Starting out first as an Ashtanga teacher, Zoë Porter, 35, is now passionate about sharing the benefits of Rocket Yoga to open up this challenging practice to more people, as well as offering Yin for a bit of balance. Later this year, her first crop of teacher trainees will be graduating from her Zoë Porter Yoga academy.
What style of yoga do you teach?
I practiced and taught Ashtanga Yoga exclusively for over 10 years, which gave me a very strong foundation as a teacher. I’m now using that background to run my own Ashtanga Yoga teacher training courses in the New Forest. In the last few years, I have also started teaching Rocket and Yin. I’m really passionate about Rocket. I love the whole ethos behind it — you’ve got the pace and challenge of Ashtanga, but without the rules and dogma.
What made you take your first yoga class?
I tried yoga for the first time as a teenager around 20 years ago and absolutely hated it. I thought it was so slow and boring and had absolutely no interest in trying it ever again. After my son was born in 2009 I was doing every workout I could and by complete chance discovered Ashtanga. It was an absolute game changer for me; this yoga was not slow, or boring, and I was hooked.
How has yoga helped you grow as a person?
It’s been an interesting journey; in the beginning I felt as though there was a certain type of person I had to be to fulfil this persona of ‘yogi’. Trying to mould myself to this might have looked externally as growth, but was inauthentic. I’m now just more accepting and understanding of the person I’ve alway been, and living in a way more honest and true to myself. Yoga and shadow work have definitely allowed me to process and work through my past to come to a better place of awareness and understanding, able to navigate this life with more grace.
What things are you most grateful for?
My family. My son and my husband are my anchors and the reasons why I have been able to achieve everything that I have.
How do you stay motivated?
I like to be constantly learning new things and taking on new challenges. Motivation isn’t something that is always there for me, or easy to maintain. Having a routine helps me get through it when I’m going through periods of lower motivation. And, of course, the passion always comes back!
How do you practice yoga off the mat?
Life is much like yoga, an exercise in being present and joyful. Not something I always manage to achieve — but definitely strive for! I don’t believe that yoga is a religion — it’s not about imposing a set of morals on myself, or on others, but a journey of self-discovery.
What else are you passionate about ?
I love being creative and I express that through my other work, Shambhala Dreadlocks, where I create and install dreadlocks. Music is very important to me, and I love body art, and reading and learning as much as possible. Lately I’ve been learning Dutch. There aren’t enough hours in the day for all of the things I get excited about!
“My first cohort of teacher trainees will be graduating in October, which will be a huge achievement for me as well as for them. It’s been incredible to have the opportunity to support them as they take their first steps in their yoga careers.”
What's your favourite quote/ motto?
“Rules hinder progress” — Brian Cooper.
How do you practice self-care?
Self-care for me is all about healthy boundaries, and being careful about not over committing myself. I need plenty of quiet alone time to recharge. I love taking days where I am phone and internet-free and totally unreachable.
What's next for you?
My first cohort of teacher trainees will be graduating in October, which will be a huge achievement for me as well as for them. It’s been incredible to have the opportunity to support them as they take their first steps in their yoga careers. I’m looking forward to starting my next course in April, and in the future I would love to expand my training offerings with CPDs [continuous professional development courses] for qualified teachers.