Hello beautiful goddess
I am really excited to introduce you to Peita Handel: a gorgeous woman who runs Muma Yoga out of the lush Blue Mountains.
Peita and I went to Nature Care College together, and also taught our first yoga classes under our mentor, Marian McNaught, at her eclectic home yoga studio in Sydney's North Shore.
Marian is a walking goddess. Literally. Classes were taught in Winter by the crackling fireplace and in Summer on the terrace as the sun went down, to a chorus of wildlife. Peita and I bonded over teaching styles, walking the path of the Divine Feminine and the Pagan-esque observation of the moon's cycles and changing seasons. It was a special time in my life as an apprentice yoga teacher, and one I will never forget.
I caught up with Peita (affectionately known as Peat) and delved into her thoughts on all things yoga, nourishing rituals and how to balance finding time for yourself yet still be present for loved ones.
TNG: There are so many yoga style's available these days, it can be slightly overwhelming. What attracted you to "mums and bubs"?
PH: I never really set out to teach mums & bubs yoga. I began by teaching my first love, pregnancy yoga. The studio where I was teaching at the time needed a mums & bubs class covered. It actually did my head in! These mums were the most amazing multi-taskers I'd ever seen; learning yoga, breastfeeding and engaging their bub all simultaneously. Everything was in flux and I just had to go with it. Motherhood inspires me... I remind mums in class that their bub will teach them more about yoga and flexibility than I ever will.
TNG: I often tell my beautiful goddesses out there that it's really important to self care. Why do you believe it is important for women to take time for themselves?
PH: Women are good at giving, we are experts at looking after others and women today redefine what multi-tasking means. We nourish our children, partners, careers and our households. We cook, create, work, love and give until there is nothing left. Nourishing yourself replenishes the well, not just so we can keep going but because we deserve to feel full. Nurturing yourself is an act of acknowledging the divine – your inner goddess.
TNG: I really love that... "acknowledging the divine within"... do you have any nourishing rituals in your daily life you'd like to share, to inspire others?
PH: Definitely, I'd love to share. I have a few scattered throughout the day that are staples.
Firstly, sipping my tea in bed every morning. Regardless of how early I need to start the day, wrapping my hands around that cup is a daily ritual that fills mine.
I make shower time a ritual I can easily enjoy every day. Crystals, candles, flowers, yummy soaps, massage mit, and oils lush up my bathroom oasis.
Walking my dogs in the bush each evening. They are great reminders to live into the present.
I also make little signature aromatherapy balms to anoint my hands and neck when I need a little deliciousness. Using them regularly is nourishing, but creating them is nourishing too.
And of course, my personal yoga practice is something I always come back to, no-matter where I am or how I feel, it’s always there.
TNG: Any advice you would give to women whose partner or family aren't always supportive/understanding of them needing time to themselves?
PH: I think the process of creating nourishing time for yourself, is just as valuable as the outcome. Finding the language and speaking up about your needs is so empowering.
- Negotiate ‘self-time’ for both you and your partner, so they can see you value their time too. Maybe have time to yourselves at the same time – like setting aside a Saturday morning.
- Say no sometimes. Instead of responding with a knee jerk ‘yes’ to everything , try ‘I’ll get back to you about that’, if you need time to think over commitments.
- Practice putting yourself first. Modelling your priority for self-time occasionally, helps others reshape their understanding of you (and themselves).
- Be honest. It’s so refreshing to be honest and just call it as it is.
TNG: Those are some great points... thank you Peat!
Lastly, I'd love to know if any of your students have perhaps inspired you over the years?
PH: I taught an amazing student who I witnessed blossom while she was personally dealing with breast cancer. She would come to class, and to our private yoga sessions throughout the various stages of her therapy and recovery. She taught me much more about yoga than I taught her. She was brutally honest with how she felt and what she needed. Sometimes she was afraid and would cry, other times she would stand in warrior pose as the embodiment of strength and stability. She recovered beautifully, adopted a cheeky little haircut and a long, tall, confident posture. She told me one day, that any adversity holds a gift for you, you might not know what it is, but it’s there amidst the struggle. Such a goddess, she knew how to retreat, restore and shine brightly.
You can find out more about Peita via her website: http://mumayoga.com/
I would love to hear from you in the comments below, beautiful goddess. Have we given you food for thought in terms of finding time for you? Do you have any nourishing rituals you would like to share?