I started practising yoga back in 2003. It happened almost by chance. I’d had enough of pounding the treadmill to tone up and keep fit, so I dropped in at an Iyengar yoga class at my local gym. At first I did it purely for the physical exercise, nothing else, but it made me feel good and my body began to change shape – I saw a new definition, I became trimmer and felt stronger. And my knees, that had given me trouble for years, stopped aching. And it was so much more appealing than running!
As other yogis will understand, I got the bug. Before I knew it, I was attending three classes a week and booking myself on yoga holidays. If I ever failed to make a session, my body really missed it. Then, when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arose to retrain following redundancy, I took the leap. I enrolled on a 200 hour Teacher Training course to study Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation, which I completed in September 2010. Mindfulness was much less of a buzzword than it is now, but I loved the element of this training, studying works by one of the greatest teachers of Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn. In 2011, I completed a 48 hour Pregnancy Teacher Training course with the renowned Nadia Narain at Triyoga, which taught me how to teach pre & postnatal yoga safely.
I am always asked what yoga do I teach and I find this such a difficult question to answer!
The yoga on my first training course was Hatha-based, with a strong emphasis on being present in your body and breath awareness. Over the years, my teaching has evolved and as I get older, I am naturally moving differently, more slowly maybe…but the present moment awareness and focus on breath has never been lost – and a focus on good alignment is essential…which takes me back to the beginning of my Iyengar class days..
You don’t need to be lithe and supple to benefit from yoga. “But I’m not that flexible” is one of the most common themes when I talk to people who are interested in taking it up. I couldn’t touch my toes back in 2003 and flexibility doesn’t come natural to me, even today. You can’t expect your body to bend in a certain way when you turn up at your first yoga class, just because you decide after bending it in one way for 20 years, you now want to bend it the other way. The same goes with your mind. Old habits die hard. Patterns form. They are difficult to break.
But change those habits, break those patterns and, like me, you may notice the wonderful sensation of being freer and stronger in your body and in your mind too.
Yoga is a journey. Not a destination. It is my passion. I don’t think that I could function without it.