Q&A with the team: Leia

Leia in Shri LankaNext up in our meet-the-team series is our film-maker Leia. What gets her out of bed in the morning? How would her best friends describe her? And how can she possibly choose between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The alarm clock…if I’m lucky! I struggle with getting up in the morning. Being the newbie in the team (I’ve practised on and off for about 2 years) and having a love for staying up late at night pottering around, reading, writing and watching films, I find my bed to be the most comfortable around 6am. It’s easier to get up early here in Mysore with the warmth and the lifestyle being simpler; back home I had periods when it flowed pretty nicely and others when I was constantly tired.

What are your biggest challenges in life?

Being too hard on myself. It took me a long time to realise how I was treating myself at times. It’s all about being kind to yourself and the practice has helped me reflect on that in a completely new way.

How would your best friends describe you in 3 words?

Caring, fiery and restless (or maybe that’s what I think of myself!)

Do you have a favourite inspirational quote, phrase or saying?

Well, I mean, it’s obvious. “May the force be with you!” For me it’s about trusting something bigger than ourselves. I’m not particularly religious and the word “God” doesn’t sit well with me but “The force” feels just right.

What’s your favourite film or book?

So many to choose from, both films and books. I’m trying to think which ones have had the most impact on me and when it comes to films it’s definitely documentaries. I think the film I’ve watched the most and never get tired of is “Rize” by David La Chapelle. It’s an amazing film about the Krumping and Clowning dancers in the rough areas of Los Angeles. When it comes to books it’s a dead race between Shantaram and The Never Ending Story. Both got to me on so many levels and had a bit of everything in them.

Photo of Leia in Shri LankaIf you could share one insight from your practice for a beginner, what would it be?

Be kind to yourself. That means it’s your body and your life, things will come up during the practice and the best thing to do is to reflect what it means to you right then at that time. It’s different for everyone. For me it’s been about being patient, not comparing myself to others (so very easy to do) and to not be hard on myself if I skip a day or two.

If you had never started yoga where do you think you’d be now?

Not in Mysore for a year, ha ha! Probably back in England still or in Sweden. It’s hard to say with ‘what ifs’.

How do you deal with stress in your life?

Not well, ha ha! My outlet is to watch a good TV show or film. I also love dancing, writing, cooking, drawing and knitting. I think all of those things help to keep me less stressed. I feel like every year I get a little bit better, but I also seem to choose to live a simpler life than I’ve done in the past.

Are you more…

…digital or analogue?

More and more digital. It’s hard not to when you live with a digital wizard (aka Guy). Even my illustrations and drawing work are more and more transferring completely to the digital world. I can’t read books on tablets though! Won’t do it, I’m weirdly old school and stubborn about that. A flat screen can never replace the feel of turning a page in your hand or the smell of a book. 

…Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?

If I HAVE to choose, I think it has to be Harry Potter. As much as I love Lord of the Rings, I was obsessed with the Harry Potter books when the first one came out (and a good few years following that). I wanted nothing but to go to Hogwarts and cried like a baby reading a few of them. The films are ok but the books are just amazing!

…trainers or heels?

Easily trainers. The only place I wear high heels is if going out in Barbados or Trinidad where I can go in a car with my sisters or cousins and don’t really have to walk around too much in those death weapons! (Barbados and Trinidad are also the only places I actually like to go out clubbing and dancing because it’s hot and they play all my favourite music like soca, dancehall and zouk!)

…sweet or savoury?

Sweet, especially ice cream! If I had gone to Hogwarts and learned magic spells I would turn ice cream into the equivalent nutritional value of Brussels sprouts and eat heaps of it every day!

…minimalist or hoarder?

 I want to say minimalist but that’s probably not true. I do like to gather things but I’m also pretty good at letting them go. A good example of this is packing all our possessions into a van and storing them in a big tin box in the English countryside whilst going off to Mysore for who knows how long…

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