Mariel Witmond-Bateman, Mindful Sonder (UK)

– What is happiness to you? 

Happiness is feeling comfortable in your skin, being connected to your authentic self so that the decisions you make and the way you behave reflect the essence of your soul. 

– How did you come to your level of positivity and what did you have to overcome to achieve it?

I spent so much of my life disliking myself and searching for answers outside of myself. I was desperate to belong, but confused belonging with fitting in, which meant I was constantly molding myself to the likes of others or into what I thought Others wanted me to be. It was actually my husband that changed things for me. He was the first person who helped me understand that I had a right to my feelings, that I could be loved with my faults, that I could be me and by being me I would attract the right people into my life. I came to realise that our outer world is merely a reflection of our inner one, and true belonging comes from within.

– How do you manage to keep up the good spirits being a busy mum and running a business?

I think I am fortunate to work in a profession where my teachings serve as personal reminders for how I want to live my life and the kind of person I want to be. Being a mother, I am constantly reminded of the role model I am to my daughter and how my behavior impacts the person she will become.

– How does your yoga practice help you in being truly happy?

Yoga keeps drawing me back to myself. It keeps me in a state of awareness and accountability.

– Please share your happy thought, or happy secret

I love the quote – the sky is not the limit, you are. Everything starts with us. We set the tone for how others treat us. We set our limits. We choose how to react to the things that happen to us. The ball is in our court. Every passing moment is an opportunity to change things for the better.