I was recently asked to contribute to a yoga teachers blog for a large wellness holiday brand. Unfortunately for myself and all the other yoga teachers (and I was in fabulous company) who had taken the time to contribute said brand decided not to go ahead with the blog.
I have no doubt that there is a lesson to be learned there somewhere and, in the meantime,. I thought…well why not share it here in celebration of 20 years of yoga teaching.
Question and Answers below...
What style of yoga you teach and why, what are the benefits of this style of yoga?
Creative Vinyasa Flow which becomes a moving meditation as we explore and shift our energy, physical bodies, and awareness through the synchronising of our breath with the placement of our bodies in the yoga poses known as asanas. A style of yoga which allows for more freedom of expression in movement whilst also adhering to safe alignment principles and keeping the breath as the focus of the practice. For those who find still meditations hard this can have profound benefits (such as alleviating stress). It builds strength, stamina flexibility and mobility. I often liken the practice to being like a surfer on a surfboard riding the waves of the breath.
What's your advice to someone who doesn't believe they can do yoga and/or is a beginner?
Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, and mobility but it doesn’t require that. All yoga asks of us is a willingness to be curious and present. Yoga can be practised lying down or sitting in a chair and it’s important to remember that the physical practice of yoga (the asanas) is only one tiny aspect of yoga (other aspects include the breathing, the philosophy, mindfulness, sense of community and connections which arise). Yoga really is for everybody and everyone and it is worth exploring a few classes and different teachers until you find one that works for you. As a beginner start with beginners’ yoga (which seems obvious) rather than a general class and take it from there.
What influenced you to teach yoga in the first place?
My background is in Law. Currently a non-practising lawyer I worked for many years in London as a clinical negligence lawyer and then in prison law and human rights. I worked on high profile cases, domestic and international issues and was fortunate that my work took me around the world. It was exciting, stimulating and rewarding but also very demanding and my yoga practise helped me stay grounded, fit, and healthy (physically and mentally).
I reached a point where I truly fell in love with all that yoga had to offer and it became a significant part of my life. Inspired by my teachers, in particular Liz Lark, 20 years ago I took the leap and trained to teach via The Life Centre/Yoga Campus in London - an intense and transformative 18 month course. Initially I taught a few classes a week whilst working as a full time Lawyer but over time I shifted towards full time yoga teaching. It was likely my pursuit of a better work/life balance and the opportunity to make accessible to others a practice I am so passionate about which influenced me to teach.
Your favourite yoga pose/technique
It’s difficult to pick a favourite because like a book with different chapters my yoga practice changes and adapts to the different times/stages of my life.
If I had to choose, I would say that I enjoy balances, in particular standing balances such as Ardha Chandrasana/ Half-moon pose which are very grounding and build strength and focus.
My favourite breathing practice is Alternate Nostril Breath which again is very calming and balancing (clearly balance is key for me!).
Your favourite quote on yoga
There are many amazing quotes about yoga’s benefits from long time established teachers. My actual favourite quote is from Erin Hanson which is a little different and I liken this to finding that sweet spot in yoga between effort and ease which sometimes requires a small leap of faith,
“There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask "What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”