"I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion - and where it isn't that's where my work lies."
My experience of practising yoga has been good health, vitality and regaining mobility after several sporting injuries and operations, including a hip replacement. I've been practising for over 35 years and have a specialist background in teaching sport, dance and back care. At a young age, I had spinal problems, which has resulted in my lifetime interest in safeguarding the health of the spine, both in myself and students.
Having taught, played and participated in many individual and team sports, I have an in-depth understanding of how impaired and inhibited breathing can impact on us, and the anatomical and physiological impact, of postural habits and sporting activities, on the body. This knowledge enables me to assess imbalances, and unhelpful holding patterns, not only in the breath, but in the muscular skeletal system. I then develop individual maintenance and rehabilitative practices, re-educating the neural pathways, for sports men and women and for those whose posture causes them problems in daily living.
After my hip replacement, I was not able to practice any asanas and I experienced my journey back to strength and mobility very much as if I was a complete beginner, as if I had had an incapacitating injury and as if I were someone whose mobility had decreased with age. This experience gave me much insight into the challenges of practising yoga for those with reduced strength and mobility. It was a humbling experience and one which I believe has given greater depth to my teaching.
Keeping current with the latest research and development in anatomy and physiology, and applying it in my teachings, is important to me so that my students benefit from the very best ways to practice safely and with ease. The latest understanding of the fascia, the connective tissue within the body, underpins my teaching and has had a huge impact on my own practice. As well as learning from the teachings of others I draw upon my own inner teacher to guide my practice and my teachings.
Enabling others to develop flexibility and strength, to move their bodies with greater ease, and to develop their ability to relax, inspires me to teach yoga. Also, enabling my students to become their own inner teacher, so that their practice suits their own particular needs, mentally, physically, and spiritually inspires me. Each individual's journey is different and being sensitive to this, and acting as a guide, is how I see my role. I encourage students to find what works for them through direct experience. What works for and suits one, does not necessarily resonate within somebody else.
Personally, I have become increasingly empowered, through my studies and daily yoga practice, to care for my body, in such a way that it imposes no restrictions on how I like to live my active life. I appreciate how, through my studies of yoga philosophy, breath control and meditation practices, I feel more relaxed physically and mentally, more fulfilled and contented.
Yoga Academy Teacher