What are your favourite yoga podcasts? And who are your Champions of Change? Rakhee Jasani explores how our podcast heroes can help us to make changes off the mat.
A Good Listen
What do you like to do when the summer holidays roll round? I love soaking up the sun, socialising, catching up with reading. Most of all I love a good listen! In fact, over the past few sunny days, I’ve been listening to my favourite podcasts again. I’ve done this in parks, on walks, or on days spent by the sea. Podcasts are such a fantastic way to learn all sorts of things, but what I like most is that they really allow the personalities of the speakers to shine through. I was excited when the MFML podcast, Champions of Change, launched. It has given me insights and practical tools to take yoga off the mat and into the world. And best of all, I love what it is called. I have a new question now that I like to ask my friends: who is your champion of change?
A Champion of Change
Sometimes though my friends turn that question back onto me: who is my champion of change? The truth is that Kat’s choice of guest reflects many teachers I have admired for a long time. There are others I have come to know personally over the years. There has been one person missing from the list so far for me. And that person is: Kat Farrants. So I am excited to let you know that I have persuaded Kat to let me turn the tables and let me delve into finding out more about how Kat has transformed her life and why it is important to her in championing change.
Before, I chat to her for the podcast though, I wanted to find out more about why she launched Champions of Change and what she’s learnt so far. In the end, though we both ended up chatting a lot about what is most important in initiating and then making space for change. In fact, as well as being a great listen, the podcasts are great conversation starters too!
Why champions of change?
I was intrigued by the title: why did Kat put change under the spotlight when focussing on moving yoga off the mat and into the world? Kat told me that whilst yoga was all about change both on and off the mat, she was interested in the people who were behind the change as there was so much to learn about what that journey of change was like and it what it involved. Ultimately, it is the champions of change who help us to transform our lives by finding out what they did and why.
Your soul’s calling
One of the first podcasts I listened to was the one where Jyoti Manuel talked about what led to her current mission. She said she knew she was in the right place, because she felt lit up: “When it’s your soul’s calling, it lights you up to do the work.” Jyoti Manuel’s reputation is one that I’m familiar with: who could fail to be moved to hear of the work she does in reaching those souls that have often been rejected by society? Kat found Jyoti Manuel’s method of teaching fascinating: she dispenses with plans and focuses on what she meets in the room; what is present at that moment. Not using a plan to teach fills me with fear, and yet to hear Jyoti Manuel explain that she teaches the teachers she trains to work in this way, makes complete sense.
Following your intuition
It is about learning to follow one’s intuition by tuning in to what is happening. This may sound a little out there, but it really isn’t. By responding to what is happening, teachers are meeting ‘a set of unmet, of desired needs to be respected and heard, to be loved and safe, to feel cared for.’ This is so powerful. I completely understand why Kat sees Jyoti Manuel as a champion of change. Jyoti Manuel places the child at the centre of everything she does and listening to her on her podcast reveals how children with autism and other special needs respond so well to the power of yoga. Have a listen… you’ll be moved and amazed at how yoga brings families together.
Support is key to change
Listening to Norman Blair was like listening to a reality check. We seem to live in such ‘fast’ times that sometimes understanding the dangers of complacency is so important. I loved how Norman asked us to question what we are doing and whether our actions truly reflect our values. It can be so comforting to stay confined to our comfort zone. I know that this resonates with Kat too; shaking things up seems to be Kat’s speciality and yet, she admits that she too can find complacency can come creeping in.
How do we avoid complacency and champion change for ourselves?
So what are we to do? Keep questioning and keep excited were two solutions that shone out and to keep asking ourselves ‘what can I do to make my life more meaningful?’ This is a question that we can ask ourselves at any time, and I loved listening to this, sat on a beach, really thinking about how to plan the months ahead. Our engagement with what we care about needs to extend beyond the surface. We need to find support and build community and then use this community as our mirror, so we understand more clearly how our growth is stifled. Listen to how Norman Blair is reinvigorating the yoga community.
How fun and creativity light the way to change
Many years ago, I set up an arts and education charity. I loved the arts. I was having fun being creative. Working with young people brought fun and light-heartedness with it. Fast forward 25 years, and I find myself still working with young people but this time teaching yoga. What I loved about David Kam is how he encapsulates all these things I love so clearly.
Life is messy, why do we think our yoga practice would be neat and stay within the lines? Yet, it is within this messiness that we can find our true nature. We learn to be responsive and find a way to take a fun, lighthearted approach to our yoga practice. What struck me hearing David talk about his journey was about how fundamental the creation of community was to him. David came to yoga as a way of honouring his relationship with his mother. Yoga offered mother and son a way to do something special together. Listen to the podcast and learn more about the links between creativity, yoga mats and free movement.
In the end, this is what has stayed with me. The Champions of Change are also champions of community. As we transform our lives with many small steps we find ourselves part of a community of like-minded individuals. This is what I find unique about Movement for Modern Life. Kat has championed a community of change-makers. More than this, Kat embodies change. Kat is able to shake things up whether through small steps or a complete change of direction.
Let me know if there are any questions about managing change, you’d like me to put to Kat. You can pop these into the comments box or share in the movers group. If you have someone you think of as your champion of change, tell us who they are and why.
About Rakhee Jasani
MFML’s wordsmith Maven, Rakhee Jasani is also a yoga teacher, writer, creative leader and innovator. Rakhee teaches dynamic breath-led yoga infused with restorative calm to teenagers and adults. Rakhee’s creative thoughtful, fun sequences incorporate qigong and meditation practices. As a writer, Rakhee explores creativity, myth, philosophy and nature. She co-founded an arts and education charity and currently sits on the advisory board of a literature organisation.