I am a Yoga Girl - Amelia Donkor

Who am I? Not such an easy question really, for any of us. Well I’m certain I’m a human, of the female persuasion, I have brown skin and a big smile. Does that paint a picture? To some extent...

You see, yoga has got me asking that question a lot; tuning in to the deepest seat of myself and seeing what comes up. My profession is an actor, which on a base line means that I really like people, but I have to admit I haven’t always loved myself. I suppose that’s where yoga has come in. When I first gave it a go I found it pretty boring, to be honest; I was a real gym bunny and didn’t ‘get it’, didn’t feel the burn. But a decade on; oh how I feel the burn.

Do you ever get that sensation in savasana where your eyes just start to leak and you can’t really explain why? In meditation where a flame is lit and something indescribable shines? Or the tingle in your fingers at the end of your breath and the potentiality for something new?

I practice for that, but also to find bliss in the mundanity of life. Non-dual tantric philosophy teaches us that we can experience beauty in all things and I’m beginning to see it, even in myself!

I’m currently diving into my teacher training and without doubt the most significant part of my learning has been the kula I’ve discovered, my yoga community. I always thought that only performers and exhibitionists were up for sharing their feelings in a plentiful (sometimes annoying!!!) way, but in my kula I have experienced the most intimate sharings and delicate moments of surrender that will brighten my life forever more.

This is yoga. This is connection.

As we begin to connect more, to listen, to share, that phenomenal matrix of life is electrified again and again.

I’m on retreat in Italy at the moment, my first ever (oooh!) and the teachings are pretty intense. I am flooded with light by my teacher, Leila Sadeghee, and her teacher, Hareesh Wallis. But I’m also reminded there’s always learnings in the space between. We’ve been playing with free movement and a remembrance of our selves before we became ourselves, moving and expressing in any way of service, sometimes without an asana in sight. Not for everyone, but it really shakes things up. It was in a tender moment of spinning on my tip toes when a fellow retreat compatriot circled me with a fan in his hands and brought rise to my tears. I don’t know what it means, but I know it’s part of the journey.

This is yoga. This is connection.

So what would I share with a stranger? Stories. As my vocation expands, the central theme stays the same. But who do I tell the stories to? We all recognise that often it is a privileged few that witness the magic of yoga, but this stuff is too special to keep secret. My dedication to yoga is also a yearning to buoy its diversity and open its doors.

Yoga doesn’t just have to happen on the mat or in the classroom and with the same few faces. I feel a responsibility to engage with those who think that yoga might not be for them... So get ready mum, old mate and man at the bus stop, I’m coming for you...

I am a storyteller and yoga breaks old narratives and refreshes a new story. Let this story be the first of many and let the roots of yoga grow.