How I came to be a yoga teacher
I first started practising Yoga when I was 16 years old. I attended a very communally spirited and easy going weekly class that allowed me to find some much needed inner peace in the hectic world of being a teenager. My teacher Reas was patient, kind, funny, and very encouraging of me to begin my journey to teaching Yoga myself. It’s really thanks to him that aged 19 I decided to undertake my first Yoga teacher training with the Himalaya Yoga Valley School in Cork, Ireland. I can still remember my shock and horror at the words; “this next month of your life will be physically, mentally, as well as emotionally demanding – be prepared”. I knew that 200 hour Yoga teacher training was going to whip me into shape, but I never thought that it would require me to really get to know myself on the deepest, innermost levels. It was, however, the best thing that I had ever done at the time, and it really inspired me to go out into the world and share this ancient wisdom that had been passed down to me.
During the following 5 years I taught classes at my university, privately, and joined the close-knit community of Ashtanga practitioners that used to be facilitated in Oxford by Manu. Here I further developed my practice; both personally and teaching students and graduates that looked for an hour of rest and rejuvenation in their busy academic lives. Once my undergraduate degree was over, I took the natural break in the summer months to collect a further 300 hours of Yoga teacher training in Bali, Indonesia with the Santosha Yoga Company. I found this training really challenging at the time as I had recently endured a close family loss, the climate was tropical and most of the time uncomfortably hot and sticky for me, and the lessons I came to learn, were once again, not what I expected. I was 21, and all I wanted to do was strength and agility training, however, this course taught me the power of taking things down a notch and concentrating on the subtleties and the power of really focusing on the breath. I have to admit that it took me years to really integrate this training into my Yoga practice, and into my life, but I am very grateful for this now.
When I came back home I continued to practice and to teach, and I’ve always found that the biggest power in having a Yoga practice is to create a space for quiet and clarity in the natural busyness of life. A physical practice that I then subsequently had to let go of for a couple of years as I was hit by a cyclist and injured my knee to the point that I was unable to walk, and for a long time unable to sit cross-legged. For a few years I really believed that this would spell the end of my Yoga career, as I so loved being able to move in any which way I wanted. But perhaps this has been the best lesson of all for me as a teacher. I have learnt to still love my body no matter what it is capable of being able to do. I’ve learnt that practising Yoga doesn’t have to look like anything in particular, and I have once again come back to the core of the practice – creating a space of calm wherever and whenever you happen to be.
Four years after my knee surgery, I am now really excited to start teaching again. It has been a long road of recovery, and I have gained so much empathy along the way. The Yoga company that I am launching now is very mindful of the global situation in which a lot of us find ourselves. Piedi_X_Terra aims to being that hour of self-care, meditation through movement and breath, community spirit, and kindness to you, wherever you are. That is why I am now offering classes both in person and as recordings online – their aim to bring a regular hour of time to dedicate to personal care and mental calm in the company of fellow likeminded people no matter where they are physically. I hope that you will join me on this journey.