My Yoga Bio Challenge:
I found it very difficult to write my “yoga bio” because the whole process seems so egotistical, almost anti-yoga.
There is a natural stripping back of “I’ness” which occurs as you go deeper into the subtleties of yoga.
You gain a sense of self confidence that is grounded in humility.
You develop a healthy respect for others and where they’re at.
Many people in the west come to yoga because of a deep need.
Usually, it’s because of some outer world event that’s triggered a pattern of seeking,
“maybe yoga has the answers” they think?
That’s how it’s been in my experience of teaching. People come to yoga to find a solution to their unique set of problems.
So, as a teacher, pointing out how great you are is like kicking sand in someone’s face at the beach – it’s just not cool!
But how to be humble online?
Maybe, being heartfelt and honest about my own journey is a good place to start?
So here goes…
I began practicing authentic traditional yoga in 1987 at the age of 16 and became a teacher in 1997.
After a near fatal car accident left me incapacitated, I used a combination of asana, pranayama, and kriya yoga techniques to regenerate and self-heal.
With 18 months of intense dedication to yoga, I conquered chronic back pain and regained the use of my physical body. In gratitude, I committed to a lifelong pursuit of yoga and vowed to help others along the way.
I travelled extensively in pursuit of the actualisation of yoga. My unique teaching style is informed by numerous Yoga styles, Pilates, Functional Body Movement, Calisthenics and other health and wellness modalities I’ve studied and used in my own practice.
To seek a quieter life, I moved with my family from Sydney Australia to Vientiane in Laos. Together, we spent 12 months developing our inner silence through a meditative approach to yoga and daily life.
My family and I now live in Tbilisi Georgia.
I travel between Laos, Thailand and Australia teaching Yoga and Meditation and helping others learn the art of “being”.
I have been teaching meditation for free, since 2002, after being immersed in absolute joy from the awakening of my inner spirit.
Bio and story:
Although I’ve explored many styles of yoga during the past 30 years, here’s a list of the main schools that have influenced the way I teach:
- Bihar School of Yoga (Hatha)
- Iyengar Yoga
- Himalayan School of Yoga
- Vinyasa Yoga
- Yogalates (I’m a certified teacher)
- Sahaja Yoga
To a lesser degree I’m influenced by these practices:
- Tai Chi – I’m attracted to its grace and my mother is a teacher – so I learned via osmosis!
- Feldenkrais – I love their somatic approach to movement based therapy.
- Calisthenics – body weight training has fascinated me from a young age – I took my first class at eight.
I’ve been told numerous times that I have a unique and eclectic teaching style.
Maybe that’s because of the integrative approach I take and my dedication to helping others achieve yoga & really feel its benefits?
When I started:
I was introduced to traditional Hatha Yoga in 1987 at the age of 16 by my maths tutor. She just happened to be a long time yoga practitioner and noticed that sitting for long hours of study was difficult for me.
She taught me a number of old school Hatha Yoga routines which I used on a daily basis to:
- calm my nervous system
- focus my mind & self regulate during periods of stress
- alleviate back and neck tension
- create a general feeling of well-being.
My car accident:
I feel that learning yoga at such a young age was one of the greatest gifts anybody has ever given me. It enabled me to develop a strong sense of self efficacy that helped me conquer many hurdles throughout life, namely, a near fatal car accident at the age of 20.
I am thankful for that car accident, it forced me to look deeply into the path of yoga and to believe in the power of mind over matter. I had to relearn how to walk, how to move and how to practice yoga.
After my accident, I endured 18 months of chronic pain. Much of the day was spent lying on the floor in Neutral Rest Position willing my body back to life.
My practice was about supporting my pain, developing the capacity to heal myself and going beyond the limitations that others had set for me.
Mind over matter:
During that period I developed a series of supine and seated movements combined with Kriyas (moving attention to points in the body) which served to:
- relieve my back pain
- enliven my spine
- enhance my body’s capacity to heal
Needless to say – it worked!
I committed myself to the lifelong pursuit of yoga and to help others along the way.
Becoming a teacher:
My first teacher training was with the Bihar School of Yoga in 1995.
I began teaching the traditional Bihar version of Hatha Yoga in 1996.
Exploring various styles:
In 1997 I discovered Iyengar yoga and began integrating their alignment principals into my classes. Then I did the same with Astanga yoga when I discovered it in 1998.
My intrigue for various approaches to yoga grew and continued.
Integration through meditation:
After finding my true guru, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, I committed myself to twice daily meditation in 2002.
In time, yoga unfolded its fragrant petals within me and I became content, peaceful and happy.
I stopped trying to piece together the perfect practice.
I could feel the gravity of my own self mastery and the innate Yoga Vidya (knowledge of yoga) began to flow.
My “unique teaching style” took shape from a combination 3 very important elements:
- A personal journey through numerous Yoga styles combined with other health and wellness modalities that I studied and used in my own practice.
- Being a teacher, this enabled me the great fortune to learn how to help others. To all the wonderful souls who have attended my classes over the years – thank you for trusting me to guide you on your journey. Your faith in me fuelled my desire to be a better teacher and fostered my growth as a human being!
- I feel this is the most important element: a consistent and unbroken daily meditation practice (it’s been 16 years from the date I wrote this in 2018).
My view on yoga:
In today’s modern & highly stressful society where it’s all – RUSH, RUSH, RUSH – I truely feel the best approach to yoga is a Self Nurturing one.
If you practice in a self nurturing manner it is still possible to have a yoga practice that looks like a challenging workout – in time.
However, it won’t actually be challenging, it will be almost effortless because of the self nurturing approach you took on the journey to get there.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s still challenging – but it’s not extreme!
Truely, it’s not necessary to practice extreme yoga to get all the benefits – I know because I’ve been living it and teaching it for more than 20 years.
Thanks for reading.
Best regards to you on your yoga journey,