I started practising yoga in my early twenties, at university, where I dipped in and out of the weekly class at the sports centre, more for something to counteract the stress of exams than for any other reason. While I enjoyed it, the classes were large and busy, with not much time for personal focus. I’ve never found yoga easy – not being blessed with natural flexibility I frequently worried that I wasn’t doing it ‘right’ or that I wasn’t bendy enough, and so I gradually stopped going.
When I moved back to Devon ten years later, I realised that not only did I need to restart yoga for the sake of my body, but I missed the great sense of self-exploration which comes with practice.
Like many people, the myriad types of yoga baffled me, and I searched for an individualised approach, since to me one size of yoga very clearly doesn’t fit all: we are all individuals, with varying life experiences, and physical and mental blueprints. Since my initial training with Ann-See Yeoh, creator of My Kind of Yoga™, I’ve explored many other types of yoga, most recently training with Dan Peppiatt of Yoga Like Water. I like the idea of widening the yoga experience to include the fluidity that comes from spontaneous movement and I try to bring that playful aspect into my own approach.
My teaching has a strong anatomical focus, and I try to educate and explain what we’re doing throughout a session, whether one to one or class-based. For me, having an understanding of how the different parts of the body work in relation to each other, and what we should be feeling in any given pose, can help to free the mind of uncertainty and overthinking; creating space to learn, observe and develop with a lighthearted curiosity. More than that, although yoga can sometimes inspire a struggle with the acceptance of where your body is right now, feelings that we ‘aren’t good enough’; by facing and overcoming that struggle, we become kinder to ourselves, and more at peace.
Most importantly, I believe that yoga should be accessible to all. Yoga is for ‘real’ people – no matter what shape or size, or how bendy you think you are (or not!). Yoga should be positive. You should enjoy it – enjoy learning about your body; the amazing capacity it has to change and grow, and the sense that you’re constantly exploring your own boundaries, both in the body and in the mind. I have yet to find a better way to develop a profound awareness of body and spirit and a tremendous sense of grounded calm than yoga practice.
If you’re after someone to help guide you on your way into an exploration of yoga – someone who will listen to you, not judge, support you in your learning (and probably learn a lot from you in return!) and maybe even have a giggle while we do it, then please do get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.