Shona McCallin (MBE) Olympic Gold Medalist on Inspire Hot Yoga

So I’m sat writing this blog just over 3 weeks since we won a Gold medal. Sounds weird even writing it, as I still can’t believe it myself… 19th August 2016 is a day I will remember forever!

Hi I’m Shona McCallin, 24 years old and an Olympic Champion. I was part of the Team GB Women’s Hockey Team that won Gold in a dramatic final against The Netherlands.

I’ve been coming to Inspire since it opened back in 2015. I remember seeing on Facebook that a hot yoga studio was opening in Maidenhead and got so excited at the prospect. I’m so pleased the people of Maidenhead and surrounding areas have really got behind Inspire and helped it to grow into a real safe haven for so many people. The more people that do yoga the better in my opinion.

I love coming here to Inspire. It has such a friendly, welcoming vibe and gives me a place to come and rewind – not only physically but, probably more important, mentally too. It gets me away from the hustle and bustle of life as a hockey player, allows me to switch off from technology and to just focus on myself.

Top level sport is probably 70% mind and 30% body. Everyone who plays international sport is skilful. It’s not important to be the most skilful player on the planet. What’s important is to be able to execute skills over and over under pressure and under fatigue – this is when the mental side kicks in. I’ve really learnt the importance of this over the last couple of years training as a professional athlete. This is what sets apart good players, great players and excellent players. Yoga has definitely helped with the mental side of my game. Its helped explore how my mind works and help me to control my mental state better during training and stay more level.

During training weeks, the GB Women hockey team train 8-9 times. 10 years ago people weren’t fortunate to be full time hockey players but since funding from UK Sport and the National Lottery has come on board, this has changed. I feel really blessed to be able to do something I love every day. We work to a 3 to 1 ratio. We train for 3 weeks at a time at Bisham Abbey near Marlow, then have 1 weeks ‘rest’ which is essentially still training but involves no hockey and doesn’t have to be at Bisham. During these rest weeks I often come to Inspire once or twice to help my body and mind recover. So if you ever see me please come over and say hi. I try to come with some GB teammates too – you’ll probably notice us due to the lack of flexibility in our hamstrings, backs and shoulders!

As you can imagine it’s a tough, intense, busy and mentally draining lifestyle. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. Actually I would…for it to be a little bit warmer and sunnier in the winter please!

If you want to find out more about me or hockey, head on over to my social media channels or GB Hockey social media channels

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Instagram: ShonaMcCallin24