Victorian Institute of Sport Alumni Lydia Lassila spent most of her life as an elite athlete and credits one thing that helped prolong her career in sport as well as live a better life, Yoga.
Happy International Day of Yoga!
We caught up with Lydia to see how Yoga has changed her life.
I can’t imagine life without yoga. It has been a gift that keeps giving and I have certainly reaped the benefits of what consistent yoga practice can provide. I have fallen in love with its ancient teachings and philosophy and of course the way it makes me feel – blissed up, mobile, strong and centred.
I've spent most of my life as an elite athlete.
Even as I write that, I feel a sense of pride and gratefulness for the opportunities and experiences I've had. Although life as an athlete began in gymnastics, I spent couple of decades in the thrill-seeking sport of Freestyle Aerial Skiing where I pushed my limits and reached the pinnacle of sport. Olympic Gold.
I’ve been lucky enough to experience many moments of being in the ZONE. That magical place of effortless flow, laser focus and deflecting all distraction. Where internal chatter is quiet and controlled. Where movements are executed with precision and purpose. Where your body feels light and energetic, your breath full and slow. Where you perform at your best. This is the ZONE. Every athlete knows this place. Every athlete wants to be here as much as possible.
On the flip side, I've also had (many) moments where, despite my best efforts, I wasn't in the ZONE. Where my thoughts were clouded, and I succumbed to distraction. When my breath was shallow and fast, when I felt out of control and made mistakes. I think we've all been here too right?
All it takes is a lapse of concentration, a buy in to negative self-talk, or a quick departure from being present, in the moment, in the ZONE and performance can suffer in an instant. This doesn't just happen in sport. It happens every day - at work, whilst making dinner (yep, did you get distracted by a ping on your phone and burn dinner?), or during our yoga practice. The only difference is that in elite sport, there is nowhere to hide and I many cases, there is no next time. The consequences are brutal and can lead to a non-selection, poor performance or worst case, injury.
Although we always want that perfect performance and we always want to be in the ZONE, we also need to acknowledge that sometimes we just have a bad day, or moment, or performance. The growth is in letting it go. The growth is in humility. The growth is in learning from it. The growth is always trying to find a positive intention behind every situation.
Image: Lydia wants to encourage people to nurture their mind and body to find their Zone every day.
I truly discovered yoga in 2012. At the time, I was suffering from a debilitating back injury and one I didn’t think I could recover from. My mental training coach directed me to his Yoga master where I began my yoga journey through private tuition and have never looked back. Within two practices, my mobility had increased and my pain reduced drastically. Within three months, I was fully rehabilitated and back tackling my goals as an Aerial Skier.
Yoga saved me. Yoga is my medicine. Yoga prolonged my career in sport and has helped me live better in life.
It has helped me not only recovery physically but it has centred me, calmed me, strengthened me and has become an integral part of my daily routine. I truly believe yoga has made me a better person. My yoga mat has become my sanctuary, a place where my stress, worries and sweat melt away and a place where I nurture and nourish my body and mind.
My ZONE by Lydia range was born from wanting to help people be present in a busy, noisy world. I want to encourage people to nurture their mind and body and find their ZONE every single day – whether it be through yoga, meditation, breathing or just simply reminding yourself to just ‘be where you are’.
The range includes Cork Yoga Mats, Blocks, Massage Balls, Essential Oils & Sprays and comfy Hemp Clothing. It has been inspired by nature - its beauty, its unique scents, its resilience and durability and I love our evolving product range. It comes from a good place. One that wants to help people live better physically, mentally and emotionally whilst striving to protect our planet as best as we can by using sustainable materials of premium quality.
To find your ZONE, click HERE and enjoy 30% off by using the code YOGADAY21.