Yoga has brought with it personal and professional fulfilment for Elle Cochrane
- NAME: Elle Cochrane
- AGE: 34
- OCCUPATION: Part-time yoga teacher / administrator
- YOGA YEARS: 8
Why did you start yoga?
As a teen, I struggled with anorexia. I don't remember a lot of the details of the worst parts of my illness but I do know it was a terrible time, not only for myself but for those around me who wanted my ‘sparkle’ to return. While I received treatment and eventually recovered from the eating disorder physically, I was left with emotional trauma and anxiety relating to my experiences. I continued along the path I was laying, training professionally in dance, but ultimately I wasn't strong enough for the judgements of the industry and bowed out feeling like I'd failed. I spent most of the next part of my adult life experiencing dips of anxiety and depression and feeling as though I were broken, unable to understand where my feelings came from. I just didn't like 'me'. Some years after leaving the theatre industry I tried an Ashtanga class and fell in love with it. Initially, it reminded me of ballet, of the way my body had been trained to bend and flex. The physical asana was what drew me in.
How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has come to be a way of life for me. It isn't just about the physical asana on the mat anymore. Yoga has taught me the art of self-study in both my mental and physical state and provides me with a space to heal things which I had long since buried. It has helped me find clarity in aspects of my life I never expected yoga to touch upon. Yoga has allowed me to uncover some of the darkest corners of my mind, allowing me to face my ego and start to dissect some of my assumptions of ‘self’. At the end of 2019 I decided to explore teacher training, undertaking a 200hr with LKY yoga teacher training. I had discovered my personal practice had evolved into a moving meditation, helping me stay present; it allowed my head to connect with my heart and assess what was going on internally. It felt like an inner counsellor that I could turn to when I felt fraught and replace angst with peace. I have found it to be a well-rounded package of self-care. Breathing techniques, asana, meditation and yogic philosophy have allowed me to develop self-awareness both on and off the mat and have had a profound effect on both my mental and physical health.
Favourite yoga haunts?
I love teaching, at the moment I teach via zoom for my regular classes and I honestly could never have imagined how great that would be at the start of this pandemic. For me, online yoga creates a safe and inclusive space for those who are still stuck in the phase of self-doubt. I have so many new yogis joining classes now because they enjoy the anonymity and can experience yoga without fear of judgement from others which in turn allows them to release the judgement they have for themselves. There's still nothing better than working with real yogis and feeling the energy, but for now, online yoga feels like a comfortable and enjoyable space to inhabit.
Best yoga moment?
Adapting my teaching practice so that I can share the best version of my yoga and then receiving feedback from my students about how much they loved the practice, or how much they gleaned from the philosophy I shared, is great. I was also recently asked to share my yoga with a local school for their health and wellbeing day and that was a real highlight. The children were a joy to work with and it was a moment I hope to repeat.
My personal interest lies in Tantric Hatha and using ancient yogic wisdom to direct our more esoteric energies to positively affect our experiences through the use of breath control, coupled with movement. I am so passionate about sharing my love of yogic philosophy and enabling others to positively enhance their circumstances through yoga, I feel like this is the path I was always meant to end up on. It is clear to me that yoga is a life-long journey and one I'm excited to explore and develop for the rest of my forever.
Find Elle Cochrane on Instagram @yoga_byelle and Facebook @yogabyelle
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.