For our last Girls Who Rip feature of 2020, we spotlight one of our own, Victoria Williams. You've likely encountered Victoria in person or online as she's been with us the last 5 years helping with customer service, content, sales and events. Victoria is a yoga teacher, surfer, and snowboarder and she is not afraid to make bold moves. 10 years ago she left a corporate legal career, and earlier this year she moved to New Zealand, having never been there before! As she wraps up her time with us, we asked her to share more about her amazing journey. Follow her on Instagram @vowyoga and tune in for a taste of Kiwi life when she takes over our Stories this weekend!
Where do you live or consider your home base?
Home is Hood River, OR (an amazing place), but now I'm living in New Zealand. My husband and I had always talked about living abroad, and when our beloved dog died last year, it seemed like the right time to make it happen. He got a job that allowed us to move to Gisborne, a surf town on the East coast of the North island. I really wanted to experience living on the ocean and now I can walk out my door and be on the beach in minutes.
What do you consider to be your main sport/passion and how did you get started in it?
I'm a yoga teacher and I'm passionate about the practice. I started out as a litigation attorney, and ironically my law career is what led me to yoga. The law firms where I worked hired yoga teachers to teach classes at the office to help with stress management. Those classes became little windows of clarity and I started to seek more classes and read yoga books outside of work. And with the awareness that yoga inevitably brings, I realized that the lawyer life was not for me.
As for board sports, snowboarding is my first love. There's nothing like the feeling of riding powder. My husband inspired me and taught me (patient man!) and we moved around (Colorado, Leavenworth, WA, and Hood River) to chase snow and backcountry opportunities.
I've always been enamored with surfing, and got more determined about learning once we moved to the PNW. Surfing was the main focus of our travel for a long time, and I started to realize I really wanted to live in a place where I could make it part of a daily rhythm, and not just an occasional trip.
I also mountain bike, kite, and surf skate. I love it all for getting me in the flow, making me feel present and connected.
Do you have a daily routine or practice that's important to you, and if so, why?
Look at the sky before I look at a screen in the morning! I learned that one from Sarah Hauser, one of our Team Sensi athletes, and I think it’s huge for setting the right tone for the day.
Along those same lines, I do a daily practice taught in my school of yoga (Blissology) called “nature appreciation.” You just make time to go find something beautiful in nature and appreciate it, even for just a few minutes. It can be as simple as stepping outside your door and looking up. The nature appreciation mantra is just “relax, breathe, observe, receive.” It creates a powerful, almost instant connection to a sense of awe and gratitude. It gets me out of my head and into my heart.
That's a huge focus of my yoga classes and retreats: presence and connection. Committing daily to pause often to look around and notice how much beauty and joy surrounds us, and remembering that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It reaffirms that how we treat ourselves, and each other, and Nature, makes a difference.
What’s one of your 2020 goals?
Learning to do a proper cutback on a shortboard.
What’s your top tip for a beginner looking to get into your sport?
Own your beginner's mind! That space where everything is new, expectations are low, and you have to pay attention - it's actually a gift and there's so much opportunity for growth there.
And for surfing, "time in the water" really is super key. It's made a big difference for me, the last few months being able to surf way more often than I ever have. You'll have plenty of frustrating sessions and you have to trust that each time you're learning and progressing, even when you paddle out and don't ride any waves, you're building confidence and knowledge.
What’s your favorite mantra?
“You want it more than you’re afraid of it.” Especially when a big set is coming at me!
Click here for more affirmations for body confidence.
What are you currently struggling with?
Like all of us, uncertainty. Not knowing when I'll get to see my family and friends again is really hard. I feel SO lucky to be here in New Zealand, but with the border closed I can't make any plans for visits with everyone I miss so much. And it feels strange to share about my life here without feeling guilty or braggy for the ability to move freely mask-free, go to concerts, hug strangers, etc.!
What are your favorite books?
Way too hard to pick favorites. But two I take everywhere are Things that Join the Sea and the Sky by Mark Nepo, and Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore. Go-tos for inspiration.
Find more of our book recos here.
What are your tips for dealing with injuries?
Oh this one is close to my heart. I spent most of 2019 recovering from a knee injury and had to have my ACL and MCL surgically repaired. It was a character building experience! It helped to remind myself often:
-Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
-You’re learning/growing/healing every day, even if you don’t notice it. Let go of the shoulds.
-Yoga won’t cure everything, but it is incredibly comforting for body and mind, and endlessly adaptable. Keep doing whatever you can do.
I love helping people adapt their yoga practice, so if this is something you’re struggling with, send me a message!
What's something you are proud of?
Living my life on my own terms, making bold moves like leaving my legal career, in spite of societal pressures/expectations to proceed in certain ways. Young Victoria would never in a million years have envisioned her life taking this route, and I like that.