Interview with Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Adell Bridges
So hey, this is stupid love yoga anatomy. And I’m on location in Putnam in the south ago and I’ve caught up with Adele bridges. And she’s a yoga teacher and she’s kind of a European. Yes. Yoga teacher. Yeah. classify yourself slightly differently.
Well, I teach. I teach vinyasa. That’s the style of yoga
I practice mostly and do myself, but actually, I teach mostly workshops. Okay,
so you’re mostly on the road, aren’t you? You’re a traveling yoga teacher.
I’m entirely on the road.
Yeah, yeah. You have you have no home. No home. You’re like a gypsy? Really? Yeah. Yoga Gypsy.
Yoga Gypsy Nomad traveler.
Yeah, how long have you been doing that for
just over a year now, but I’ve been completely like,
And so you just literally and you have no breaks. yourself. We are literally going from life together.
I was going from one to the other for a little while. And then I realized how much I needed to take a break. At the end of last year, December 2017. I yes, had a few moments where I thought that maybe I didn’t even want to teach yoga anymore. And then I took a break a much needed break and I realized that it was just that I was a little bit burnt out. So now I build. I build breaks into my schedule,
because it can happen kind of because it’s a passion and it’s a love. It’s also work and yeah, too much. All the fun can be taken away.
Yeah, absolutely. I think this is something that I saw when I looked at other traveling yoga teachers and I want to do that and and I know now that other people look at my lifestyle and It’s easy to look at it from the outside and see that it’s just all glamorous and like you’re just constantly just doing yoga on the beach or whatever. Yeah, and don’t get me wrong. It’s amazing. And I love it. And I feel incredibly lucky every day.
But there are days that I just stay
inside and I’m just on my laptop, staring at my computer screen answering emails, updating my website. You know, just doing all of the same things that that anybody has to do to make a living. Yeah, and it’s an it’s the time is difficult. And
I’m alone. First of all,
I get to meet lovely, amazing people everywhere I go, but it’s, it’s tiring, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. So there’s a aspects to it that you’re like, Okay, this isn’t glamorous. This isn’t easy. But
I think if it was,
Do you have an assistant or anything to help you with your programming and arranging stuff? No. I know the same. I don’t have a helper and it’s just like the emails and everything. It’s fun and it’s great to be contacting with people, but it’s a lot of time and a lot. Yeah,
yeah. My sister is kind of my unofficial assistant. I guess she does help me like with spreadsheets sometimes. And yeah, she gives me feedback
a lot. You tell me how to your twin.
Yes, she’s my my twin but you’re
not at all the same as it comes to flexibility wise and that sort of thing?
Yeah, well, we’re identical. So
in terms of nature and nurture, in the nature side of things, we are the same but we have a very different lifestyle. Guess because she’s doing a PhD. So she spends a lot of her day, sitting at the desk in front of a computer. And so, yes, she has recently asked me how she can improve her forward folds because she’s, she can’t go as deep as I can. When I think. Yeah. And just in terms of
the way that we’re built,
we should be able to go.
And are you identical? You look the same. I’ve probably probably got different hair and different stuff like that nowadays. But
yeah, I always
say that were identical enough that if I were to be like, hang on still, I’ll be right back. And then she came back in the same outfit, you wouldn’t know. But then, if we were sitting side by side, and you could compare us then yeah, yeah.
So if you’ve done you’ve done some yoga with her, I imagine. Yeah. So was that nice experience to be So of course,
yeah, yeah, she’s my best friend in the whole world. So being able to share yoga, which I’m so passionate about with my best friend, there’s nothing better.
So if we’re saying maybe that she could achieve the same skill level, let’s say as you with the right training as far as the body goes, Yeah. Do you think also you’ve got the same capacity? Because say, we could say she’s an academic man, she’s doing a PhD. You share that same mental capacity? Just Yeah, I hope you haven’t explored. Yeah,
no, I think so. Um, sometimes she like will be talking and she’ll say stuff. And I’m like, you just use a lot of big word. But yeah, it’s just, it’s, it’s that very interesting thing of seeing how two very similar people can go down different routes and that the development that’s made that I mean, we often talk about that it would be interesting for us to be studied, I guess like as we go into old age because she definitely exercises her mind more than I do. I mean, I do exercise my mind I think I, I read and write. And
and she exercises her body as well, of course, but she is doing more on the mental side of things. And I’m doing more on the physical side of things. Yeah. And yet to see which one of us is like, still fits in mind and fit and body.
But yeah, I mean, that sort of thing is so interesting, isn’t it? It’s, as you say, the nature nurture thing and how we will branch in different ways. Yeah, but it’s great that you must have had the support from the family also to explore your interests in such diverse ways.
Yeah, yeah. We were always
My mother, for example,
always wanted us to be to individuals, right? She didn’t dress alike. She didn’t give us similar sounding names. So we were always very individual.
And so I wanted to talk to you. Well, first of all, for those people that maybe a lot of people would be watching this, they’re already familiar with the sorts of stuff that you do. But for those that maybe this is the first time for seeing you your style, the style that you teach, maybe it’s characterized by maybe a lot of inversions.
Yeah, well, yeah, I came. I came to yoga with a background in gymnastics. And so I think that that does show through. I kind of can’t help it. I could not do a handstand when I first started yoga. I used to be able to do handstands when I was younger is Seven years in gymnastics, you can do a handstand. But I was able to, I think very quickly get that skill back. And, and it was just something that I enjoyed it. It was something that felt very natural for me. And so yeah, my, my gymnastics background comes through. But also my style is very strength based,
having been always very flexible.
And we said we might. So I’m gonna come back to that because you when I was talking to you off camera, you were saying that you are hyper mobile. Yeah, that needs to be reflected in the way that you practice. So we’ll come back to that. And so do you also. So what you teach is quite dynamic, quite strength based challenges. The ranges of motion as far as the flexibility do have much of a connection to the yoga philosophy and that sort of thing.
I came to yoga, like very many people just through Asana through the physical side of it. Because I was told that it would be beneficial for me. And I had
lots of injuries that were left over from gymnastics was
before you entered into the yoga.
Yeah. And But then I also saw like cool arm balances and inversions being done like on Instagram.
I thought I want to be able to do that, like, that’s cool.
And so I very much was one of these people, I came to yoga, just thinking that it was moving around on a mat and nothing more. But I was very lucky. I think I had a yoga teacher who he was very good at just kind of drip feeding.
little bits in
about, you know that there’s more to yoga Just moving around on a mat, it’s not just stretching. And then also with Instagram following these Yogi’s obviously, it’s the cool pose and the pretty picture that catches your eye. But because I was as I started doing it, and I noticed that there was something more happening than just how I felt in my body that I was having these moments of just absolute peace and mental clarity. And so I was interested in what was happening, and I would read captions from yoga teachers who would explain more about pranayama and meditation and the yamas and niyamas. And, and that’s when I started realizing, Oh, hang on, there’s, there’s more going on here. Yeah, and that was, I think that that’s it. That’s the beautiful and magical thing about yoga is like, from just as an example, my my own journey is an example that I didn’t I wasn’t even looking for that. The the philosophy side of the yoga wasn’t I wasn’t aware of it and I wasn’t interested in it. I wasn’t looking for it at all. But I still got there just through the offseason and through other people sharing just little bits here and there about what else is happening.
I know there’s a side of you that’s also involved with health and well being. Yeah, that come out of the yoga was that an interest before you started yoga?
I’ve always been interested in in health and well being in general, I suppose. But I think from practicing yoga, I realized how connected it all is. That,
is, it’s like anything, it is a journey. And that, you know, you can’t just you can’t just do like look after one aspect of health and neglect the rest and and so it is it’s not just physical exercise and getting good night’s sleep and you know, it’s paying attention to the food that you eat, paying attention to how the food makes you feel. And that those are the kinds of things that all kind of clicked into place because of yoga
I think was that
you know, nutrition isn’t just a science it’s not just okay I need to get my macros I need to get my my vitamins and minerals. It’s it’s a holistic thing. It’s all part of living as a human being
in this life.
And so the other side’s your your training at the moment is But you’re also giving help as well.
it’s health coaching. coaching.
Yeah. So that’s the other string to at the moment I’m sure there’s many strings to
So that’s great. And so I wanted to talk about as well first of all my Instagram thing and the fact that I know you because I follow you on Instagram and I saw you on Instagram first and that must be the case for for many people. It can be written off as a little bit superficial and and the fact is just people making pretty pictures and using cliched sort of phrases underneath or whatever. But has to be more than that because there’s so many people I knew. When you look at Instagram, there’s there’s any picture you can see somebody doing something and that same We could take a different person do the same sort of pitcher with them, that person doesn’t necessarily get the same following. So there has to be a little bit more depth to it than just creating pitches. So how do you approach it yourself? And what are your views on that sort of
why people may it may be difficult to say
okay. feel like you’ve asked me three separate very in depth questions. I think though, the main, the main thing that
I would say in response to that is that
the depth comes from the fact that it’s a community.
It’s a community of people and
and we’re all supporting each other and motivating each other inspiring each other
and that’s what that’s what I found with the Instagram yoga community was that it’s, you don’t just put up a pretty picture and an inspirational quote and then leave it. I mean,
you can. But
I think if you’re really involved with it, then you’re gonna follow other people. You see what they’re writing about, you kind of get involved with this piece of their life. And it is, of course, just one piece of their life. But you know, you kind of get to know these people. And I feel like I’ve got friends all over the world because I’ve been following people and getting to know them through their posts and their yoga journey and the things that they’ve been through and the, the the way that they’ve progressed.
And then that is also
I think a reason why One
skyrocket. And another account
if you’re engaging if you’re leaving comments and liking and finding new people to follow and those kinds of things then Instagrams algorithms are gonna be, and also just being active on the app regularly. Instagrams algorithms are more going to be in your favor to, for you to show up for other people to find you and follow you. So it’s about engaging and putting, putting that that positive energy out there. And it’s kind of it’s twofold. Like it helps with your following. It helps boost your own engagement, bringing people to your page, but
more importantly, it’s
just spreading love. And I think that that’s, that’s the beautiful thing about the Instagram yoga community is that you So many people are there just to spread this positive message, spread love and compassion. And as it’s gotten bigger and bigger and more people are joined, there are some there. I’m seeing more and more like, especially in the last year or so.
More negativity, more judgment, more
But when I first started it was there was none of that.
and there’s and it’s still
hugely overrides the negativity.
I mean, when something ever challenges the traditional way of promoting something, yeah, boys get some flack because it’s seen as threatening.
Yeah, I bet I think that a lot of these old Yogi’s back in the day, had been around them, they would have used it because it’s, it is a tool and it’s like any, any other tool it’s how you use it and You know, before Instagram, we we only had, you know, going back decades, we only had books and pictures in books. And that’s how a lot of people spread their what what yoga meant to them and helped spread this message of like, hey, there’s this great thing it’s called yoga. was they took
photos and they put it in books.
Were they before photography they were drawing or
they went on tour.
Yeah, yeah, I think I think Yogi’s have always used whatever tools are available to help
this practice to more and more people. And now we have Instagram, and so people are using it that way. But it’s,
I think that
it’s a it’s an app that’s based on
the visual, and so in order to get the message out there. You’re gonna To be better off if your photos are are beautiful and eye catching and so I think that that’s kind of where things get a little bit messy we know where the line where do you draw the line between it being like about yoga and about being about feeding the ego and yeah and and then it is, I think for a lot of people it is kind of an art form it’s a creative outlet this
you know, getting
photos in different locations and
you know, finding some new shape to put your body in it’s a creative outlet but going back to the health and how health is a holistic thing I really think that having a creative outlet is part of being healthy, you know, having this that that feeling of like hey, I made this is part of a healthy lifestyle, life. So I promote just using your creativity to create content that goes online and if if that means that you inspire somebody to start a yoga practice then when when
I mean that is that is what you see with a lot of the comments on on posts is, wow, this is really inspired me to do this or I really like what you’re doing. How can I find out more? somebody does something similar local to me. And for me, when I look at it, I do see and even when I’m viewing things myself, I think, okay, cool, that lets me like that sequence. I wonder whether I could actually do that. Save it, doing that myself or whatever. But like, I do get that from it. But, you know, there will be it’ll be a challenge for you and any other person that’s gaining popularity on Instagram or any other format really, to, as you mentioned, already contain your own ego. So how do you do that? Have you set yourself mental guidelines to actually keep yourself grounded?
Yeah. So two things. First of all, I try to never think about numbers. Just and even off Instagram when it comes to teaching yoga or whatever, like it’s not about how many students are in your class or how many likes you get or how much money you’re making like it, you know, numbers, just forget about the numbers. Do it for the love of it, do it. You know, know what, know what your intention is. For me with my Instagram. My intention is to share my practice, share my journey, what it means to me. And that’s, that’s it really and I think if somebody else’s intention is to get have followers and lots of likes, then fine, as long as you’re aware of what your intention is, you know, as long as you’re not saying like, Oh, I’m just, I’m just here for the community, but then your mind is always like, yeah, like, just know what your intention is. And if it is to get like, lots of likes and followers, great, but be aware of it. And that kind of goes into the second point, which is that it’s the way that social media works not just Instagram, but you know, Twitter, Facebook, all of it
that these these developers,
they’ve written these algorithms in a way that it it does something to the chemicals in our brains like if you are a human being and your brain produces these, you know dopamine and serotonin and all of these then it’s it’s impossible. You are going to get
emotional responses from seeing that, you know, you post a photo and I get lots of likes. So I don’t try and fight that I just try and be aware of it. So I can say, okay, that’s happening and then step away from it, you know, I post something. If I post a beautiful photo that I love, and I and I just, I’m crazy about it, and then it doesn’t like do well, and it doesn’t get a lot of likes and people aren’t paying attention to it. I can feel like a little bit you know, it’s like this, this little bit of like deflation like um, but then I, I’m aware that this is just my brain chemistry and how it works and and I can leave that I can put it to the side and carry on with my life and carry on with my intention to practice yoga, be the best I can be and share that The best I can.
And so so when you’re then a consumer of Instagram or any of these other social medias, what do you find tracks you? What are some of the people that inspired your own practice? Maybe?
Well, I was one of these people that started. I mean, I didn’t really start yoga, but I kind of carried on with yoga and got really into yoga thanks to certain people that I was following on Instagram. The the ones that there were three actually that were hugely inspiring for me. One was Laura Sai Cora. She’s got like over a million followers. One was Robin Martin, and yoga teacher based in Seattle, and one was Dylan Werner. And they’re all friends of mine. No, that’s cool. They’re all like, yeah. And even Dylan. I traveled with him for six weeks. So we became super good friends.
And you assisted him and when?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. When we were traveling that was because I was assisting him, which was an amazing opportunity and experience.
So you’ve managed to gain from that not only insights into your own practice, but maybe insights into how they approach their philosophy towards interacting through the social media platform.
And I think that one of the biggest messages that I’ve learned from not just not just these three people, but lots and lots of my other teachers, whether they’re real life teachers, or Instagram teachers is that, yeah, we’re all different. And so we’re all going to be kind of on our own individual journey. And everybody’s gonna have a slightly different approach and everybody’s going to come to yoga from a slightly different background. And that’s the beautiful thing about it
we’re all going to be slightly different as students and as teachers. And there’s, there’s no wrong. It’s just different.
And when you’re when you’re traveling around, so you’re you’re not in any one spot. That’s a different relationship between teaching students to say as in being in a fixed spot and having regular students all the time. Yeah. What do you see as the benefits but also maybe the negative side of things have not been fixed?
The Yeah, the benefits, I think, for the students that I am somebody different. You know, they they’re going to their studios and they’ve got their regular teachers that are able to help them through their regular practice. But then it’s always nice to get kind of a fresh, fresh
Maybe learn something new from a
traveling yoga teacher who flies in and then it’s gone the next week. Yeah, yeah. So I think that’s what I’m, I’m able to offer them. And I just think about that because it’s from my point of view, it’s it’s difficult I wish that I could understand their practice a bit better and and, and be able to see their growth and their progress. But it’s not about me. It’s about them. And so the way I see it is for them, I’m maybe just a new way of seeing something or just a fresh maybe a cue that just makes something click into place, or whatever, hopefully. But those are the downsides are that Yeah, I don’t I don’t ever get the chance to get to know somebody practice their body, their progress. Unless Unless we do kind of keep in touch, there are a few people that I work with over over Skype or FaceTime. And I get to I get to see them progress. But for the most part, it’s Hello. Here’s some cool stuff. Goodbye.
Until the next time, so imagine going around, things come around or second place or that kind of stuff.
Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah.
And so you mentioned earlier the fact that you came from gymnastics. People often say, well, that’s you know, that’s why she’s so flexible. That’s why she can do all this stuff. But it doesn’t always comes with baggage too, doesn’t it? It comes with the fact that you can be a little bit too mobile sometimes. Yeah, this is the case with you. So you you picked up some injuries in your met not necessarily that time but before you really started into yoga property or maybe in your early days of yoga, by Doing things the wrong way.
yes, I didn’t actually realize that I was hyper mobile. And, you know, you just live in your body. And that’s the only experience that you know is what it’s like to be in your body. It’s impossible, I think, to know what it’s like to be in videos is it? So? For me, I didn’t even realize I was that flexible. And this is and it’s just, this just goes to show how unfamiliar we can be with our own bodies. And that’s one of the beautiful things about yoga is I think it really helps people understand this vessel that we’re living in, but I didn’t, I didn’t know that I was hyper mobile. And I think in the early days of practicing yoga, especially somebody like me, that comes to it just from the physical point of view. I didn’t Didn’t get this idea of like, leave your ego behind and listen to your body and, and so I would go to classes or maybe even be taking a photo for Instagram and I thought yeah, I can do that. Like, let me just drop back into a wheel from standing like, yeah easy I can do it. Look at me. And then it was after about a year of practicing I was kind of embarrassed actually I thought, everybody, all my friends know me as like yoga. And you know, I’ve been telling everybody how awesome Yoga is but my back hurts, my hip hurts, my knee hurts and it’s take a step back and that’s when I started looking at what was going on. And I realized that my hypermobility was the reason that I was feeling all of this pain because Somebody who’s hyper mobile, you can easily just fling yourself into poses, you can just let gravity just plop you back there and moving without any control and without any strength means that certain joints might start to suffer as the ligaments are getting pulled more than they should, which was what was happening with me. And so I started building a lot more strength into my practice. My practice became entirely strength based really, I even was thinking like, maybe I can become less flexible, which is crazy because everybody thinks of yoga as like, you know, I’m starting yoga so I can become more flexible and everything and my aim was to become less flexible. But it taught me so much about my own practice and about my body and just slightly tweaks and how you can move with a little bit more control and mindfulness.
And I, I think,
again, I don’t know I can only speak from my own personal experience, but I think that perhaps people who are, you know, they feel tension and tightness in their muscles, they have no choice but to move slowly and mindfully because they’re feeling it. But if you’re so flexible, and hyper mobile that you don’t feel any kind of stretch, it’s easy to just plop fling, like, pull the leg grab it, you know, and not not have that mindful attention to what’s happening. And so yeah, that that pain, the lower back pain, the knee pain, hip pain, was my greatest teacher and learning how to navigate this body that I’m in.
I won’t get into a separate we’re gonna do a separate video on hypermobility. So we’ll give you more information on how you might recognize it in yourself and the way that you can. You can work with it as well. So what do you what do you have you see your navigation through the next few years of being a traveling yoga teacher? What are you looking for in yourself? What are you looking for, for the community that you’ve built around you?
I’m not I’m not a good planner.
too far ahead.
I don’t think too far ahead. Um, I I kind of go through life I try and just you know, I’m like, Okay, I’m here. This is where I am. How can I make the most of it? And I just know that my life why I found yoga and I started making yoga daily practice and
Yeah, got more and more into this, this whole lifestyle of yoga, that my life got better in every way, every way. And it’s easy. I think sometimes I you know, I’m surrounded by other Yogi’s other yoga teachers and we’re all just like happy living in our little happy bubble where everything’s great. But then, whenever I go and see other other people who don’t, they don’t practice yoga and they don’t have anything in their life that just brings them in inwards and helps them understand like who they really are. And I’m reminded how much how much there’s still a need for spreading more, this, this beautiful practice of yoga and so and Hoping I think Yeah, I just want to carry on doing whatever I can to help people understand themselves maybe that starts with understanding the the body through us in our understanding their own body through my health coaching and
understanding how they feel when they eat certain foods or
how they feel if they change their sleeping habits. But I think that, that’s, you know, that’s step one. And then you go a little bit deeper, you start to understand your thoughts, you start to understand your emotion. And then and I think that that’s where the magic happens is, you begin to understand yourself on a much deeper level than you ever knew was possible because it sounds it sounds like counter intuitive. Like how can you not know yourself? Like, yeah, I mean, I’ve always been me, but you do start to realize That you can, you can not know yourself. And that’s, that’s what, that’s what drives me is to keep helping people in whatever way I can to understand themselves to know themselves and hopefully make the world a little bit brighter and happier.
Great, great inspiration. Cool. So we’re gonna leave it there, Pat. This is not gonna be the end of Adele. As far as love You’re gonna come you guys good. We’re gonna do all sorts of filming today. Well, I’ve got a, I’m gonna take this opportunity because I okay, that’s why I’m filming this. Perhaps we’ll film that. But thanks so much for getting into you. And yeah,
yeah. Thank you.