Louise Fury is one of Badd Karma’s Baddassadors and yes you guessed it, she is a beautiful badass. Lose yourself in her Instagram feed and you’ll see why. By day she’s a piercing artist extraordinaire but she’s just as devoted to her daily yoga practice. I’ve always loved her willingness to play, experiment and challenge herself (isn’t that what yoga - and wait, LIFE - is all about?). I asked Louise to tell us about how she’s achieved so much on the mat in just a short space of time:
Where did it all start?
I took a yoga class in February 2016 and fell in love. I'd tried yoga a few times before but didn't "get" it. After that class I decided to try a 30-day challenge to form a habit. It was just a YouTube thing - the Bad Yogi challenge - that I followed the videos every day for and I really got into it. I think I fell in love when I tried crow a few times and thought "I can do this!". I probably face-planted but it got me hooked.
What was it about the challenge that you liked?
I like challenges because I like structure and having a bit of a schedule. It also kept me accountable if I missed a day or had a rest to make up for it. I wanted to complete it.
How soon til you tried another?
I did another 30-day programme in May which was Yoga Camp with Yoga with Adriene. By that point I was dipping my toes into Instagram yoga and occasionally posting badly-filmed videos or pics. It wasn't until August when I tried an Instagram challenge.... I can't recall the name of it but one of the days the challenge was Super Soldier and I remember trying to film it on the beach and not knowing what the f*ck super soldier even was (still can't do it!). But it was fun because it opened my eyes to new poses and fun shapes and new people.
Why do you love doing challenges so much? What do you get out of them?
I use them mostly for motivation and accountability. Like, if I say I am going to do something it's my way of sticking to it. I do often get distracted and lazy so it's nice to have a bit of an obligation to yourself. Sometimes you can win prizes, too—I've won quite a few awesome things off Instagram yoga challenges. But mostly, I just play along to learn. I've not been participating in many lately because I often run out of time during my practise. Recently I did a quick handstand one that I really loved, it was just 7 days and didn't include drills so it was awesome! The last two I did before that I didn't finish due to back and shoulder pain but I still had fun and tried a few poses I've never tried before.
What have they helped you achieve that you might not have done otherwise?
Most of the public challenges helped me or taught me a new pose or drills to build strength towards goals. A few months ago I did a challenge with some Instagram pals we called tuckitorfuckitfor30days because I wanted to learn to hop into a tuck handstand without props. Doing it every day actually helped me build the strength and get over my fear... within 30 days I was hopping into the them! I actually continue that journey with #tuckitorfuckitforever on my Instagram. I am not posting as many daily progress shots but it's nice to look back and see so much progress. I also do 365 documentation of handstands and forearm stands. By practising something daily you learn the muscle memory and build the strength to achieve it. Handstands are a very long process. Some days you have it and some days you don't.
Who would you suggest people follow if they’re up for their first yoga challenge?
Have a look on Instagram and see what you'd like to learn or try. They are of all different levels and hosts often offer modifications for poses. Take it easy, know your limits but don't be too scared. If you fall or struggle, know that everyone does. Some of us even post it! @Igyogachallenges is a great place to find challenges. I mainly find challenges with the people I follow and decide from there. I've been a bit slack with them as I am trying to stick to my own goals at the moment. But I usually post the flyers for the ones I am in to.
What are you doing currently (or next) and how can people join in?
At the moment I am sticking with my 365 handstands and pincha (although not posting them as much). I am also doing a 30 day programme through Yoga With Kassandra on YouTube called FlexyFebruary. I’m hoping to sink my strong side splits soon and open up my heart a bit more for wheel pose. It’s a got a lot of Yin Yoga in it (which I really struggle with since I prefer to move and sweat). In a few days I am going to be doing "fuckthatpose" on Instagram. Basically, it's us making funny videos of poses we hate. I recently did a parody challenge with the same people where we poked fun at some of the Instagram yoga trends. It was so much fun to just relax and have fun. We all take ourselves too seriously on Instagram sometimes. I mean, I've been guilty of shooting the same pose 20 times to get a photo I like...