LEETON'S Leigh Houghton has experienced and seen plenty over the years, but it is his journey as a yoga teacher that really opened his mind to myriad possibilities.
Mr Houghton is a vinyasa yoga and meditation facilitator, yoga teacher-trainer and transformational coach.
He's spent much of the last year back home in Leeton as a result of the pandemic, inspiring others in the process.
It's been a long journey to return home for such an extended period, but Mr Houghton said all of his lived experiences led him to where he is now, at his most happiest among family.
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Mr Houghton first started taking an interest in yoga while part of the stressful hospitality industry in Sydney.
He started taking classes and found it to be both physically and mentally rewarding.
Eventually, he started to become intrigued about the qualification side of things, deciding to study the practice.
"At an entry level you do a teacher-training 200 program, I started one of those with Baron Baptiste, a really well known yoga pioneer in America ... I did half a 200-hour course and that sparked an interest enough to do a whole course with the school I was practicing with," Mr Houghton said.
"I ended up going to Africa with the Baron Baptiste Yoga Project for two weeks and I had only just finished my actual 200 hours."
It was there that Mr Houghton was first given the chance to test out his new-found skills on a group. Initially he didn't start the training to become a teacher, but to equip himself with further skills and discovery of himself and the human body and mind.
More recently, when the pandemic struck, Mr Houghton was running a yoga retreat in Bali. When borders started closing he decided to come home to Leeton along with his sister who was in Bali at the time with him.
What has followed has been a year of spending quality time with his mum, Elaine, as well as other family members.
It has also offered him the chance to impart his knowledge with Leeton shire residents.
"There's many different types of yoga and there are some great instructors here in Leeton ... they have all been so generous in allowing me places to teach, it's a great community," Mr Houghton said.
More recently he has been holding Sunday morning yoga sessions in Mountford Park that is for all levels.
He said yoga could be for everyone no matter their gender, needs or pre-conceived ideas about the practice.
With the new year now here, he encouraged residents to try it out for themselves, let go of any inhibitions and see the benefits flow.
"A big part of what I am learning now is the opinions we have might not necessarily be our own ... what I work with now is a lot more of that belief system stuff," Mr Houghton said.
"What you believe about yourself and how you get this opportunity to look at what you believe and discover where it comes from, and then in that go 'okay, do I need that or do I not need that', 'is it allowing me to move forward or is it holding me back?'
"That's the big thing about yoga is that it gives you this awareness of your body to start with, but it gives you so much awareness of your mind and your thoughts as well.
"That's the biggest gift."
Residents wanting to discover more about yoga with Mr Houghton can visit his Facebook page to find out when his sessions will be held by searching Leighroyoga on the social media site.
He also has a website https://www.leighroyoga.com/ where more information is available about himself and his teaching and training.
"I just want to be able to help people however I can," Mr Houghton said.