My personal yoga story began later in life when I realised I was gravitating to the gym’s yoga classes on my days off from work.
Not just any yoga class but a particular teachers practice. She had a way of facilitating participants to discover how to feel healthier in not just their body, but mind as well as helping increase strength and flexibility. I was intrigued and was told it was Hatha Yoga influenced by elements of Kundalini, Shen Chi and Satyananda training, which meant nothing to me at the time.
At the time I was employed part time as a Workplace Trainer & Assessor in Health with qualifications in Nursing, Management, and completing my master’s in education. Next thing I knew I was enrolled and studying an Advanced Diploma in Yoga Teacher Training.
Ten years later I am facilitating Yoga to small groups and private clients from 7 to 77 years of age at my second home studio by the beach, livestream via online platforms and all-ability groups in the community health sector.
It was never my intention to make money out of teaching yoga, nor teach classes to the wide variety of cohorts along my journey from gyms, health, and wellness centres, corporate to camps and conferences. In the beginning I had a go at everything and kept coming back to the teacher and style that influenced me the most.
It turned out my background proved very useful and relevant for teaching, my particular interest being for all – abilities including dis-ability. Neurological, cognitive, and physical deficits for which I studied along the way.
My genre is Hatha with elements of mantra chanting to transform the mind and senses, music for rhythm, grounding, and repetition. My participants learn to move beyond asana and pranayama and think about the other limbs of yoga, such as Yama, Niyama and Dharana and its relevance to improve not only their lives, but for the good of the communities they live in. I believe we have a duty to both our own spiritual evolution and spiritual evolution of the community.
Along the way there were times of burn out, physically, and mentally, particularly in the early days and post-pandemic. Ahimsa, self-care, and compassion is paramount. One needs to be consistent with your goals and have faith and trust in your own abilities and instincts.
So where does a yoga teacher go for R & R?
This year I have been attending a regular weekly practice based on Iyengar style as after 10 years of teaching I feel this is what my body needs. Regular get away to Satyananda Ashram for either a private, yoga retreat or to practice living consciously for anything from 24 hours to a few days. This ticks a lot of boxes for me drawing on the wisdom, teachings and classic texts of Hatha, Raja, Kriya, Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, antar mouna – inner silence and tradition including
Om Shanti, shanti, shanti (The chant to seal the class)
Namaste – kindness, gratitude, and respect