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Profile: Tali Lowe Yoga Instructor and Research Assistant

Tali Lowe, 28, is a Research Assistant at the University of Edinburgh and is about to embark on a Teacher Training course to become a qualified Yoga teacher. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her boyfriend of 6 years and their two cats, Seren and Sparrow. 

I wake up around 6:30am on weekdays and start the day with a 10 minute meditation with some lemon, ginger and honey herbal tea to kickstart my digestion and wake me up. I also feed my cats, who begin pestering me as soon as my alarm goes off!

I work as a Research Assistant in a genetics lab at the University of Edinburgh, looking at disease, using the latest technology in genetics, which is pretty exciting. As a child I was always interested in how things worked and it seemed natural to pursue a career in biology. People always look very shocked when I tell them what I do, but I always say if you can follow a recipe in the kitchen you can definitely follow a protocol in the lab. Of course, it does help to understand the science behind it! My time at work is generally split between doing experiments in the lab and doing more planning/data analysis on the computer.

I have to prioritise staying calm throughout the day. I have mental health issues, and am also a complete emotional chameleon (a term I made up)! This means if people around me are exceptionally negative or positive, I react quite strongly, so I do need to take time out for myself and just breathe and be mindful. To keep my strength up throughout the day, I have a big bowl of porridge oats for breakfast, with almond milk and chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  Having a hot breakfast really helps me get through these Scottish winters! I am a complete self-confessed grazer during the day, as I find this makes me feel a lot better energy-wise than just having three meals a day. My usual snacks throughout the day include a couple of homemade Nakd bars, oatcakes with almond butter, bananas and other fruit. I always make my lunch fresh every morning, and it generally consists of quinoa, plenty of raw vegetables, a few slices of roast sweet potato and some form of protein. I try and avoid coffee at all times as it has a bad effect on my anxiety levels.

I really enjoy working in academia – you can set your own hours, wear what you like and work on what you feel like doing, rather than being set particular goals by your line manager every day. However, when my contract ends in a few months I am looking at a career change, starting with a part time 200hr Yoga Teacher Training course. I am also very interested in digital marketing, and hope to help implement social media and SEO stategies for other businesses as well as develop my own online brand (I run a blog called Sugar and Sakura which I eventually hope to use as a tool to help others within the fields of nutrition, health and yoga).

I practiced yoga on and off during my undergraduate years and really enjoyed it, but never really got into the habit of going regularly and building up a consistent practice.  About 3 years ago when my anxiety and stress levels were really bad and unmanageable, I begrudgingly unrolled my mat at home, mostly to show that even yoga couldn’t make me feel better. I was wrong. As soon as I stepped on my mat, played some chill out music and did a couple of sun salutations everything changed and I have been a passionate advocate of yoga ever since.

I made the transition to Mysore-style Ashtanga about six months ago, and have never looked back. Mysore-style is all about your own personal practice. There’s nobody at the front giving instructions; there are a set sequences of poses to follow, which you memorize and work through. There is always a teacher in the room to offer adjustments and help you, but generally you just work at your own pace, and you are only given the next pose, or asana, of the sequence when your teacher thinks you’re ready. This can be frustrating if you’re stuck on one asana for months on end, which is what I’m going through at the moment, but it’s so important to keep your ego out of it!

To anyone who hasn’t tried Yoga before I’d say to them: it will change you. This may be a grand statement to make, but it is so much more than making crazy shapes with your body. It will challenge you, frustrate you, but at the same time be so physically and mentally rewarding. The more frequently you practice, the more in tune you’ll become with your true self. Stretching particular muscles in your body can bring up so many emotions – a lot of people hold stress and tension in their hips, but for me my hamstrings seem to be the worst for that! The more you get into yoga, the more you realise that your physical practice is only the tip of the iceberg. I would (and do!) recommend yoga to everyone – your age, gender and physical ability is irrelevant – yoga is for every body.

Asides from yoga, I also like spending quality time with my friends and since I got a Kindle for Christmas I am finally getting back into reading which is great.  I also love getting hooked on various TV series – I think I’ve watched all the mainstream ones so I need new recommendations! When I get home I love to cook – I love making Mexican food, as well as Thai and Italian – quite an eclectic mix but anything that gets my tastebuds tingling makes me happy!

In a year’s time I hope to be a qualified yoga instructor, and be starting to build my clientele. I recently bought my own house, and really want to start getting into DIY and decorating. I hope to be closer to my ‘dream’ career(s) – I have my fingers in many pies!! And finally, I want to expand the reach of my blog, and establish it as a useful resource for people looking for help with their lifestyle. I feel so lucky that I have so many options and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

The one piece of advice I’d like to leave behind is that life is short. If you’re not happy, change your life. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you are in a bad relationship, leave it. Don’t worry about finances or how its going to work out in the future – sometimes you have to take a chance, seize the moment and not think about the consequences. It’s your life so make what you want of it. And also do lots of yoga!

You can view Tali’s writing at Sugar and Sakura or follow her on Twitter @Sugarandsakura

Beth Gladstone

Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.

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