantly with just a few breaths. With regular practice of what I teach, sleep can be improved, energy levels rise and stress levels fall. Learning to breathe well increases resilience to stress, and can promote that sense of wellbeing that advertising tells us we have to buy.

Q: Tell us 1 thing that is not commonly known about you

I am not your typical Instagram Yoga teacher. You won't see me sharing pictures of me in complex contortions. I don't believe that this is what Yoga is about. I am not the epitome of 'Zen Like calm' that you might expect a Yoga teacher to be - I am a talkative, excitable, tattooed rock chick with ADHD who still has many mental health problems. I don't believe these things make me 'un-Yogic'. They are who I am and I am. For the first time in my life, I am proud of who I am, warts and all. One of the gifts of Yoga is the way it allows us to see, accept and love the whole of who we are. That doesn't mean that we don't try to grow and become better at being us, but we do it from a place of love and acceptance, rather than the idea that there is something 'wrong' with us.

Q: What is your big mission that has kept you going in business

 look around me and see so many stressed out and unhappy people, and I know that learning to breathe can change that. I have a crazy mission to teach one million women around the world to breathe. It is a terrifying one, but I know that in doing this, so much could be improved in the world. Calm, happy women who are able to take control of their emotions will spread that calm happiness in so many ripples around them. Calm happy mothers create calm happy children, and can help their partners to become calm and happy as well. Maybe, just maybe, we could create a calm, happy society that doesn't need to destroy itself and the world it lives in for the pursuit of 'growth at all costs'. Maybe if enough people can truly understand that happiness lies in the breath, and that we depend on the world around us for that breath, we will remember that we are part of nature, not owners of it.

Q:BONUS QUESTION - If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

I would clean the air we breathe in and grow trees in abundance. Sadly, while I love to promote the benefits of good breathing, we are facing a very real problem of air pollution across the world. Trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate, the very same trees we depend on for our ability to breathe. Trees take in the carbon dioxide we breathe out and convert it to the oxygen we need to breathe in. We need clean air and we need trees.

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