Time to meet the second mum in my Twelve Mums Of Christmas series – Fiona Gillott, 34, from Kensal Rise in London. Fiona is mum to 20-month-old Maia Wila Echo and while her day job is organising very important people and events at the famous Abbey Road Studios, her other passion is yoga. Before she became a mum, Fiona spent three months in India, travelling and learning, and here she talks about using those disciplines as a mum…
Fiona, tell me about your time in India – what inspired you to go?
“I spent 3 months on a yoga yatra (a spiritual journey) travelling the length & breadth of the country, experiencing different schools and traditions of yoga. I gained my teaching qualification, as well as being present at the Dalai Lama’s talks at his temple where he resides in exile. What inspired me? India’s yogic history, the escapism, the colours, the chaos.
What did you hope to get from it?
“My main goal was to accomplish my teacher training and immerse myself in my practice, giving myself space, peace, health and unity of mind, body and soul. I also knew I’d have a good time, with like-minded people.”
What was your biggest challenge there and best moment?
“It was hard being so far away from loved ones. I wanted to share the magical journey with them. My best moment was volunteering at the Sani Pandi Muni school in Vrindavan, teaching kids yoga. This one experience left me completely inspired by the children’s love, happiness and contentment.”
What was the most valuable thing you learned there?
“I realised that this country, for me, was not so much about the magnificent temples but more about the wonder of the human spirit. I feel I have truly discovered the pot of gold! It was a treasured experience which I will cherish for life.”
How does your life as a mum now compare?
“Well it’s easy to draw parallels! Just like India, being a mum is colourful and chaotic, and an experience of a lifetime.”
What disciplines or theories do you use in being a mum?
“It’s helped me connect with my daughter Maia, to create a stronger bond with her. I’ve used meditation and mantras to soothe and calm her and the yamas and niyamas remind me to teach her confidence, morals and ethics – how to live your life and how to treat others with love, peace and compassion.”
Have there ever been tough moments when you’ve drawn strength from yoga?
“Lots! As a new mum, I was often physically and mentally exhausted. During difficult moments, I’d focus on my breath and breathe fully into every part of my body, drawing on inner energy. If that doesn’t work, quadruple chocolate biscuits do!”
What messages will you be passing onto Maia?
“Be in the moment; don’t live in the past or future. Life is like a river, so follow your destiny don’t swim against the tide, let the universe give you clues to guide you. Whatever you fear the most has no power of you, it’s just the fear that has the power.”
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mum?
“Probably that I previously had no idea about what being a mum was or felt like! A favourite quote by Saraswathi Jois, daughter of Ashtanga yogas Guruji. Sri Pattabhi Jois: ‘It took me 10 years to learn the asanas, then two children to forget about it, the yogic experience I would gain from that was more than any asana could give me’.”
Lastly, are there any Christmas traditions from your childhood that you are keen to do every year with Maia?
“Yes! Staying up really late full of excitement on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas night, snuggling on sofa to watch movies with selection boxes – even though you’re so full you look like a Christmas pudding!”
- For any more information or advice from Fiona, email her on firstname.lastname@example.org