International Women’s Day is a wonderful reminder to celebrate those women in our lives who inspire us. Sonja Lockyer instantly sprang to mind as a woman who’s joie de vivre and drive are infectious, inspiring and a constant source of joy to me and many I know. I am also lucky enough to call her a dear friend who I have known for many years.
Sonja is a teacher of all things well being and a bodywork practitioner with over 15 years of experience, helping us find ways to feel safe, calm and rested within our bodies.
The Morning Ritual is her members only online sanctuary for anyone called to prioritise their wellbeing as a gentle, daily ritual in the company of good, kind people. I adore Sonja’s morning rituals which include breathwork, yoga and a Qoya movement session. It’s simply the best way to start your day, connecting with a wonderful community and taking time to ground yourself before the hullabaloo of the day unfolds.
Sonja is also a therapist of massage, reiki, reflexology and aromatherapy and is currently training to be a Craniosacral Therapist. Furthermore she is a devoted Mum to two awesome kids and a household of adored animals. The Durrells have nothing on this family! She is a precious gem and it was an absolute joy to chat and discover her valued insights into living in lockdown, self-care and her personal addiction to Wild Azur Frankincense!
For more information about Sonja and her incredible offerings, please visit her website at www.sonjalockyer.com and you can follow her on instagram @sonjalockyer.
Can you tell us a bit about how you came to dedicate your life to well being?
I think I was born with a dharma - a calling - to teach wellbeing as I have many memories of my childhood where teaching was already taking place. I went to boarding school and I can remember teaching relaxation and breath practices in the dormitory from the age of 9! I had an uncanny interest in spirit, although religion got me really angry because I felt no resonance with the rules and regulations. I had a sense that we were free souls and that all the organised systems of religion seemed to be trying to control us. I have memories of feeling deeply connected to Source from pre-school when I was in solitude or with my pets or in the garden.
As I became a teenager I became interested in my body and pleasure and sensuality - all of which were obviously deeply frowned upon, since I was at an all-girls Catholic Convent! I think the combination of finding my understanding of God in nature, the intuitive wellbeing practices that I taught from such a young age and my ability to recognise the divinity of the body despite such dominant messaging to the opposite, indicates that I come from a lineage of Tantric yoga teachers.
I’m not big on past lives because I feel that we all share every single past life, all of us coming from the same source of love. Any concept of being ‘individual’ is ultimately an illusion - we are all one another so we share every possible past life. Does that make any sense? However, perhaps it is true that we get to express one individual narrative through a thread of lives, in which case, I guess I’m saying that my thread is Tantra and I was born to do this.
You are doing an amazing job of looking after us all during lockdown with your Morning Rituals, tell us how you are looking after yourself?
Thank you, it is definitely a case of mutual looking after! Being a part of the Morning Ritual community keeps me grounded and resourced - I have a reason to get up on those days when the world feels bleak. Even if I struggle to make my way to the mat, by the time my screen is filled with the smiling faces of the Morning Ritual members and we’ve taken our first few breaths together, I start to remember that life is primarily a good and kind experience. The teaching experience is always one of co-creation, and never more so than within our community. Between us we all have our wobbly days and our sunshine days, and by showing up we literally hold one another hands and pull each other up. It is something truly sacred and precious, hard to articulate in words but easy to feel because it comes from your heart and allows your heart to expand.
Aside from that, I sea swim most days which feels like a frosty baptism of love! My favourite bit is getting my head underwater, there’s no choice but to be 100% present.
I dance everyday for 30 minutes - it’s actually scheduled into my diary, a non-negotiable. This used to mortify my children, but they’re getting used to it and I like to hope that it is giving them permission to do what they love in life, regardless of it looking a little unusual.
I also schedule 40 minutes of rest at 2pm everyday. Of course there are days when that space gets filled up with nonsense, but I know that if I take that time for rest - either by reading, snoozing or practicing a yoga nidra - the rest of my day is 1000 times more productive. I start each day at 5.30am and often teach till 8pm at night, so my day isn’t structured like office hours.
I find juggling motherhood, housekeeping, cooking, maintaining relationships with family and friends and working a difficult balance and I often get overwhelmed. It’s my friends and my Mother that I lean on then, I’ve learnt to ask for help and I’m surrounded by the wisest, kindest soul who are ready to support me when I ask.
What is your favourite aromatherapy oil and why?
I am a Frankincense addict and a connoisseur of all varieties. As a qualified aromatherapist I see Frankincense as the most incredible oil for the properties it brings - simultaneously allowing us to be calm and focused, but mainly I love it because of the way it makes me feel - sensual and grounded and divine.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Guilty pleasure is such a curious expression, isn’t it? As if pleasure is somehow attached to shame, which of course it has been for many of us but I’m doing my best to reject that idea. I feel shame about the things I do to sabotage myself from thriving - things like eating food that makes me feel sluggish, dropping boundaries with people who have brought out the worst in me, overspending so I get into financial stress, allowing myself to get into victim mode. But pleasure? Oh my goodness, I do not feel guilty about that! I seek out pleasure from the moment I wake. I buy flowers whenever I can, I use jasmine body oil on my skin, I wear silk or cashmere (usually a hand-me-down), when we are able to I love to meet a friend for a coffee somewhere out so that I see and feel the hustle and bustle of life, I get a box of organic food from Riverford when I can, I love eating in restaurants and I devote my evenings to being with my children, watching what they want to watch and all going to bed at the same time in the evening. These are the things that make me feel like a millionaire and I guess if I’m honest I have to fight the tiny voice in my head that tells me I am self indulgent when I make these choices. That voice and I are coming to an understanding!
What is your most cherished possession and why?
My most cherished possession of course is our home and our family, but an object that I adore is a beautiful gold necklace left to me by my Grandmother. She was an incredible character, born into a wealthy family but gave it all up to follow her heart and marry the man she loved, whom her father disapproved of. She was disinherited and lived a life beside my Grandfather who was unfortunately not the greatest character. He died young after years of coercive control and bullying, so my Grandmother ended her days full of spark but with very little financial resources. She was a Queen who lived in a council flat and had almost no possessions - but when she died this necklace was found in a Mr Kipling cake box under her bed. Apparently my Grandfather gave it to her - it looks Egyptian, like a serpent wrapped around your neck. It is exquisite and holds echoes of the goddess Isis.
Who is your inspirational woman and why?
My goodness, have I met a woman who didn’t inspire me? We all survive so much, life is not easy on anyone and I think a womans' capacity to transmute suffering through selfless love is extraordinary. Both my Grandmothers survived abusive relationships and my Mother too - I come from a line of women who were controlled, put down and suppressed. When I look at them, my heart swells with pride and the realisation that we can get through anything. It is the most incredible alchemy, to find yourself in such a painful situation, feeling trapped and hopeless with no self esteem, and to take the slow steps needed to get yourself out of that situation and bring about the change needed for you and your children to thrive. This inspires me more than anything else - our capacity to move mountains so that our children can thrive.
Which is your favourite Wild Azur product and why?
Easy - the Frankincense Facial oil. Heaven.