One of our favourite yoga instructors, Nicolette Wilson, has just won the Health and Wellbeing Coach of the Year award. "It feels absolutely amazing!" she says.
Hi Nicolette, congrats on receiving Health and Wellbeing Coach of the Year, tell us about that
Thank you! I belong to an organisation that supports coaches, trainers and consultants called the Association of Professional Coaches, Trainers and Consultants (APCTC). For the past four years they have acknowledged the work of their members by presenting awards to them at an annual event similar to the Oscars. I came third last year and decided that I wanted to win this year… and I did!
How do you feel about being given such an accolade?
It feels absolutely amazing! I've been in the health and wellbeing industry for over 25 years now having started in the fitness industry. I've loved every part of my journey even the challenging bits. Being finally recognised for my contribution by both the people I've supported and the organisation that nominated and shortlisted me (APCTC) is a wonderful way to begin 2015.
How are you able to empower women through yoga?
Empowerment is about instilling in an individual the belief that they can do whatever it is that they wish to do. For women, my experience has been that they have limiting self-beliefs because of historical experiences or societal influences and often these beliefs are not their own. Even so, they attach themselves to them, for example, "You're rubbish at…," or, "You're too fat, skinny, short, light, dark…" Yoga means 'union' and is actually a way of life. By introducing yoga into our lives, we are able to connect closer to our own inner consciousness or soul and therefore connect deeper with a higher external consciousness or soul. However, it is only by connecting inwards that we can externally connect creating the union. As we journey towards this ultimate objective, we learn a more gracious way to live our lives with compassion, non-judgement, acceptance and self-belief. This is implemented through such yoga practises as breath control, meditation and moving through physical postures.
Do men have a different experience than women?
Men have different mental 'demons' than women. Often I've found that it's about them needing to quieten their 'ego' thoughts and the need to prove something (to themselves and others). Once they understand self-acceptance and that their strength comes from inside of them together with their breath rather than force and a held breath, they soon lose the desire to impress outwardly.
In what ways has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has slowed me down and allowed me to see the pixels in all colour. I used to be a striver with force, angst and fight. Before running my own business, I worked in management in health clubs as well as taught in the studios plus private clients. My mobile phone was never off so my personal life was my work life and my brain was always looking for the next adventure to propel me up to the next stage of my life. Rather than enjoy the moment, I would tick off the achievement and move on to the next 'to do'. I've been practising yoga for over 15 years now and during that time it has taught me to appreciate what I have right now rather than what I might achieve tomorrow.
What is unique about the way you teach yoga?
I've been told that even though a class may be full, I allow each individual to feel like they matter by acknowledging their presence on the mat. I think it's really important that people feel special and acknowledged. When you're entering a public space for the first time it can be quite daunting, overwhelming and a little exhausting because of the courage it takes. I like to lighten that experience. When you work with me privately, it means that you receive all of my attention and this allows me to determine exactly what you need. My unique approach here ensures that one size does not fit all.
If people attend your classes regularly, what impact will they feel?
Most of Gymbox's members are individuals who spend their days in energy zapping environments, seated, holding phones to ears, holding a mouse or repeatedly using their fingers and often slouching over a desk. This lifestyle tends to bring with it numerous health conditions and complaints ranging from lower back issues, general stiffness, tiredness, decreased flexibility, low mood and sometimes complacency. My yoga class will invigorate, challenge, reduce backache, relieve muscular tensions, clear minds and remind them that there's more to life than work.
How can doing yoga compliment a varied training schedule?
Yoga is really amazing to compliment other activities. Firstly, if you box, run, cycle, kettlebell or do any other form of high energy activity, chances are you either hold your breath or don't really breathe at all. Yoga will teach you how to breathe efficiently to heighten both your experience and outcomes in the other activities. Secondly, yoga will also ensure that your muscles are returned to their original length after contracting during your other workouts. This will enable you to continue exercising safely with minimal injury occurrence. Thirdly, yoga will definitely bring balance to your training schedule by allowing you to slow down and realise that not everything is about the outcome.
What is the most rewarding element of your work?
The most rewarding element of my work is two-fold. When I work with my private clients, they usually come to me because they have a 'pain'. I'm able to take them from a place of pain and disease within their mind and body to a place of mental freedom, self-acceptance, compassion and no more pain. When I work with groups, I'm able to accept everyone in the room as equal without judgement and irrespective of their role within society. Each individual is equal on the mat and somehow I think they know it because soon they realise that they can just be themselves. Each week they attend, their external mask slips further off and they sometimes share with me their class experiences. Often it shows me that they are getting closer to connecting to who they truly are. When I see that evolving, it's like finding a diamond amongst stones.