Posted on July 27 2016
This week's Wednesday Woman is the awesome Becky Pell, a sound/monitor engineer and yoga teacher who founded RocknRoll Yogi to combine her two passions. Read how she got started and what her plans for the business are here:
Danielle Newnham: What were you like growing up?
Becky Pell: I was a quiet little ballet-loving, grade A swot until puberty, then I discovered rock and roll and shall we say, ‘free will’, and morphed into a complete wildling!
Newnham: Can you tell us about your career as a sound / monitor engineer? What does that involve/what artists do you work with and any memorable experiences from events you have worked at?
Pell: It’s a way of life - I spend a lot of time away from home on tour, and I’ve been very lucky to travel the world because of it.
My particular role - monitor engineer - means that I’m responsible for what the musicians and artists on stage hear. Each of them has their own individual sound mix, which they hear through earpieces or a personal loudspeaker. I’m at the side of stage with a mixing desk controlling that, and it’s very much a process of communication between me and them to achieve the right balance of what they need in their audio environment.
Amongst others, I’ve worked with Kylie, Travis, a-ha, Muse, Westlife, Anastacia and Take That, and I look after the stage sound at Glastonbury each year which I love! I met the Dalai Lama there last year which was incredible, and a the 5 years I spent touring with a-ha was a real ‘full-circle’ era for me. They were the first band I saw live aged 12, when I realised you could do this for a living - and so it was then the spark was lit!
Newnham: When did you get into yoga and how did the idea of mixing your love of yoga with your work as an engineer come together?
Pell: I got into yoga almost 10 years ago, and it was love at first down-dog! I took my mat on the road with me wherever I went, and eventually decided to do my teacher training in Bali.
I didn’t really have a plan, but I wanted a deeper understanding - I knew yoga was going to be part of my life forever. When I went back on the road, the band heard what I’d been up to and asked me if I’d teach them, so I started giving them yoga classes after soundcheck each day, and it grew from there.
Newnham: What can we learn from yoga? As a busy, working mother, what tips would you recommend - which exercise/techniques are best for those on the go?
Pell: Yoga is all about making your life easier, happier and more comfortable, so the mind-quietening, calming aspects are very useful for everyday life. If I could only retain two things I’ve learnt, it would be these.
- To relieve stress, anxiety, frustration and anger, breathe out for longer than you breathe in. If you inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for 6-8, it has an instant calming effect on your nervous system.
- Do something that brings you sheer, unadulterated joy every day. Not pleasure, like cake or wine - that’s different, although perfectly fine! - but joy. Things like dancing, singing, colouring-in, playing with an animal - something that speaks to your spirit. Something childlike. Figure out how to bring joy into your day, however briefly. It’s not self-indulgent because it makes you a happier person, and your kids will love that.
I’m excited to say I'm doing a series on Instagram and YouTube very soon called No Drama, Mama - which is tiny ways (30 seconds - 5 minutes) to weave yoga throughout your day, to help with things like strengthening pelvic floor, restoring core strength, easing sore shoulders from lifting little ones and so on.
Newnham: What/who inspires you?
Pell: Music, nature, people who live life to the full. Seeing women and girls empower themselves to ask for what they want and need, making their voices heard and living their dreams.
Newnham: If you could go back in time, what advice, if any, would you give a younger Becky?
Pell: Value yourself more. Spend a lot more time single. Stand up for yourself, keep following your intuition because it will never let you down, and stop bloody smoking!
Newnham: Finally, who would you nominate for our next Wednesday Woman?
Pell: The fabulous Ximena Pineda, who tour manages and works in live production for artists like Aerosmith, Stereophonics and Tom Jones. Ximena is a kick-ass Colombian who has made her way to the top in a very male-dominated industry, and she’s also an immensely talented artist who is illustrating the kids’ yoga project we’re working on together.