Hannah Macklin is a London-based yoga teacher, personal trainer, course tutor, and assessor. She has been a student of yoga since her early 20s and qualified as a yoga teacher in 2010. In addition to teaching yoga, Hannah now trains other aspiring yoga teachers through her Yoga Teacher Training Course at Train Fitness.

Hannah teaches playful vinyasa-based flow classes, where she encourages her students to be brave and vulnerable. She is often heard saying, “failing teaches us our greatest lessons,” and “it’s a practice not a performance!” Hannah hopes her students can take this playful attitude off the mat and into their daily lives. She is grateful to her yoga practice for keeping her grounded throughout life’s challenges and for improving her relationship with herself and others.

How did you find yoga? What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

My earliest experience of yoga was following a VHS tape with my older sister in our living room as a young teenager. From my teenage years I continued to practice on and off, and over time—quite organically—I developed a consistent practice. In my early and mid-twenties I was working in the fitness industry, exercising a lot, and I turned to yoga as a way to recover from the physical demands I was placing on my body.

Around 10 years ago I was working in a gym. One night there was no yoga teacher available to teach class so I was asked to step in and cover. With no time to prepare, I walked into the class, drenched in sweat from just having taught aerobics, and taught the class. I very openly told the class I didn’t really know what I was doing—I’m not sure it was them or me that was more scared. After the class a few people came to speak to me, and their words of encouragement set me on path for teacher training.

What does vulnerability mean to you? How do you achieve it in your life?

To me, vulnerability means finding the courage to lower the walls and shields we have put up to protect ourselves from pain and suffering. I think as children we are told to be strong and brave, making us scared to feel hurt, pain and sadness as adults. We are taught that vulnerability is a sign of weakness, so we build these vast emotional defenses.

But while we are preventing ourselves from experiencing pain we are also preventing ourselves from experiencing love, joy, and all the other good emotions. When we finally find that quality of vulnerability we can open ourselves up to joy, intimacy, and connection. Vulnerability is something that I struggle with so I try to do something different every day that makes me feel vulnerable.

What has been the most significant benefit or gift you have received from yoga?

A better understanding of myself, which has allowed me to be authentic in my teaching and everyday life.

Do you ever struggle in your own practice? How? How do you get through it?

Yes! I think struggle is an important part of any yoga practice. It is a part of real life we all experience at some point, and yoga mirrors our everyday lives. I believe the practice is our teacher, and when we experience these struggles and challenges in our practice or on our mats, we develop a better understanding of how to navigate the struggles and challenges in our lives.

When I struggle with poses I try to look for the lesson—what is my reaction when I meet challenge, and why? What is really holding me back in my practice today? When I struggle with consistency, I commit to getting on my mat every day for 5-10 minutes. If I keep getting on my mat every day, eventually it starts to flow again.

What do you hope to offer your yoga students, teacher trainees, and the greater yoga community with your work?

When I teach, I hope to create a fun, safe place for people to explore new experiences and learn more about themselves through yoga. I hope to create a safe space for the next generation of yoga teachers to find their own practice, style, and voice, and to give them the confidence to go out and share yoga authentically. I am always looking for ways to make yoga relevant to the people I meet and bring people together through the practice.

Thanks so much Hannah!