Polly and Mountain Yoga Breaks
Yoga is something I have been into since the age of around 14 when I borrowed a yoga book from the 1960’s from a friends bookshelf and started teaching myself from it. In my early twenties I found my first Yoga teacher in the form of Richard Adamo. He came from a Iyengar background but with a strong Ashtanga base running through. I loved his approach and the practice transformed my life. I had been plagued from a youngish age with recurring chest infections and had also struggled with low self esteem. After a few years of practicing yoga my confidence started to return and my chest infections dissappeared. I felt great!
Richard ran teacher trainings so it was an obvious step for me to sign up. I loved how yoga made me feel and thought that I would love to be able to teach something that could transform peoples lives in such an amazing way.
I loved practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga but I found that there was quite a competetive edge to the practice which I didn’t like so much. I discovered Vinyasa Flow a while later and fell in love with it. I love the freestyle element, the sense of focus and flow and the way that it doesn’t have to be rushed. For me it ticks all the boxes.
Since then I have been teaching classes in and around Wales and have led retreats in the French Alps, Turkey and Spain.
I am continually looking to expand my knowledge and have attended trainings and workshops with both Jason Crandell and Kathryn Budig amongst others.
I didn’t start mountain biking until I was in my early thirties. I spent my childhood riding horses in the mountains so it was a very familiar feeling. However I did think that mountain biking was something that other people did and I couldn’t possibly be cool enough to do it. I used to see muddy bikers coming in at Nant Y Arian and think to myself “That looks so much fun, I wish I could do it” But never thought that it was accessible for me.
The turning point for me came when I was working at an outdoor centre. My colleague at the time Phill (now my partner in crime) was mad on mountain biking and totally encouraged me to give it a go. I saved up some cash and bought an entry level bike and just started getting out there. Being a beginner I wasn’t sure of riding technique so my first rides were definitely a bit sketchy, I felt nervous riding over rocky sections or on steep downhills and just wasn’t sure quite how to ride with confidence. Luckily I’m quite good at asking for advice so I just asked everyone and anyone about how to do things. Most people were happy to offer advice which was really useful. There were somethings though that I had to figure out for myself.
When I did start to be able to flow down singletrack I couldn’t help but notice how similar the feeling was to being focussed in a yoga flow sequence. For me yoga is like a moving meditation and mountain biking started to give me the same feelings of focus and connection. The buzz I would feel after a really good yoga session was just the same as after riding a really great section of singletrack.
I also found that yoga was a perfect way to balance the body after a ride. Any tension in the body could be worked out on the yoga mat. It was a win win situation. From there came the idea of putting these things together, the yoga, the biking and the amazing area that we live in.
Over the last five years of running these events I have met some wonderful people, had lots of fun on bikes in the sun, rain and wind and made some lasting friendships.
For the future I hope to just keep building on what I do here in Wales, create more adventures and meet more new and interesting people. I want to help other people gain the confidence to enjoy their riding no matter where they are starting from and to share my enthusiasm for the things in life that make us feel good.
Hope to see you out on the trails or on your yoga mat!
Love and cake,
I've been riding and guiding for over 20 years in the UK and abroad. I love nothing more than to ride in Wales, particularly the wild, remote Cambrian Mountains. Being able to share this beautiful landscape with like minded friends is extremely rewarding for me, and for those we guide and share the outdoors with.
It was probably the best weekend I’ve had in ages,
Passion for the outdoors (and bikes)
I’m a British Cycling MTB guide and am super passionate about sharing my love of the outdoors and bikes with new people.
I started riding mountain bikes as an adult. It was a hobby that began as an occasional saunter around local hills, and that soon became a bit of an obsession! I love how getting outside and turning the pedals makes me feel, and I’m really happy that guiding lets me share that feeling with others.
The Elan Valley
We can’t forget to mention our beautiful part of Wales.
The Elan Valley is where we run alot of our events and theres a good reason why we love it. With steep sided valleys covered in semi-natural ancient woodland and stretches of open moorland with incredible views it really is a beautiful place to ride. Couple that with the fact that there are barely any people around most of the time and theres plenty of quality bridlepaths, for us its just perfect.