International Women's Day: Ella McKnight

International Women's Day: Ella McKnight


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Real Lifters: International Women's Day 2020

This International Women's Day, we're celebrating the women in our lives who lift us to our goals, to our potential and to our truest selves.

We stand by each for equal, and the ideal that every single person - no matter their race, views or upbringing - should be entitled to the same opportunities as the person next to them. This being said, none of that would be possible without the selflessness, loyalty and courage of the women who support us in everything we do.

So, in order to support the females in our lives that lift us to fight for glory; realise our potential; push boundaries and break misconceptions, we're bringing you six days of incredible and inspiring stories from six amazing women. 

Today, marks the second story. To find more from this years International Women's Day campaign, click here.

. . . 

Ella McKnight: Inspired By The Students She Teaches

Once you've watched the film footage below, please take an extra few minutes to delve further into the story of Ella McKnight. Having previously battled with both anxiety and depression, the 23-year-old yoga instructor opens up to us about how her students have given her back an overwhelming sense of purpose.

[Our Learning]:
You hold your own powerOnce you find that power, the effect it can have on others is resounding.

"Yoga is something that brings so much happiness to my life. It's not about being flexible, or being able to touch your toes, it's about strengthening your body and your mind."

As she was growing up, being active wasn't something out of the ordinary for Ella. If she wasn't playing netball, she would be dancing. And if she wasn't dancing, she would happily be swimming lengths of the pool. In retrospect, fitness was never actually the challenge. 

What was ordinary - at least to Ella - however, was the constant inner battle with both stress and anxiety. 

This truth that you're about to read, follows a completely different journey to what you'd expect. The influence it's since had on the people who surround Ella day in, day out, has been mesmerising. 

. . . 

A Battle To Find Her Purpose

"I felt lost. Confused. At times, a failure."

. . . 

Consciously aware of the effect that stress, anxiety and depression were having on her mental wellbeing, after only four months of study, Ella decided to leave university. 

Four months. That's all it took.

But, unbeknown to her at the time, that strong-willed decision to leave, would actually be the first step in discovering who she really was. 

"I wanted more from life. I felt like I had nothing to work towards" explains Ella, when asked why she decided to become a yoga teacher. 

"Yoga was something that brought so much happiness to my life... I wanted to help inspire others to try it too."

A journey of self-discovery sounds nothing far from terrifying, but you have to understand that it's a non-judgemental relationship, with yourself.  You're building self-trust. You're recognising your own strength. You're working on you. 

And that's exactly what Ella did. 2020, celebrates a one year transformation of growth, power and confidence in search of a purpose that was once lost. A purpose that is now found. "My students mean so much to me, they probably don't even realise" says Ella. "For all the hard work that went into working on myself, my mental health and learning how to teach yoga... to then see someone totally relax in a class I'm teaching is huge."

Lifted By Her Students.

But her students impact on Ella spans much further than just relaxing in class. 

"Every student has a standout moment... 

As humans, we're programmed to fight or take flight. Witnessing the moment my students actually surrender to relaxation is unforgettable."

What Ella doesn't realise is that although she's grown in both stature and strength, she's also become a figure of power for those around her. Her new found purpose gives back to others.

As if to cement the idea, Ella spoke to us about some of her students' experiences...

"One lady that I teach lives a really challenging life. She'd never tried yoga before, but coming to class every week has given her the relaxation tools to be able to cope with the stress of day-to-day life.
She often stresses to me how much it has transformed her way of thinking when a posture gets slightly challenging. She tries, and grows, and naturally that gives you the confidence to think 'you know what, I can do it!'"

. . . 

Be excited to see the beginning of whatever comes next.

If you ever feel like you might have lost your purpose, know that there are so so many people out there that care about you, fighting for you to find your reason why once again. For Ella, it was her students. For her students, it was Ella. 

Know that you are loved indefinitely and appreciated always. You hold your own power. 

Follow Ella's journey on Instagram here!


Celebrate your lifter with #RealLifters and tag @Gymshark 



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