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Progress Never Stops: Jen Landesberg

Sometimes our lives are affected by things we can’t control. Periods of anxiety or depression. The loss of a loved one. A worldwide pandemic. When things start to go awry, it can be hard to stay on track, but the mark of an athlete is to stay strong in the face of adversity. 

Yoga teacher, Jen Landesberg, spoke to us about how Yoga helped her navigate the challenges of depressionanxiety, and Covid-19, proving that whatever life throws at us, progress never stops.  

 

Hi Jen, Yoga is a pretty personal practice for any Yogi. How would you define yoga?

[For me] Yoga is a way of life. It’s a physical, mental and spiritual practice. 

 

Can you tell us about your journey with Yoga to date?

I started yoga about 3 years ago. I’ve been practicing consistently ever since, as well as teaching itI completely fell in love with Yoga from the moment I started 

 

How does it feel when you step on to your yoga mat?

The way it feels when I step on to my yoga mat is pure peace and nothingness, but everything-ness at the same time. It’s a connection to the universe and to yourself. 

Jen wears Composure Bra and Leggings in Rosewater

You found Yoga after suffering with anxiety and depression, can you tell us about your mental health journey?

I started to notice that my mental health was declining in my second year of uni. I think people struggle when they’re alone and in a change of environment. It’s quite a lonely place to be when you’re struggling with your mental health and everyone around you is having so much fun. You think “that’s what I should be doing! Why am I in my room struggling to get out of bed, or do the things that I normally do?”

I started to feel really debilitated by anxiety and panic and that’s when I realised that something wasn’t right. I think it was during an exam period that I had a complete mental break down and couldn’t go back to uni to do the exam that I hit my absolute rock bottom.

As your anxiety intensified, how did it impact your daily life?

When my anxiety and mental health started to get really bad and intense, I felt that I was debilitated from doing the things that I would normally do. Even getting in the shower, eating or making myself food, going out with my friends, or sitting in lectures was too much for me to handle. It’s a really scary place to be when just having a shower is difficult. That’s when you know something isn’t right.  

When I sat down to revise for that exam I felt a new level of panic. I started pacing around the house, and then I just locked myself in the bathroom and thought “what am I going to do?” I couldn’t face going back to Uni, my parents were away [so couldn’t] make me feel safe or talk it out. I felt so alone. I remember curling up into a ball in the bathroom and thinking “I’m not leaving this room, I’m not leaving this room.” It’s a really tough memory for me to go back to.  

It’s a really scary place to be when just having a shower is difficult. That’s when you know something isn’t right.

What was your road to recovery?

It actually took me a while to do something about it, because I remember thinking at the time that mental health wasn’t really spoken about as much as it is now.

It wasn’t like “talk to someone, talk to someone,” it was “I am going crazy.” I was searching forums to see if it was happening to other people. A while after I started searching, I realised that it wasn’t just me. I wasn’t getting better on my own, so I decided to start CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). It’s all very ironic because I studied psychology, but therapy helped me a massive amount.

People are scared to take the leap and go to a therapist because it’s like admitting something is wrong but that was my turning point, and I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed about it. I did a lot of CBTbut as much as a therapist can help you, you have to be able to help yourself tooI had to retrain my brain in completely new ways. I retrained my thought patterns and change my mindset towards the things that were making me anxiousYou have to be willing to be to train your mind in the same way that you’d train your body in the gym. That was a big turning point for me. 

I had to retrain my brain in completely new ways. I retrained my thought patterns and changed my mindset towards the things that were making me anxiousYou have to be willing to be to train your mind in the same way that you’d train your body in the gym.

How did Yoga make a difference to your situation?

Yoga in itself is a complete introspective practice. It’s finding your way back to your truest self without any ego or attachment or judgment. When you step on your mat, that’s your aim- to find your way back to yourself.  

Jen wears Composure Bra and Cycling Shorts in Deep Lake

What has Yoga done to your outlook on life?

Yoga has changed my outlook massively. People think it’s just a physical practice where you do some cool shapes on your mat, but it’s not. It’s a discipline. It’s a way of life and it dates way back beyond the physical practice. It has its whole own philosophy. It’s completely changed the way I look at everything. 

What differences do people see in you now?

I think people would say I’m a completely different person now to the person I was three or four years ago. My priorities are completely different. I’m a lot calmer. I know myself a lot better. And I have a purpose. That’s the biggest thing yoga has given me, purpose. 

What is your advice to people in a similar situation to you?

If anyone was in a similar position to me and feeling really lost or alone or helpless I’d recommend speaking to someone. Just talk to someone. Even if it’s your friend or your mum or whoever it is, and find the best way to seek help. We shouldn’t be ashamed to go and seek help for these things. If you felt sick physically, you’d go to a doctor. You’d go to the gym to get stronger, physically. Why are we so afraid to do that for our mental health? 

If you felt sick physically, you’d go to a doctor. You’d go to the gym to get stronger, physically. Why are we so afraid to do that for our mental health?

How has yoga helped you through 2020?

Yoga has definitely been my (and for a lot of people, their) saving grace during the lockdown because it’s a way to keep calm with the massive amounts of overwhelming things that are going on around you. Even before the 2020 madness, the world is overwhelming enough in itself. Yoga is a way to switch off for an hour, or however long you’re practicing for and just come back to yourself.  

So, after this mad year, what’s next for you?

I think for me, 2020 has been a massive year of transformation. It’s given me the opportunity to look back at that purpose and why I’m here. My purpose is to help other people, to add value to other people’s lives as much as I possibly can. Having this time to think about that has brought me back to that path of ‘this is what I’m here to do.’ 

Jen wears Composure Joggers and Hoodie in Galaxy

Jen wears clothes from the Composure Collection.

Want to know more about the collection? Check out our interview with designer, Emma Lucas.

Designer Q&A: MP Composure Collection

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Designer Q&A: MP Composure Collection

2020-09-28 08:00:59By Georgie Gilbert

 

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice.



Georgie Gilbert

Georgie Gilbert

Writer and expert

Georgie is a Fashion Marketing and Communications MA graduate originally from the south. After University she went on to work in Sports for a leading sports equipment manufacturer, where she was lucky enough to work with world-class athletes, top trainers, and inspiring customers alike before taking the experience forward to MP. A somewhat reluctant early bird, Georgie manages to drag herself to the gym most mornings for 7:00 am HIIT sessions or weight training under the watchful eyes of a virtual PT. For some reason, Saturday night takeout always tastes better when accompanied by DOMS.