Women who Launch
Sitting in Professor Beckford’s office at Canterbury Christ Church University, for one of my regular supervisions during my MA (Research) Postgraduate Degree, heavily pregnant, suffering with severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum, working three days a week and battling to get my MA complete within one year, instead of the two year guideline; I will never forget the words ‘You’ll be one of those “Women that Launch”, its massive for women whilst on maternity leave’, nor will his enthusiasm, encouragement, wisdom and kindness ever leave me!
I am now writing my first blog post, for my own company, with a now, three and a half year old!
Professor Beckford with his wisdom, always saw something that I could never see in myself. I have always been passionate about education and hugely academic. I was top of the school for my GCSE’S, clever. but had to work so hard for it, I believe it never came naturally. During my teenage years,the three tutors a week and hours of revision all paid off. During university, I secured a First Class Honors Degree BA in Religious Studies and Theology, and was granted a special achievement award at my graduation at Canterbury Cathedral.
Anxiety. A period of time when I believed I couldn’t do it, that I didn’t belong in the Postgraduate community as people tried to out smart each other during Research Development Courses.I didn’t wish to present my thesis in a conference environment, not because I didn’t believe in what I was writing, I just felt I couldn’t execute my thoughts articulately through oral presentation, and feared my research publicly being ripped apart. I would over analyse pieces of my research after talking, until it left me crumbled, in bits, until I then began over-analysing everything I said!
In hindsight of this experience, it has taught me so much about my own personal character, my strengths, kindness and compassion. My thesis title discussed poverty and an alternative radical form of development. A topic I was passionate about, always wishing to help and support others, this was the make-up of my being. Although I understood criticism was not a personal attack, I am just not made that way! I wasn’t there to inflate my own ego, I was there to learn with, and from the best!
I began practicing yoga at the tender age of twelve, the reluctant yoga teacher panicked at the sight of me and my lively companion. I was, and still am, a strong-willed, determined, firecracker and yoga has always provided me with the peaceful sanctuary I desperately thrived. Two years after my maternity leave, I went through a period of being miserable and feeling lost. I had spent five years at university and thrived for a career, but most importantly, I wasn’t prepared to compromise my time being a mother. Did it even exist?
I was working as a sales administrator whilst studying and returned after having my little boy, Rafi. I worked for a fantastic business, wonderful people, the hours fit around family life, but I urged to use my creativity and all those years of studying. I have never been scared of taking risks, I handed my notice in and completed a children’s yoga teacher training course with the aim to set up my own company providing RE workshops for schools.
Yoga was a small chunk of the bigger plan. However, two months after launching my business, I was fully booked and holding waiting lists. My business is not even a year old yet, and I provide eleven classes a week (over two days), aswel as additional one off workshops in other schools and nurseries in Canterbury, Dover, Ashford, Folkestone, Deal and Thanet, Kent. I teach toddler yoga, children’s yoga, educational workshops in Kent, breakfast and after-school clubs and I am now also run baby yoga classes after qualifying as a baby yoga teacher in February 2019. I have also created my own resilience programme for KS2 students exploring issues such as anxiety, confidence, positive body image and feelings.
Professor Beckford knew something I didn’t know at the time, he knew my potential as an educator, an academic. Perhaps not in the context of the Postgraduate world, but to act in kindness, encouragement and strength through the practice of yoga and mindfulness to children.