Maud. Maud is embodying what it means to be strong through sharing vulnerability. Opening her heart fully to invite us to follow her growth, this lovely woman is as fun as brilliant. I heard about Maud a year ago when i left Australia and one of the students i taught told me he had found another frenchy teacher to practice with ! I was very honoured that he crossed the Maud’s road, as i listened to a podcast where she shares delightful and deep thoughts ; it was time to contact her ! This is a real pleasure to release this interview, full of humanness and wisdom.
Learn more about this gorgeous woman here : https://www.instagram.com/maudleger/
(Traduction en français sous l'anglais, sauf question 1)
1. Maud, you’ve been travelling for years in a complete new land and had found a way to ground yourself. How was the process of feeling Home within yourself ?
Salut Elisa, first of all, thank you for offering me the opportunity to reflect on my journey and to share about it. It always initiates great insights, new and reviewed.
I don’t actually consider having travelled for years. I spent about 8 years on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, in Melbourne’s inner north, close to the Birrarung River (Yarra). In those 8/10 years spent in Australia, I acknowledge that my wellness increased as my connection to Country and interest in aboriginal culture developed.
I grew up in northern France and moved to Australia at age 20. I was in a relationship that was emotionally destructive at the time that I somehow pursue for 5 years, and that took me to Australia. I spent those years being confused about what I felt, what I thought was normal to feel, and what I dreamed to feel. As a result, I detached myself from my body’s wisdom and developed an eating disorder as a coping mechanism (that is a mental health issue that can have physiological consequences, and it took many different forms during the time I was unwell). The irony is that I was pursuing a career as a contemporary dancer at the time, my mind was working against my body! When I left this relationship, I was 25 and an empty shell. I decided to stay in Australia, as moving back to France felt too much in the mental state, I was in. I took the path of least resistance, I was surviving.
The need of belonging is what I think people call ‘Home’. Ce sentiment d’appartenance, quand tout fait sense. I never felt like I belonged, I was leaving between fearing being seen and searching for approvals. I didn’t know myself, let alone love myself.
I was an immigrant, it was my choice, and I didn’t flee anything. I would lie if I forgot to mention how heartbreaking the journeys between France and Australia were, the goodbyes at the airport. I felt in between my two countries, my two communities. Something kept calling me back to Australia, it had something to teach me, something to let arise in me. I want to acknowledge that I have been extremely privileged to have been able to immigrate to Australia, to have rights there, and to return to my country of origin also. I’m in a way an immigrant also in my own country, as I don’t know how tax, banking, welfare works in France anymore, and I have to prove everything again.
An important part of finding home within, has been to discover Vedic Meditation. Practising daily has accelerated the healing process. I started about 4 years ago, in the depth of the eating disorder I was suffering from (in conjunction with physical yoga, Ayurveda and psycho-analysis) and all the thoughts that I felt imprisoned by started to lose their grip on me, very effortlessly (which is the key word in meditation!). After years of suffering trying to free myself from the disorder, it actually felt easy, simple. It has since freed up sooo much space in my mind and heart. My consciousness was shallower, my mind was overcrowded by obsessive thinking. My mental health recovered organically as my consciousness raised. From my studies of Vedic science, I understand that what happened within me was the overcoming of samskaras (psychological imprints), and the rise of the potential dormant in me (awakening of Shakti).
Sisterhood also takes a prime spot in my journey of healing and of becoming. During my initial yoga training (2014) I met some beautiful women who were on a similar quest of belonging as I was. We really held each other, inspired each other, empowered each other, and together we became who we are now.
I feel extremely grateful for this journey over the past 10 years. I understand that what we all have in common in suffering and a search for belonging, for love. Ultimately, it starts from within, awakened and spread onto community.
2. With the intention to balance the masculine and the feminine energy, how do you combine structure and freedom in your yoga practice ?
The structure is the routine. I work well with rituals, they balance my creativity and over-active mind. I tend to have a set of practices that are “incompressible” like my breath and meditation practices. Movement is important, but the length varies. I move mostly intuitively on my mat, I follow what my body needs and that feels good.
La structure c'est la routine. J'adore les rituels, ils équilibrent ma créativité et mon esprit très actif. J'essaie de conserver des pratiques "incompressibles" telles que mes pratiques de méditation et de respiration. Le Mouvement est important, mais sa durée varie.
Je bouge surtout de manière intuitive sur mon tapis, je suis ce dont mon corps a besoin et ce qui me fait du bien.
3. What does authenticity mean to you ?
For me being authentic is a promise you make to yourself. If you lie or hide to others, you aren’t trusting yourself. It can be daunting do be authentic, but it’s the only path to fulfillment which, to me, is lasting happiness.
Pour moi, être authentique c'est une promesse que je me fais à moi-même. Si tu mens ou caches quelque chose, alors tu ne te fais pas confiance. Cela peut être intimidant d'être authentique, c'est le seul chemin vers l'épanouissement qui, selon moi, fait durer le bonheur.
4. How do you envison health ? Health is holistic. We are made of four parts: body, mind, heart and spirit. To be well, is to care for all four parts equally.
I believe in this, and that’s what I share with people.
La santé est holistique, globale. Nous sommes constitué.es de quatre parties : corps, mental, cœur et esprit. Pour être bien, il faut prendre soin de toutes les parties équitablement. Je crois en cela et ce que je partage avec les gens.
5. Having two nationalities, how do you manage being centered while assuming the various tags we have upon our fronthead ?
I don’t think of myself as a bi-national.
I think of myself as me. I am, like all of us, made of gifts, challenges, fears and interests and I try to live my life as truthfully to my needs as possible.
The many labels I may identify with are ways for the Ego-mind (ahamkara) to hold on to a narrow vision of reality (sometimes I call it a lie) that gets in the way of liberation. Liberation Moksha is one of the fourth goals of life, according to the Samkhya philosophy (Tantra yoga, Vedic science), the more I attach meaning on those labels.
My job title, how much I have saved in the bank, my name as written on my passport, etc. the further I move way from fulfilment. In the words of my teacher Steve Griffith, from his teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “we suffer because we add meaning on things that have no meaning.”
I believe in a practice that is embodied; I live what I believe in. Not to say it’s always easy, but it helps me stay balanced, and energised.
The other goals are important as a guideline for wellness: prosperity, pleasure and dharma; which is your role in life/ in community.
Je ne me sens pas avoir une double nationalité. Je me pense unifiée. Je suis faite, comme chacun.e, de cadeaux, de défis, de peurs et d'intérêts et j'essaie de vivre ma vie avec autant que confiance que je le peux.
Toutes les étiquettes auxquelles nous nous identifions sont une vision étriquée de notre Ego-esprit (ahamkara) qui nous empêche d'atteindre la libération. Libération ou Moksha est l'un des quatre buts de la vie, selon la philosophie du Samkhya (Tantra, science Védique) ; le plus je donne crédit ) ces étiquettes, le plus j'alimente cet égo : mon emploi, mon nom, mes revenus... Pour reprendre les mots que mon professeur Steve Griffith m'a transmis, ceux-ci inspirés de son professeure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, "nous souffrons parce que nous mettons du sens sur des choses qui n'en ont pas".
Je crois en une pratique incarnée : je vis ce que je crois. Cela ne veut pas dire que ce soit toujours simple, mais cela m'aide à rester équilibrée et énergique.
D'autres buts sont importants pour guider notre bien-être : prospérité, plaisir et dharma (ton rôle dans la vie, dans la communauté).
6. A colour ?
The rose of the raspberries.
Le rose des framboises.
7. A funny thing we should know about you ?
When I was little, I would always unconsciously remove my slippers under the dinner table. When I look for my slippers today, I’m sure to find them under at that same place!
Quand j'étais enfant, j'enlevais sans cesse - inconsciemment - mes pantoufles sous la table à manger. Quand je les cherche aujourd'hui, je suis sûre de les y trouver!
8. A healthy habit ?
Every morning I start by flushing toxins out of my body by scraping my tongue and drinking hot water with lemon and honey.
Chaque matin, je commence par élminier les toxines de mon corps en rapant ma langue et en buvant de l'eau chaude avec du citron et du miel.
9. A memory you bring to mind when needing light ?
I remember the feeling of freedom, of hope, of belonging I felt when using the swing attached to the magnificent cherry tree in the middle of my family home garden when growing up.
Je me souviens de cette sensation de liberté, d'espoir, d'appartenance que j'ai ressenti en utilisant la balançoire accrochée au magnifique cerisier dans le jardin de mes parents, là où j'ai grandi.
10. A favourite cake recipe ?
My favourite sweet recipe is actually my very own recipe of vegan and of chocolate cookies, it’s rich, delicious and healthy(ish)!
Ma recette sucrée préférée est en fait ma version des cookies végan au chocolat! C'est riche, délicieux et assez sain!
Thank you a thousands times to this gorgeous woman to be part of this community. Weeks after weeks we became friends and very supportive to each other. It means the world to me to have the pleasure to introduce Maud.