Nurse, self care enthusiast and the Lust team’s very own YIN Yoga instructor, Channy chats with us about transforming her life after heartache and the benefits of yoga and meditation. For the past few months, we have been starting our working week with Channy practising YIN yoga to prepare us for the week ahead, today we asked her about her transformational journey.
Who is Channy?
"Hello, I'm Chantelle Whiddon but most call me Channy. I'm a Sunshine Coast local and enthusiast (I love the Sunny Coast!) and I have been on a deep, transformational journey over the last 6 years or so. I love all things self care and am a HUGE advocate for encouraging people to take care of themselves, physically, mentally and spiritually.
I have been working as a Nurse for over 10 years, I love to travel & although a few years ago I spent almost a year travelling Australia in my little old Van named Rosie, I am loving exploring my own backyard again while the travel restrictions remain apparent. I have spent a lot of time overseas over the last few years, exploring different practices and cultures, I just love and appreciate what the world has to offer."
What is your 'Why'?"I believe we have many 'why's' during our life, especially as a woman. In my younger years my 'why' was nursing. I love nursing and have been doing it for a long time but when I really started to unravel the layers of who I really am, I knew there was something more that I needed to be sharing in this world. I have a deeply rooted passion for nurturing, I am a nurturer by default and over the last 6 years I have really allowed myself to explore what that really meant and how I could bring that to the forefront of my work. In early 2016, my then husband and I were in the thick of a separation, working through the ick of divorce when my mum passed away from lung cancer, I was 25. At times I wondered what I had done to endure such hardship at such a young age but what I realised was, I had this beautiful opportunity to rewrite my future. A few months later I went on a solo trip to Cairns and spent my 26th birthday on a boat, solo on the Great Barrier reef, it was a game changer, I realised that strength, power, love, connection, it comes from within.
Now, my 'why' is holding beautiful spaces for people to come and be encouraged to connect into that strength, power, love, to listen to their bodies, to their mind, in a safe, loving, nurtured space."
What made you fall in love with yoga and meditation?
"I first went to Bali back in 2014 and had no idea what spirituality meant or was. I had never practiced yoga, I was a real cardio lover, but had never explored any soft or gentle movement. My first trip was just the usual tourist-like trip, bintangs on the beach, surfboard hires, and one or two day trips. The second time I went to Bali I took my mum with me, she had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer but was still feeling well enough to travel, so we went to a health retreat together for 7 days. We did daily meditation, energy healings, yoga and ate plant based. That trip really opened my eyes and my heart to a different way of thinking, moving and eating. From then I practised yoga on and off over the years, a lot of the time I found yoga a real challenge, I struggled to surrender to how my body felt in classes and tried to really push myself to the limit all the time. The turning point for me was after I sustained a back injury in a yoga class and after that, I delved into the practice of YIN yoga and really connecting into the body, which is where my passion now lies. YIN is a beautiful, nourishing practice that I just love and after my injury, as a teacher, my focus in class is really inviting the participants to deeply listen to what their body is telling them, to go on an inward journey and find the connection, listen to the messages."
What has yoga taught you?
"Yoga has really taught me how to listen to my body. It really highlights where I am holding tension and allows me to delve deeper into that. It has taught me that every single body is different and that the depth that someone next to me might be achieving, may not be so achievable for me in that moment, it has taught me to stay in my own lane, in my own body without comparison or judgement."
Do you think everyone should be doing some form of yoga or meditation?
"Absolutely. It is important to remember that there are many different forms of yoga out there that are achievable for all levels. The same goes for meditation, there are many different types of meditation out there, maybe you've tried one and it didn't work for you, try something else. Remember that yoga and meditation are practices that require commitment and practice, be gentle with yourself, the most important part is showing up."
What practices do you take to minimise chemicals in your daily life? Is this something that is important to you?
"Oh I love this question! It is SO important to me. First of all I always drink filtered water. I eat a predominantly plant-based diet and shop organic. I spend a lot of time in the supermarket reading labels and seeking out what brands use the least amount of preservatives and additives, although he appreciates it, it drives my now husband (who is the best!) mad when I take a really long time in the supermarket reading every single label! I cook most things from scratch and try to avoid packaged foods. I use natural and where possible, organic make-up (Lust Minerals) and use essential oils as perfume."
What is your favourite quote?
"Something I believe so strongly - "There is a lesson in everything if you choose to listen."
Channy is a breath of fresh air, with such a positive outlook on life. We love learning all things meditation and yoga from her! You can find more of Channy here: @uniting_rituals @thelittleveggie
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