Meet Veronique Gauthier

Meet Veronique Gauthier

Tell us a bit about yourself… 

I started yoga in 2001 as I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. At the time, I was addicted to step aerobics, spinning and Gauloises Blondes. I was teaching at University College Dublin while writing a PhD thesis. I also spent 7 hours a week in the gym, smoked 30 cigarettes a day, and had a busy social life. I thought sleep was overrated. I hated the word ‘balance’ and thought that life was all about pushing boundaries. 

Luckily, my body said ‘no’ and forced me to change my life completely. 

I have to admit that I went to my first yoga class reluctantly. I had these preconceived ideas that yoga was slow and boring but I completely fell in love. Straight away I wanted to try all the classes around: Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha… I bought two DVDs: Doug Swenson Short Forms (Ashtanga) and Dharma Mittra – Maha Sadhana Level 1. 

I have no doubt yoga helped me to navigate this very hard and stressful period in my life. It was so crucial for my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing that I decided to train as a yoga teacher and work with people diagnosed with chronic health conditions like MS.

Over the years, I have learnt from various yoga teachers but also from my students. More recently, I trained in Breathwork with Dr Ela Manga and blend yoga and Breathwork in most of my classes.

What does a typical day look like for you? 

I teach yoga & Breathwork 6 days a week, starting at 6.30am most days. I prefer to start early as my energy level tends to slowly lower during the day. Exercising is a key part of my approach to managing MS. I run 3 or 4 times a week after my yoga classes and also try to fit in 2 strengthening sessions a week. 

After this physically active start of the day, I sit down to work at my desk. There are always so many things to do, from class preparation, videos recording and editing, newsletters and blogs writing, management of retreats bookings, online marketing, keeping up to date with latest research on topics I am interested in such as neuroscience, breathwork, exercise and chronic health conditions etc. 

I recently started to take a break around 3 pm when my energy goes down to do a 10 minute yoga nidra, which is really useful to keep my energy level from dropping too low towards late afternoon, especially on days when I teach at 6pm. 

Most days, I also sit and meditate with my husband for 30 minutes at some stage during the day.

Although I love to have a timetable, I increasingly try to keep space for the unplanned. It could be as simple as doing some weeding in the vegetable garden, going for a coffee or a hike with friends.

How did your yoga journey begin and what inspired you to become a yoga teacher

I started yoga when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and found it so beneficial and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to become a yoga teacher. In a way it felt it was too good not to share it.

What inspired you to specialize in your practice?

I naturally specialised in yoga for MS because I have lived with MS for over 20 years. This gave me the opportunity to self-experiment. People living with MS often tell me they feel safer with me because I know what it means to live with MS even if symptoms might differ from one person to the other.

Besides, I wanted to dig deeper into yoga therapy for MS because I wasn’t fully convinced by the general approach that seemed to underlay yoga for MS classes I attended.  

How have you seen yoga benefit your students?

It’s quite difficult to identify specific elements. It’s more a combination of elements. First, yoga can help address some specific MS symptoms, such as balance, coordination, low energy, mild depression, bladder issues, bad posture, spasticity etc.
Then there is also the overall benefits of moving more, which we should underestimate. When we move, all the systems in our body work better.

Finally, there is the community aspect. People enjoy meeting others who are going through similar issues. They get to know each other. I also created a WhatsApp group where my students living with MS can share information, ask questions, and support each other…  I even started a Taming the Walrus Running Club on Strava recently for those who want to start running again. 

What is your favorite quote or life motto?

It used to be ‘Don’t be afraid of what could go wrong. Think of what could go well’. I think it is by Tony Robbins. But more recently, another one came to me: Everything is Possible. Nothing is Certain. I think it is a better reflection of where I am now on my yogic path.

What’s coming up for you in 2024?

I´ve been really excited about 2024. I have no idea about numerology but I always loved number 4

2024 seems to be a year where I am given lots of opportunities to reach out to a wider audience. This is exactly how these Community sessions on Yogamatters feel like and I am very grateful. 

I am also looking forward to meeting people in person at various retreats. I will return to the Dordogne area in July for another retreat. But for the first time, we will also be hosting events in our home in the Algarve as we finished renovating our small guesthouse. Since we moved to Portugal, over 5 years ago, I have dreamt of welcoming people to our little healing space. We live in a tiny village in the hills of the Algarve. My husband is an organic farmer.  We are surrounded by Nature, only 25 minutes from the sea. Now I can share this beautiful space with my students. 

There will be two yoga for MS retreats in 2024 in May and October. But also a general yoga retreat in August. Plus, I am thrilled to be hosting a Breathwork Foundation Course with Dr Ela Manga and Marj Murray from Breathwork Africa. I have studied with them for a few years now and we will finally meet in person.

Lots of sharing, learning, connecting to come. What else could I wish for?

Find out more about Veronique:



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