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Pamela Sidhu speaks to movement

Imagery by @alexmcv

Pamela Sidhu has shared with us her journey of movement from a long time spent in her career of dance to now where her practice of yoga and pilates has become a core center of her life. The words shared are an encouragement to add movement and depth to your life as well as a beautiful insight into what this has been like for herself and the ethos Pamela has chosen.

Tell us about yourself and what led you to make movement your profession.

I previously had a long career as a classical and contemporary dancer. Yoga and pilates initially entered my life to support this work, with yoga more specifically becoming a pillar of support in so many more ways than just a physical practice. I found my way into teaching in the fitness industry as a natural extension to working as a dancer, and my relationship with movement. I am passionate about equipping people with the capacity to move with greater safety, integrity, and consequently power.

How would you define your instructor style and what makes it unique?

The nature of training and working as a dancer strongly informs the way I teach, as well as the knowledge base I pull from. I will always be grateful for the way dancing cultivated a deep awareness of, and presence with, my body. This type of relationship is not something that happens overnight. It requires time, devotion, curiosity and applied effort. I’m not interested in grand shapes or over-the-top sequences, if they do nothing to strengthen you or in fact hurt you. Where’s the longevity in that? Let’s pull it back, slow it down, simplify. Let’s talk about technique, alignment, mobility and correct muscular engagement. From this place of integrity we can cultivate the knowledge, and the strength, to move efficiently. Purposefully. I believe these are the building blocks that lead to huge advances in an individuals physical health. My intention therefore is to provide the outline of an experience and, within that, to inject the knowledge, support and inspiration necessary to invite people to meet their potential, in whatever capacity they can on that day.

What does your daily routine look like?

I have a constantly changing schedule due to my work as a freelance artist. Teaching acts as an anchor, with my classes generally bookending each day, whilst artistic work and admin occupies much of the middle of the day. This has presented some challenges when it comes to honouring my personal and mental wellbeing within my daily routine.

How do you balance physical fitness and mental wellbeing through your practice?

I’ve had to re-prioritise personal development, making it a boundary I uphold, as reconnecting to myself is vital to my capacity to show up authentically and vibrantly.
This currently looks like getting off social media, prioritising sleep and eating well. Sounds simple, but it does fall to the wayside without proper care.

For my own physical practice I attend guided sessions at The Cobalt Club in Eden Terrace. I get to train differently here. Lift heavy, move dynamically and, most importantly, be supported by other instructors.

In regards to mental wellbeing I think it’s important to develop a tool box of modalities, which you love, that support you - and to give yourself permission to access them when in need. My tool box looks like podcasts, documentaries, music, breath work, running, saunas or ice baths, family, friends and following the call to be in nature whenever possible. Nature's intimacy, beauty, wildness and power is draw-dropping. I love the challenge of long and, at times, arduous hikes - always rewarded with the experience of meeting myself anew amongst ever changing landscapes, and the healing of being reminded what a gift it is to be alive and call this Earth home.

I’m also currently undergoing the Awareness Insight Meditation Teacher Training Course, facilitated by Claire Robbie, founder of SOMM. Amongst the expanse of learning and discovery is also the expectation to commit to two 20 minute sessions of silent meditation a day. After some deeper understanding, and guidance from Claire, I now crave these moments in my day. It’s funny and humbling to watch how easy it becomes to instill this habit, to find 40 minutes in my day, with a simple shift in awareness and priority.

What advice do you give people just starting their fitness or movement journey? Or perhaps struggling with discipline?

I think again this is about a re-frame. Movement should be a compassionate call to wake up to ourselves. An act of celebrating the miracle that is your body. When we hold this close to our hearts, and truly cherish our capacity to experience life in our bodies, we stoke the fire of desire to honour our bodies with acts of nourishment, support and love.

I believe love is the antidote to fear or resistance, which can come up when we start anything new. I also think a movement journey is exactly that. A journey. I would encourage people, as I have been, to let go of the goal or the end product, as the benchmark is only going to move further ahead as we ascend. It’s the journey that is the focus. It’s where we spend the majority of our lives. So the intention then, as Matthew McConaughey put it in his book Green Lights, is to become “less impressed and more involved.” To take it in, appreciate it, enjoy it and celebrate it. This makes effort effortless. Steady and joyful effort in the direction of our goals, whether it be 1% or 5% more each day.

As an advocate for movement, how do you promote diversity and inclusivity within the industry, ensuring everyone feels welcome and represented?

To truly honour this question requires greater space to delve into this subject's complexities. It is also a huge task for one individual and is something I believe needs to be considered by the industry as a whole. Who truly has access to the industry? Who can truly see themselves represented in the marketing of this industry and in the people that make up our community of studio/gym owners, fitness instructors, and movement practitioners?

I would share that, within traditional social norms, I am considered part of an ethnic group. So I think the best way I can speak to the above provocation, at this point in my life, is to not play small but go big. To be more of myself everyday. The more clarity I can speak with; the more confidence I can hold myself with; the more love I can imbue my work with; the more space I can co-create for and with others to do the same within this industry.

Over the last five years I have noticed a huge rise in businesses and fitness providers representing, supporting and speaking directly to their communities. It’s just epic. Truly epic.

Quick fire Q's

Name a scent that invokes a special memory?

When the sunscreen you’ve lathered on hits that sea breeze.

A daily ritual you can’t live without?

A hot beverage.

Favourite dish and where would you like to eat it?

Pasta or Curry at home, so the option for seconds is always on the table. I love food and I’m Indian/Italian, so basically a walking definition of this situation.

What’s your favourite space in your home?

My study room.

Your most-loved Ashley & Co. scent?

Lotus Leaf & Lustre