At AWAKEN Mind.Body.Glow we believe we are here to thrive, not just survive. Founded by Courtney MacDonald, registered vinyasa flow, yin yoga and meditation teacher AWAKEN celebrated its first anniversary in business on 27th September.
AWAKEN is here to help you live a more purposeful, peaceful, balanced and wholesome life. Most of us in the modern western society live in survival mode, a heightened state of living which promotes the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, into the body. Most of us spend much of our day disconnected from our body and very much live in our heads, which can lead us to live in the future or in the past. Both extremes of these timelines are a moment in time which doesn’t exist, it has either happened and cannot be changed or it is in the future and cannot be controlled. To be content and grateful in the present moment is the greatest sense of peace we can experience, making peace with the past and embracing the unknown future. Yoga and meditation are two highly regarded methods of bringing our awareness to our bodies, the present moment and mostly importantly, to our life force energy – our breath.
We asked Courtney about AWAKEN and here is what she had to say: “I’m Courtney MacDonald, founder of AWAKEN Mind.Body.Glow. My yoga journey began at just 21 years old and I knew early on that I wanted to share this powerful, life-changing practice with the world. Just before the pandemic hit, I was going through a very sticky patch in my own life, I knew I needed to take action to bring about the positive change I needed. Despite the nerves, self-doubt and concern over what other people would think, I embarked on the 3 week, 200hr, fully immersive teacher training course in Greece which changed my entire world. I’m now qualified and registered through Yoga Alliance to teach the following:
- “Vinyasa flow: a playful, dynamic steady flow of carefully linked poses, where each breath is linked to one movement. This type of practice builds strength and flexibility simultaneously and encourages us to stay present in the body and in the moment. This is a more cardiovascular practice which build lots of heat in the body!
- “Yin yoga: a deeply meditative and slow practice. In yin we are mostly floor based, holding poses for anywhere from 3-5 minutes to stimulate fascia production for healthier, stronger and more stable joints. Yin yoga forces us to slow down, turn inward and sit with our thoughts and feelings to allow the emotions (energy in motion) to pass through, leaving us feeling deeply centred, relaxed, focused and with a new perspective on life. Yin yoga can greatly accelerate our joint flexibility.
- “Guided meditation: meditation is training of the mind, like training the body through yoga asana. Our mind is naturally designed to produce thoughts which are important to allow us to make safe decisions and consider potential outcomes based on experience and the world around us. The mind, however, doesn’t know when it’s safe to relax and just be in the moment. The mind requires space and time to become the observer of thoughts, so we can start to identity the thoughts that do and do not serve us. It’s through this time in meditation that we also learn that our thoughts do not define us, thoughts are only trying to protect us and just need some guidance as to when it’s safe to quieten down.”
“AWAKEN was born during the pandemic and I don’t believe the need for mindful movement like yoga and time to turn inward, detach from our thoughts and acknowledge how we really feel, has been more important nor needed. AWAKEN has supported hundreds of individuals both online and in real life to navigate challenging and uncontrollable times in a more balanced, focused, happier and peaceful way. AWAKEN is committed to making yoga and meditation accessible and affordable by continuing to deliver classes online both live and on demand through my boon tv channel, and in real life through studios in Inverness and Nairn.
“I believe everyone can benefit from yoga and meditation and there is a plethora of different styles out there. In fact, simply observing your breath and sitting or lying still for a few moments is practicing yoga!
“I’d like to debunk some of the myths surrounding yoga and meditation and make the practice relatable for people. Many people turn to yoga and meditation when they are going through tough times in life both physically or mentally and while this is a positive and powerful practice to turn to, I’d love more people to consider starting yoga and meditation regardless as it really does equip us with the mental and physical resilience to withstand the inevitable storms of life. I’m here to offer yoga and meditation to prevent as well as to help cure mental and physical ailments – a space for you to give yourself the time to turn inward, nourishing your mind and body.
“We spend a lot of our days looking after and tending to other people and other commitments, but I can’t stress the importance of caring for and nurturing yourself first. When we are stressed, running from pillar to post and trying to get through the unattainable pressures that we, and society, put on us, we can’t be the best version of ourselves or fully enjoy our life experiences. When we allow time to nourish our minds and bodies, it not only improves how we feel within ourselves and how we experience life, but also our interaction with everyone around us!
In addition to the studio classes run in Inverness on Wednesday evenings at Inverness Yoga Studio and Sunday mornings at Tribe, AWAKEN has recently added a new studio location to the schedule – at the beautiful Highland Yoga Collective in Nairn. You can join Courtney every Thursday at 7.45pm – 9pm in their well-equipped, accessible studio on Acre Street for an energetic vinyasa flow class.
If practicing from home in your own time is more of your thing, Courtney is running a 7 week Chakra Balancing Series through her Boon Tv Channel live every Tuesday at 6pm or available anytime for catch up. This series is made up of a 75 minute balancing yoga flow to physically and energetically activate and balance your chakras from Root to Crown. The boon tv channel features everything from gentle 45 minute flows to energetic 30 minute power yoga. Classes are available to pay as you go (giving you access to that particular class forever) or unlimited access options via membership. Click here to access the online studio timetable: https://boon.tv/awaken-mindbodyglow
If the studio class schedule doesn’t suit and you would like a more 1:1 support to build your yoga/meditation foundations or you are an experienced practitioner looking to deepen your knowledge and practice, Courtney is currently taking on a small number of 1:1 clients. Please contact email@example.com to discuss your individual needs and embark on your journey at AWAKEN.
When looking at the next 12 months Courtney said: “I aim to grow the virtual student base, touching more people’s lives with yoga and meditation from anywhere in the world and at any time. We all have different needs and schedules and it’s important to me that everyone can access what they need when their mind and body calls. I am looking to increase the number of businesses that I work with to promote positive change in the workplace and workplace culture. I believe that our workplaces should be empowering positive environments in which people can be at their happiest and most creative self. We spend a large portion of our day at work, so it should contribute to a large portion of our self-fulfilment.”
AWAKEN is now opening up the calendar for bespoke one off events for 2021/22. This could be wedding mornings for a relaxed start for the wedding party, an activity for your self-catering weekend away with friends and/or family, festivals, open days and retreats.
AWAKEN is delighted to offer Workplace Wellbeing Yoga and/or Meditation packages and with the return to offices for many, Courtney is offering a free 45min taster session for 10 businesses who are looking to implement wellbeing activities long-term into their workplace. This can be delivered in person in a space provided by the employer, online, or hybrid.
The benefits of giving your employees access to yoga and/or meditation include but are not limited to:
- Reduce employee presenteeism, leavism and absenteeism
- Improve employee creativity, productivity & engagement
- Relieve tension and stress
- Increase workplace morale
- Incentivise employees to come back to the office
- Retain and attract talent in your workforce by creating a wellbeing culture
- Minimise physical damage and ailments caused by desk posture and other repetitive movements
- Reduce sick leave and sign offs
- Improve overall physical and mental wellbeing
Please email Courtney to arrange your taster session. AWAKEN is also offering 10% off for Inverness Chamber members on all Workplace Wellbeing Packages – quote AWAKEN10 to access.
When asked about the value the Chamber membership provides Courtney said: “When you work alone in your business, it’s a great feeling knowing there is a massive and powerful support network available through Inverness Chamber and its accreditation to British Chambers of Commerce as well as affiliation to Scottish Chambers of Commerce. With such a diverse membership base I know I can always contact the friendly and informative team to point me in the right direction when I need support. The profile raising opportunities and networking events are so valuable and it’s great to feel part of a huge group of like-minded people.
“Always keep Inverness Chamber on your radar when you need support or to share your news and accomplishments! Recap your benefits with the membership team as there is a whole host of benefits you are likely not using and could be getting huge return on investment from. Invest time in making the membership work for you, like all memberships you get out of it what you put in! If you have a team of people, assign different aspects of the membership benefits for them to carry out. This ensures the membership is used to its fullest potential and not left to one person to juggle.”
Here are some testimonials AWAKEN has received during its first year in business:
“I’m in isolation and woke up not feeling too great mentally. Just finished part one of the Chakra series and oh my God, I feel so much better! Exactly what I needed, thank you for being such a good teacher as you’re the only thing getting me through my isolation. Can’t wait for next week’s class” – Boon Tv Student.
“If you’re considering starting or restarting yoga then you will not go wrong with Courtney. Her classes are welcoming, intuitive and extremely enjoyable. You can tell the amount of care she puts into her practice and what she provides, and you are so lucky to benefit from that! I have really enjoyed starting my yoga journey since February and I am glad it started with Courtney and AWAKEN! The flexible online classes are brilliant and now being able to get back to a live class too! Highly recommended for your mind body and soul” – Boon Tv Student.
“Highly recommend AWAKEN Mind.Body. Glow. Courtney made me feel so relaxed and chilled. I had the best sleep ever after my session. Can’t wait for my next one” – 1:1 Client.
“If anyone is thinking about starting or getting back into yoga, I can absolutely recommend Courtney at AWAKEN Mind.Body.Glow. She’s so patient and helpful. I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made over the last few months, and I look forward to practice every week. The benefits of yoga are genuinely amazing to me!” – Studio class student.
Online Studio: https://boon.tv/awaken-mindbodyglow