Andrea Bajer (Photograph by Vanessa Mudd)
Prompted by the birth of her first child, Andrea Brajer made the decision to leave her office career and become a yoga teacher. It was a conscious shift in focus. She joins Vanessa Mudd @TheNailBar to talk well-being and the power of essential oils.
Since 2017 Andrea has been based at Farsley’s OM Yoga Works, a space she describes as ‘perfect’ and where she teaches a range of classes from Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Flow to Children’s yoga – and the recently introduced Tween yoga.
‘It’s about what is right for you.’
I can personally attest to her being an excellent teacher. Her yoga classes do not come weighed down by any intimidating expectations. “It’s about your own body and what is right for you,” she says.
“I like to see people have a good move around and a good workout: not necessarily hard or intense, just to move their bodies in all directions with awareness. (Other) classes focus on certain movements, but not all the range. (Mine) do.”
Andrea loves helping people to become more in tune with themselves physically and mentally. She highlights how frequently people find themselves hunched up – over a desk, for instance – with very little leaning back.
“I always start with the same movements and twists,” she says. “Sometimes I wonder if it’s boring, but if it’s the only time you do those movements, at least I can make sure you do them weekly as a minimum. Repetition means you can observe your body more deeply.”
Andrea particularly enjoys the part of the class given over to relaxation. “Although I’m not doing it the same way as the class, it is still relaxing for me. I go with the body scan mentally as I’m saying it. Lots of people do fall asleep, but you can’t tell unless they snore!”
‘Begin with baby steps…’
Andrea attends yoga classes herself, though recent schedule changes have meant she’s looking for a new one. In fact, she’s added it to January’s To Do list in her journal. She confesses she’s not naturally drawn to the journaling process and began with baby steps, planning to write as much as she could at least once a week.
“I’ve persevered and it’s now part of my morning routine. I start with meditation for 8 minutes and then I write in my journal. Mostly I’m reflecting on what I’d like to do in the New Year. Sometimes I write around my feelings and things I’d like to do in response to them. Putting ideas into a list helps you to stay on track. I think I’m clear about my feelings so I’m one of those people who doesn’t need to write them down.”
‘Connecting with nature is very important…’
We discuss what self-care looks like. Some aspects feature in Andrea’s Journal list. “My ideals are things that make me feel my best. This includes a lot of trail running and hiking; connecting with nature is very important for me. That is my preferred form of culture; that is my true self. My goal for 2020 is to ensure I spend enough time in nature.”
Though she prefers going for a run and jumping in the shower afterwards to soaking in a long bath surrounded by candles, she “would have a bath with Epsom salts, then use essential oils and massage to soothe muscles after exercise. This can make such a big difference to how you feel.”
“I do breathing practice regularly as part of my self-care. My sleep patterns have changed. I need more sleep now than I used to. I think different phases of life need different responses, and recognising this is an important part of self-care.”
‘Aromatherapy oils complement my yoga beliefs…’
Andrea uses aromatherapy oils in her classes, which she also sells. “The use of oils complements my yoga beliefs,” she says. “I had to find something I really believe in and that I use myself. I get great feedback from people, especially at yoga classes where we use the oils. They can really enhance and support emotional well-being.”
Does she read much? “Less so since I had children,” she confesses. “I tend to read lots about yoga, as I like to continually study and improve. So, I haven’t read a fiction book in a while, (and) when I do I have to decide whether to read it in English or Hungarian [her native language]. Sometimes I can feel the translation and don’t always like it. Films annoy me too! When I visit Hungary I don’t want to see dubbed films, as I know when they aren’t translating properly.”
‘We should be looking for balance…’
It is the start of a new year (and decade). Does she think women are better placed? “Probably not! There isn’t enough balance with many things. I don’t like posts online encouraging women to accept everything and stay as they are. It’s a lie to say everything is okay when it isn’t. We should be looking for balance around health. It’s not about going on a crazy weight loss diet, nor should it be about eating lots of unhealthy foods that make you feel ill. The word diet should just mean what we are eating; it’s become a bad word for some people. We all know a healthy diet is right for us. It’s almost like women are being encouraged not to do things for themselves. If a woman doesn’t like how she feels she should be supported to be able to do something about it.”
For 2020, she has put together a day retreat in the treatment rooms at Harewood House for March, she says. “This will include yoga practice, philosophy around yoga, massage and reflexology, alongside a walk in nature before some yoga relaxation to finish the day. I hope to build on this and offer more days throughout the year.”
For her nails Andrea chose the beautiful Prima Gel in Emelie. It compliments her gemstone beads, which are handcrafted and semi precious.