1. Hey Karen, tell everybody where you’re based and what you do!Hey I’m Karen, founder of Soul Connection Yoga and Paddleboarding Adventures. I teach Yoga via my SCY Virtual Studio and In-Person. My style of class focuses on functional movement and traditional Yoga, specifically for active people. I also teach and guide on my paddleboard, predominately on the River Wye. I live in the stunning Forest of Dean with my soul mate Katy and our rescue fur babies, Luna and Suki.
2. How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
3. What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?I’m not sure an epic adventure is necessarily about where you go, so much as who you share it with. For a few years I ran retreats in Sri Lanka: we’d take my local Yoga students over there to immerse themselves in Yoga, wellbeing principles and of course the beauty of the island. Sharing sunrise paddles in the mangroves, watching blue whales from our private catamaran and turtles lay their eggs on the beach by moonlight, swimming by snorkel with giant turtles, practising Yoga outdoors to the sounds of the jungle waking up. Now that’s the stuff of dreams for me.
4. How do you find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities such as work and family?
5. Is there anyone who has inspired your love of the outdoors?Definitely my Dad. He loves walking and hiking and has always been incredibly passionate about the UK countryside. No walk as a child was complete without a pop quiz on the names of trees, flowers, and birds! He still goes out for regular hikes with his friend Ray who he’s known since he was in school. They’re both in their 70s now. To me that is insanely inspiring.
6. Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?100% - it is the main reason I set up my paddleboard school. I was going through a very dark time. Suffering with undiagnosed depression for several years. I was experiencing regular suicidal thoughts and at that point realised I had to change my life drastically. The minute I get on the water my breathing rate slows, my body releases any tension it was holding, and I begin to smile. I get the same vibe when I walk with the pups in the woods. Or when I ride my bike up a big hill and pop out to witness a beautiful vista.
7. What is it about yoga specifically that you love?Yoga has given me back my self-esteem. It has taught me a greater level of respect for my body and has created a healthier relationship with my thoughts. Teaching Yoga outdoors, be that on a paddleboard, in the woods, on a beach or in my garden helps connect me to my joy. Paddleboarding has brought play into my life. I laugh like a child. It allows me to spend time outdoors bringing joy and happiness to others, educating and teaching. I think teaching and inspiring others is my true purpose in life.
8. When did you discover FINDRA?
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?A life coach of mine called Vidya once said to me. ‘Play more Karen.’ At that time, I was setting up my clinical practice and working like a crazy person. There was zero balance. zero nature time, zero life enjoyment. I worked that life for 10 years, moved though burn out twice, before finally realising it wasn’t making me happy.
10. What motivational message would you share to inspire others to get outdoors more?Find something you love and do it with others who love it too. For me, being outdoors often involves spending time with my community. People who love what I love, laugh at the same things, feel inspired by the same things. If you don’t love it don’t do it, ‘cause it will become a should rather than a must. And ‘shoulds’ often wind up feeling like work! Find out more about Karen: www.paddleboardingadventures.co.uk www.facebook.com/soulconnectionyogauk www.instagram.com/soulconnectionyogauk www.facebook.com/paddleboardingadventuresuk www.instagram.com/paddleboarding_adventures
This guy is insanely talented and collaborates with incredible vocalists and musicians from across the globe. His music also has a strong political and environmental voice which resonates with me. I’ve been to the Royal Albert Hall to enjoy his music several times and the buzz is unreal.