An exclusive interview with former model and dancer Heather Driver, who is now a well established yoga instructor practicing almost every day of the week! Stay with us to read more about Heather's journey so far and how she can help you change your outlook on life with just your body and a yoga mat...
When did you first start practising yoga?
I started practicing when I finished dance college over 13 years ago. I new it was good for me but really hated it for years ! I struggled to find a teacher I connected with & a class which was strong enough to keep me interested! However I persevered, inconsistently for a few years then started practicing seriously 6 or so years ago. At least 4 times a week :)
What changes did you notice mentally and physically when you first started practising?
Tbh like most, I practiced for aesthetic reasons originally. I just wanted to be skinny & toned. But then the more I practiced the more I noticed the buzz after class. I went through a really stressful time with an ex boyfriend & the only thing that managed to keep me sane was a yoga class. I’d enter the class an anxious, angry mess & leave with confidence, lightness & a feeling I could take on the world.
I didn’t really get the spiritual side for a long time ... I new that it made me feel good & that’s why I kept going.
Then I did my yoga course & things really started to change. I became much more aware of my surroundings & how they made me feel, I stopped wanting to party or fill voids with big nights of drinking, I completely stopped buying anything (clothes shoes bags). I was finally finding contentment with what I had & in my own skin, I was finding happiness within myself. Without even realising.
I look back at how I was before yoga & it feels like a whole other human.
Physically obviously my body changed a lot. I dropped fat, toned up, had abs for the first time & actually liked my stomach. When I danced I would always beg for the costume with the covered stomach as I had such a thing for it.
The thing is, yes I was exercising, but it was because I was happy my body was better.
I stopped binging & eating rubbish foods when feeling low. At college I had a terrible relationship with food, we all did. Starving ourselves. Binging. Being sick. It was the norm.
But yoga really just made me not even want to put bad food into my body because I was so much more aware of how I’d feel after. And that was it. The feelings. Not how I looked. I didn’t care about my shape because I was so much happier. I cared about how things made me feel. And that’s why I’ve stuck at it for so long. Other exercise forms came & went. But this is for more than aesthetics. It is a practice that genuinely clears & lifts you. And there’s nothing more addictive than that.
Tell us about the beautiful music that accompanies your classes.
Music is everything. Music has so much power to lift you, to make you cry, to make you dance / laugh / be happy. I’m obsessed with music. And I try so hard in my classes to play music that inspires me to move & feel.
I mix genres but mainly play an electric soulful house vibe. I just feel music can up the emotional release so much more & help us push through when we’re feeling stuck & unable to move.
Who can yoga help? What is it good for?
Yoga can help everyone. And I know we’ve heard it before & many of us believe it’s not for us. But like anything, you have to try different styles, different teachers, different studios to find your jam. Not everyone is going to like everyone. Find your person who inspires you & helps you feel comfortable being you on the mat. It’s not a practice of judgment. And this is why I love the online classes, you can be you, make a mess of it all & no one will know. Perfect opportunity to give it a go! Full heartedly!
Yoga is good for everything. From functional movement such as getting out of your car everyday or picking up your child to being able to sit still & happy in your own company. We have to be able to be alone & do nothing to enjoy life with others. We can’t keep relying on other people or things to be happy. Yoga gives you that opportunity to release stuck anger, trauma, resentment from your body so you have space in your head & your body to now sit still & deal with your sh**t. We spend our lives running from ourselves. Preoccupying ourselves. But one day life will catch up with you. We all have to take a step back & deal with what’s going on. Yoga is a step in the right direction. To take a moment for yourself & make sure you’re on the right path for you. And if you’re not, Yoga will bring you the awareness you need to change.
Obviously it’s great for your body too, mobility, strength, flexibility... that goes without saying :)
What’s your favourite style of yoga to practise when you’re not teaching?
It changes all the time. I’m a Rocket (Power) girl at heart. But I also love a chilled unwinding class. Depends on my mood.
You implement CARS into your routines, what is that and how is it good for us?
Controlled Articular Rotations. Super good for joint heath. This is where you move in your joint purposefully & actively (without aid of equipment or body weight) to its edge. Keeping the full range of motion.
We can stretch & build muscle all we like but if we have terrible joint mobility we’re not going to be moving much as we get older. Joints need love & care too and are often forgotten about so I like to include some joint movement into my classes where I can.
Aside from yoga, how else do you keep fit?
Occasionally I do one of my boyfriends fitness classes, mainly because he makes me, but also because there are some movements yoga doesn’t cover, ie pulling or much glute work. Both needed for a healthy balanced body. But if I could I’d just so yoga, it fulfils me to the brim.
How important is good nutrition to you?
Nutrition is everything (with music).
Of course I’m no angel but I try. As I said before, you cultivate such physical & mental awareness in yoga it’s hard to then ignore the effects of highly processed rubbish that were drawn to eat through advertising & packaging.
I try my hardest to eat as much plant based whole foods as possible. The Nuzest Protein is actually the dream because it’s so hard to find a lovely tasting all natural plant based protein! Chocolate flavour is divine!
When I eat like this this is when I feel my best. Less listed weird named ingredients more from the soil goodness, flushed down with all the water!
I can not even explain to you the difference it makes in my mood & energy levels.
A whole other person.
Tell us how we can continue to practise with you when lockdown is over?
I have lots going on online still & will continue to grow my online world.
I love that I can reach anyone from anywhere & at such an affordable price. Some classes I teach in London are £30 a class so I’m happy I’ve not got a more accessible option for everyone !
Patreon saved videos just £8 per month :
Zooms £8 each per household or packages :
I also teach 1:1 online, corporate classes & studio classes at Equinox & BXR -
Bespoke Gyms in London.
Feel free to contact me if you’re looking to start/expand or explore your yoga practice deeper. I am here to help & advise ! I love to share this with as many people as possible. So many people I know who have taken up yoga have completely changed their lives & lifestyle. It really does have this magic effect which I believe everyone should give themselves a chance to experience!
Thanks for having me here. Look forward to seeing you soon on the mat.