Why I became a yoga teacher...
My love affair with Yoga began when I was 27 years old and living in London, my home city. I had injured my back and for the next two and a half years, in ever-increasing desperation, had tried to ﬁnd a way to get it better.
After a long and painful journey through both orthodox and alternative treatments, I met Molly. She was an unassuming but skilled and insightful Yoga therapist who helped to heal my back. Unlike anyone else I had been to see, Molly gently took my back through its full range of motion. She carefully established what it could and could not do. Based on her ﬁndings, she put together a simple back therapy sequence. I practised this religiously morning and night. To my amazement, my back began to heal. Within just a few months, it was as strong and ﬂexible as it had ever been. I fell in love and wanted to learn as much as I could about this ancient art. I also felt the need to help others in the way that I had been helped. Fast forward several years. In 2003 I gave up my job as a solicitor and qualiﬁed as a Yoga teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga. I had also just given birth to my second child, but began teaching almost immediately.
That was 16 years ago. During this time I've taught to Yoga to doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists, beauticians and hairdressers, artists and photographers, professional football teams, a beautiful Mongolian ballerina and an extremely disciplined martial arts champion. I've welcomed children, teenagers, the middle-aged and the elderly to my classes. My work spaces have included gyms, draughty church halls, football pitches, beauty therapy centres and, more recently, my home. My students have come to Yoga to heal their heart and their heartbreak, to manage their arthritis and free their joints, to seek respite from their depression and to learn to relax, to stretch out tight muscles and touch their toes, to use the breath for a natural birth and, in something of a full circle, to manage the misery of their back pain.
And over all this time, and whatever their age and wherever I've taught them and whatever they do for a living, I have observed that human beings have one thing in common - each of us has our own personal struggle and, because of this, a deep desire for peace and happiness.
A desire for peace and happiness
Being a human being today is not easy. We are fragile and the world is in a state of ﬂux. We don't have the support networks we once had. There are so many demands on our energy and time. We work harder than we ever did. We feel burnt out. And so. The Yoga mat is a place where, for a precious period each day, we can learn to gently switch off from the stresses of the outside world and reconnect with our inner world of stillness and silence.
Over my 16 years' teaching, I have kept a copy of every single lesson I have prepared for every single class. That is a lot of content! And to every lesson I have set a theme. This has been my way of bringing more meaning to the practice. And to develop my students' understanding of the power of their Yoga.
Writing for a blog is a way to reach out to, and share what I have learnt (and continue to learn), with a wider audience. Over the following weeks and months, I’d like to share the practices I have worked with that have really shone. The poses that have strengthened my students, the breathing techniques that have supported them, the readings and passages that have inspired them, the nutrition advice that has healed them, and the guides to mindfulness and meditation that have awoken them.
I'm so looking forward to this new venture. It feels like the natural next step. We are here to help each other. I'll be writing regularly. Join me.