Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Helen Garner – the one question I get asked quite a lot on Instagram is WHEN I moved to Africa… so I guess that is my first comment. I am African, born and bred – my children are 7th generation South African. I have lived and travelled the world, but I always come home to Africa. I was born and raised in a small coastal town on the Kwa-Zulu Natal north coast… and I live in an old historic farmhouse with my husband, 2 kids and 4 dogs. My favourite place to travel… anywhere where I can get in the sea and swim and freedive (lets also use the adjectives WARM and HOT here too… my African blood is thin and mainly anything under 24 degrees is sweater weather for me).
When did you discover your passion for yoga?
I always kind of could “do” yoga – my body understands the poses pretty well… but it wasn’t until I got really sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) that I was told I could no longer exercise. I was a competitive athlete most my life and I really enjoyed training and the discipline of that… so it was devastating. I quickly looked for something to do – and figured I’d do yoga for a bit – because it’s not like yoga is hard, right????????
I started practising in 2001 and my life as I knew it was never the same again.
How has yoga changed you/your life?
I went from being self-indulgent and pretty sorry for myself, distracting myself with party after party to realising that this was “the addictions” and “the distractions” we learn to recognise and lose when we truly practice yoga.
I quit my job in advertising which had gotten too fake and overstimulating and the antithesis of what I believed in… and took myself to India to complete my Ashtanga YTT in 2004
Learning to face my demons head on and deal with my stuff turned me from a passive victim into a grateful and conscious human. My circumstances didn’t change all that much… but my attitude did… and that made all the difference in the world.
What is your greatest passion?
I want to say so much here. My life IS yoga and I am very passionate about sharing yoga with everyone I can. It’s my dream that the world will start to see yoga (any form, any discipline… just YOGA) as something accessible and important and vital to a healthy and holistic life.
Why are you a Milochie ambassador?
I am very honoured to be a Milochie ambassador because I love who and what they stand for as a brand. I also love the fabric and the fit… the quality is very superior and the fit is awesome, and I am a fan of not worrying about my outfit going south when I am upside down or in a deep stretch!!
What does #LiveFairBuyFair mean to you?
#LiveFairBuyFair really sums up ahimsa to me… how our one action can have a ripple effect of positive or of negative on everything, and if we consciously choose to be fair and do right, it sends a beautiful ripple of good out into the universe.
Using the power of love derived from Ahimsa points beings in the direction of freedom.
What is your motivation for being an advocate for conscious clothing?
I am a mum and it’s important to me that I grow humans who think bigger than their own circle and immediate needs. Which trust me, is an ongoing journey with young children… and at night after prayers they love more than anything to sing Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts words and actions of my own life contribute to that happiness and that freedom for all”)
It’s not enough that we lie in bed and send love and prayers to the world… we have to remember THAT OUR WORDS AND OUR ACTIONS must contribute to that happiness and that freedom.
I love that this mantra gets us involved and not on the periphery watching the world unfold.
What’s your favorite yoga pose?
I am most in love with ustrasana (camel pose). Its not the deepest of backbends… but to me it represents the gateway to depth.
It also is the pose that builds COURAGE and there is nothing I love more than humans showing courage in their vulnerability… which is epitomised on the mat in camel pose.
Who is your favorite person to do yoga with?
BRADY my border collie. He is the one animal or human that is ALWAYS allowed in my studio with me.
What’s a fun fact about you, that most people don’t know?
I lived in Eqypt for 2 years (in Dahab, South Sinai) teaching yoga and competing internationally in freediving and I am 6 times South African Freediving champion.