Yoga teacher Eloise Stephenson is on a mission to help people feel better – and make them smile, too, when she’s out and about in Suffolk, roller skating with her dog. And, as she explains, Dougie is helping her as much as she is helping him
If I had to describe my life, I would say it’s been very eventful and the opposite of conventional. It’s been adventurous, disastrous, incredible, tough, amazing and everything else in between.
At the beginning of 2020 I went on a brilliant trip to Switzerland in the February, and my yoga business was just taking off – which I was really excited about. I had established classes teaching people embodied mindfulness and yin with a combination of coaching self-enquiry into it to bring a special experience. I also held a men’s only class, as I recognise how important it is for men to be able to have some time to unwind and find some calm and not have to just fight through. This was such an important passion for me as I sadly lost my brother James to suicide the previous year, so helping others helped me to find strength to cope through it all.
I’ve experienced a mixture of feelings during each lockdown. I have appreciated the time to really slow down (practicing what I preach), but this is where you can learn such a lot about yourself. I’ve studied, read a million books and indulged in doing what I want, rather than what I should do – so I feel grateful for all of this. I’ve started my yoga classes back, during the times we’ve been let out again, and everyone came back, so this time I’m just trusting that somehow it will all come together as it is meant to.
I’ve also enjoyed plenty of walks all over Suffolk with Dougie my dog. He was my brother’s, so I have had a crash course in learning to care for him, but he has opened up a whole new dog loving world to me.
During the first lockdown I was feeling really rubbish one day, so I went for a walk in Waldringfield and found an amazing tree. I climbed up and sat in it (as you do). Dougie was trying to jump up and join me, so I lifted him up and we both sat together in the tree for a good couple of hours. It was delicious, I felt my troubles melting away somehow. Then, from that day on, if I went near a tree he would run up to it, try to jump up himself and, if not, ask me to lift him up. Imagine walking past a tree and seeing a ‘grown-up’ plus a dog chilling out? This was making people laugh and smile as they passed and that made me smile too.
Then, at another point of trying to keep sane, I decided that I’d treat myself to some new roller-skates (as you do!) and tested to see if Dougie would come with me, so off we both went. It was a bit scary holding onto a lively dog on skates, especially when he decides to chase other dogs and squirrels or sees someone he knows. Skating is fun at the best of times but even more so with Dougie running beside me. So, each time we went out we were spreading fun and creating smiles for people to lighten up their day. We are all big kids at heart – if we let ourselves be.
I can’t even tell you how much Dougie has hugely impacted my life, not only because he was my brother’s, but because he’s a reason for making me go out in the fresh air every day. He’s got such a cute little face and gets lots of attention. It makes me feel good to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
It is absolutely crucial to keep moving. Our bodies need it and crave it. If you work with your body by looking after it, you can discover so much depth intuitively and you find your own answers to decisions, etc. I’m fascinated by the power of what we’ve perhaps not been taught about ourselves.
I’m in the process of creating a skate gang, bringing people together to have skate meet ups and have a bit of freedom from the seriousness of all what’s going on. A chance to simply laugh, be outside, try not to fall over and keep fit. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?!
I shall be continuing classes soon, probably at an outside venue to being with and from there inside again. I currently offer one-to-one healing sessions which you can find out more about on my Instagram or website.