Yoga and Me

I began practising yoga in 1978 and realised after attending my first class that I would never stop. I have been teaching since 1984, and love it and plan to carry on until no one wants to come to my classes anymore. My influences are manifold and include rigorous asana practices such as Astanga, as well as more passive styles, and extend through pranayama, meditation and yoga philosophy. In my classes I try to inspire students to use yoga to instil peace of mind, and support self-healing.

My first teacher and mentor was Chris Lawton, an inspiring Iyengar teacher, with whom I studied up until his retirement in 2001. During those 23 years, and with Chris’ encouragement, I also studied with many other teachers, in the U.K. and abroad. It was Chris who gave me my first class in September 1984. I’ll never forget my sense of elation afterwards. I’ve never looked back, and can hardly believe that I’ve been teaching already for 37 years. It is always a privilege and a pleasure, and I look forward to the next 37 years.

In 1991 I was fortunate to meet Danny Paradise, who introduced me to Astanga yoga. After creating a solid foundation with Iyengar yoga, which I find very earthy with its emphasis on precision and accuracy, I felt that the dynamic, flowing Astanga practice gave me wings to fly and that the two forms complement and enhance each other perfectly, being two branches deriving from the same lineage.  I continue to study with Danny annually.

I have also worked with lots of other notable astanga yoga teachers and have been to the source of astanga yoga in Mysore, India, five times.  There I have practised and studied extensively with B.N.S. Iyengar. I am wary of using the term ‘guru’ as it carries a lot of connotations in the West, but what it means to me is, ‘a teacher or guide that you trust’ and ‘a person who has a lot of experience in or knowledge about a particular subject’ so I do describe Mr Iyengar as my guru. He is a great scholar, and as well as working intensively with me on the astanga series he has taught me an incredible amount in one to one lessons and discussions, deepening my understanding of the internal yogic practices, and of yoga theory and philosophy. The ancient wisdom is still utterly relevant and provides tools which help me enormously in daily life, including giving insights into the workings of my mind.

These are the teachers who have had the greatest influence on my yoga, I have had so many more wonderful and inspiring teachers.

But my greatest yoga teachers, without a doubt, are the people who come to my classes and support me in this work, which means so much to me.

Me teaching yoga in Florence Park, Oxford. November 2021
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