With the world moving so fast around us, it can be difficult to stop and just...breathe.
That stillness is something that we need for mental clarity and to keep us grounded. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the world outside, but it’s very important to take time for yourself and just be.
This is what Naomi Schogler believes is important for everybody’s health and wellbeing and has dedicated her life to teaching others how to harness this within themselves through the therapeutic power of yoga.
You can learn more about Naomi, her practice, her classes, and her nutrition business here:
Tell me about your professional background.
I have always had an interest in health and wellbeing both physical health and peace of mind health. I definitely suffered from existentialist angst through my teens and was drawn to music and the peace and love and freedom ideologies of the 1970s – and the clothes too!
Funnily enough even though I had travelled to India aged 19 and yoga was available at my university, I didn’t fully begin to understand the joys of yoga until 2003 when I was pregnant with my daughter Coco. I fell on my feet when I went to a beautiful centre in the West of Edinburgh called Mulberry House. My yoga teacher was called Caitlin Heavey and she is still in my life.
Six years ago, when I was in my early 40s, I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training here in Edinburgh at the studio I had been practicing at and where my favourite yoga teachers were, Meadowlark Yoga which is in Marchmont and faces the beautiful Meadows. I continued to take lots more yoga teacher training courses over the years since my initial training. Qualifying in pregnancy and post natal yoga and most recently specifically in women’s health yoga and peri/ menopause yoga teacher training. Currently my work week is evenly laid out between teaching yoga classes and English classes.
I have also developed a small nutrition product which people can buy if they want to add the seed cycling protocol to their day. This is a way in which women can support their hormones through eating pumpkin and linseeds during weeks 1 and 2 of the monthly cycle and sesame and sunflower seeds during the second phase. I grind and blend organic seeds and package them up to people which makes seed cycling almost effortless. I called this business Happy Hormones Seeds.
What made you want to get into this field?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a yoga teacher but just didn’t realize until quite late! I needed to live through the ups and downs of life till my 40s until I was ready to become a yoga teacher. I loved all the yoga classes I ever went to in a powerful way and I suppose I became keen to “deepen my practice” which led me to becoming a yoga teacher.
I have found yoga very effective in my life and it helped me dodge having back surgery after a herniated disc led to excruciating months’ long sciatica. It felt like an almost miraculous recovery. My regular yoga classes helped to heal my back and nerve pain and obviously that was life changing. I haven’t stopped practicing yoga since then and am keen for everyone to have access to yoga’s benefits.
What has been your favorite aspect of this work?
I am a people person so I really enjoy meeting all the new people that I might not have come across if I hadn’t been doing this work. Currently I teach online and studio classes but also specialized classes for refugees and asylum seeking women and also a weekly class for injured veterans. As soon as I finished my yoga teacher training I applied to teach with Laura Wilson and Lorraine Close who had set up a not for profit yoga organisation in Edinburgh called Edinburgh Community Yoga.
This is their mission statement:
“We take the therapeutic benefits of yoga to communities in Edinburgh, ensuring access and inclusion, by working across the cultural, economic and health barriers that inhibit people from taking part. We aim to provide a learning environment that is safe and supportive, and to equip people with the skills to deal with stress, and improve their health and mental well-being. We achieve this as a not-for-profit organisation, offering a range of quality outreach projects, public and corporate classes and retreats, as well as teacher training.”
I love their ethos, their authenticity, wealth of knowledge, their kindness. ECY teachers form a very lovely supportive community which I am proud to be part of. When I was younger I wanted to work as a counsellor or therapist as well as dreaming of teaching overseas in a voluntary service overseas capacity. I love how life has worked out for me now in that although I haven’t moved far – from London to Edinburgh, I am able to contribute to people’s health and wellbeing by teaching yoga classes and courses and workshops.
Can you explain what yoga is and what a typical session is like from start to finish?
Yoga for me is an opportunity for self care and self enquiry, it is a holistic health system, it is physical, mental, emotional and energetic, it is a lifelong practice but paradoxically I believe it can be life changing after one single class. I love how multi faceted yoga is yet how simple it is. I never get bored reading and researching yoga ideas or figuring out different sequences for my classes. Every practice is so valuable and every time feels different as every day the body is different or your state of mind is different.
The beginning of a yoga class involves laying out your yoga mat, removing your shoes and coming to a seat or lying down. We begin by noticing sensations in the body and connecting to the breath. A class is usually an hour long. From there we begin to move the body in time with the breath. There are many different styles of yoga and every teacher brings their personality and personal style with them so there is definitely a yoga style to fit everyone. I tend to enjoy a gentle flowing Vinyasa style for my personal practice or a more restorative style using bolster and blankets.
How do you believe yoga can be helpful in healing and general well-being?
Yoga gives us time just to be, to step off the spinning wheel and to be still, peaceful, calm, quiet. It affects each and every one of the body’s systems in a positive way. Yoga makes you feel good at the time but its effects are long lasting and can help you manage choices during the day, as well as keeping you calm and grounded and helping you to sleep. Yoga leads to a virtuous circle.
Is there a technique in your practice that you have found to be the most beneficial to the people you work with?
I am a gentle, (hyper) sensitive empath, I am mainly very grounded and calm and I bring these aspects of my personality to my teachings. I feel that I am good at reading people’s faces and can adapt my classes to fit the mood.
What is yoga like from the students point of view?
From a student’s perspective yoga is a nourishing experience, I always learn something new about yoga from every teacher I go to. It is nice to experience yoga with different teachers and it is also wonderful to have one teacher to do your regular practice with, the more yoga I practice the more inspired I am to teach great classes.
What would you say to someone skeptical about yoga and its effectiveness? How do you approach that?
I would urge them to try it. I actually live with a yoga skeptic! When my partner eventually came to one of my classes he absolutely loved it and felt so good even though a yoga studio isn’t within his comfort zone. For the following week, every time we met anyone he gushed about how good yoga is!
Besides yoga do you have any universal health and well-being tips that you’d like to share?
I tend to divide my health into the four main sections: Sleep, movement, food, stress management. I like to get up early and mainly go to bed early. I practice yoga, run, swim and bike ride. I eat organic whole food whenever possible and I avoid stress! I come from a long line of women who adore the sea and we are lucky to live in Scotland so the beach is never too far away. I love the empty sweeping beaches of the East coast of Scotland and as a family we go to the beach most weekends to swim, paddle board and surf or just for a dog walk if it’s too blustery.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling, what would it be?
If you are struggling it is important to reach out and connect with someone. A problem aired is a problem shared, a problem shared is not such a big problem. A couple of years ago I began experiencing a whole batch of weird symptoms which were uncomfortable in that they were new to me. I realised after a rare trip to hospital after my first migraine that I was entering a new phase in my life called perimenopause.
This is the years leading up to menopause and the cessation of a woman’s monthly cycle. After I had struggled for a while I looked about on Instagram and found lots of lovely accounts of people going through the same phase. It was such a relief to know that I wasn’t alone. Since then I have trained as a perimenopause and menopause yoga teacher in London with Petra Coveney, and I have started using hormone supporting medicine which gives me the energy to carry on with an active lifestyle.
What resources would you recommend? (books, podcasts, websites that you’ve found helpful)
A friend from my Menopause Yoga Teacher Training has a podcast called “Womankind Collective” which I love.
I like Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s podcast “Feel Better Live More”
“Wanderlust” by Jeff Krasno is one of my favourite yoga books written by the founder of the Wanderlust Festival in America
“The Happy Hormone Guide” by Shannon Leparski
“Period Power” by Maisie Hill
“Breath” by James Nestor
“The Language of Yin” by Gabrielle Harris
Yoga can be a very restorative practice and your instructor has the ability to match your energy, so what needs to be addressed through your practice can get the attention it deserves.
Naomi helps people all over the world with their yoga practice and runs classes Monday through Friday and also does workshops on the weekends.
You can learn more about Naomi, yoga, and her hormone seeds business here:
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