Maude Hirst, founder of Yoga with Maude, on how yoga and meditation has changed her life
British actor turned dedicated yogi, Maude Hirst now offers a range of yoga and meditation classes dedicated to connecting people to their true power and essence through her company Maude Hirst Yoga. Maude sat down with Balance to tell us how she found the practices of yoga and meditation, and how they have gone on to change her life for the better.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU PRACTICED YOGA AND MEDITATION? DID YOU IMMEDIATELY FALL IN LOVE WITH IT OR DID IT TAKE TIME?
The first time I practised Yoga was around 6 years ago. I did a basic Vinyasa class and liked it but wasn’t hooked straight away. At the time I was also doing other forms of fitness and felt like I needed more intensity to work both my strength and flexibility. I continued to practice irregularly from that point and then 2 years ago I found a hot power practice and realised there were so many different forms of yoga that you can find to fit what you are looking for. I was then hooked, realising that I could gain both strength and flexibility but with the added benefit (that I hadn’t found from any other exercise) of clarity and peace in my mind.
My meditation discovery was more recent. I have been meditating for around 2 years. I had always had a fascination with meditation but never understood what it was. However, with the experiences I was having in my yoga practice, I realised there was a real need for calm and clarity in my life. I wanted to find a way to really listen to what I wanted in my life and trust myself to follow that intuition and meditation has opened up just that for me. I now have a daily practice and I couldn’t live without it. I have also discovered there are many different ways into meditation and mindfulness and also do/teach a movement meditation which is also a very powerful practice for tuning into your inner world.
HOW DID YOUR TRIP WITH JULIANNE HOUGH CHANGE YOU AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO EXPLORE YOGA AND MEDITATION FURTHER?
Julianne and I have been best friends for over 20 years and there have been many amazing trips we have taken together. In recent history, we have both been on a path of self-discovery and wanting to share the knowledge we have been discovering. This year we have been on trips to Italy and Peru both of which inspired us to go deeper into our individual practices and training. There is nothing like travel and new experiences to inspire a new perspective of yourself and the world and I am very lucky to have a soul sister to experience a lot of that with.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE BENEFITS OF YOGA AND MEDIATION FOR BOTH YOURSELF AND THOSE YOU TEACH?
The benefits of a regular yoga and meditation practice can be hugely transformational. For me they have taken me from a place of total uncertainty in my life, going through a horrible breakup and reshuffle of my life, into a place of clarity, focus, joy and love for people, travel and life. It sounds cheesy but giving yourself the time to inwardly reflect whether it be in a physical or sitting mindfulness practice, allows you to realise what is working and what is not working in your life, what is it you really want and the confidence to trust those feelings and begin to make changes. I have also realised that having a regular practice in my life allows me to be clearer with my decision making, listening to myself before asking others for opinions.
I have noticed with the people that I teach, there is a real need for calm in society today. Everybody is so focussed and stressed by work, distracted by social media and in a state of constant comparison. It’s a privilege to create a space for people to come and switch off from the craziness of everyday life and begin to empower them to explore their internal world.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?
I wake up and the first thing I do is write three pages of stream of consciousness wringing (inspired by the book The Artists Way). This helps me filter through the thoughts from the night before and unlock my creativity for the day ahead. I then meditate for anywhere from 15 mins to an hour depending how much time I have. Eat a yummy breakfast and get to work, either teaching classes, recording meditations for my online meditation platform, Meditation with Maude, or thinking up ways to grow and nourish my community. I also make sure I have time to see my friends, family and partner, relationships are at the centre of my life, I am so thankful to have an amazing group of humans around me.
WILL YOU BE CONCENTRATING SOLELY ON YOUR TEACHING NOW OR IS ACTING STILL A PART OF YOUR LIFE?
I believe we don’t have to be defined by the work that we do but as the person we are behind the work. I want to be a person that does lots of things and keep growing and expanding as a human. I have spent a lot of this year dedicated to my yoga and meditation journey and training but I absolutely still see acting as part of who I am. I am a creative and so will always go back to acting and creating as often as I can throughout my life.
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING THAT NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU?
I’m a real marmite lover and controversially have marmite and peanut butter together on my toast for breakfast.
I’m also a Theta Healer, which is an energy healing modality.
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR BALANCE IN LIFE?
I decided to look at all the things I loved most in my life, relationships of all kinds, travel, creating and collaboration and work at creating a life and career that allows for all of these things. I also have an ethos that everything (sensible) in moderation is key. Following what I love means a more joyful and balanced life.