I went to my first yoga class in the late 1990’s when I was still getting over the loss of
my childhood obsession with gymnastics. The movement part I understood, but what
was this about the breathing? The sitting still? Where was the competition? The
rewards? The prizes?! The many physical benefits kept me interested and years of
practice and study with a long line of dedicated teachers in India, in the UK and the
US, taught me that the competition was usually against myself, the rewards were within,
and by tuning into the breath, and listening to my body, I may sometimes get a glimpse
of the prizes.
I wanted to go deeper and so in 2015 I completed my Teacher Training Certificate in
India in 2015. I thought that this would be when I’d learn all the really difficult moves,
but instead I learnt to go back to the beginning. To simplify. To be still. I learnt how
repetition can lead to insight, how everything which is happening in our lives is also
happening in our bodies, to listen. I learnt the power of a steady practice.
On completing my first teacher training my teacher, in all of his elegant wisdom
said, ‘Remember. If you practice you should teach and if you teach you should
practice.’ And so, the student becomes the teacher and the teacher remains the
student in an on-going exchange. Thank goodness. And so I continue to practice and
study with teachers who continue to inspire me and completed my Teaching
Diploma with Yogacampus in 2020.
Teaching yoga is an exchange, where we share our practice, the benefits and the
philosophy. Practicing yoga is an exchange, it’s a continuous return to the breath,
and an on-going invitation to your body to open, soften and strengthen. My
gymnastics days are long behind me but there’s no time where my yoga practice will
be ‘finished’ or ‘achieved.’ It continues amidst life’s upheavals, losses, illnesses,
recoveries, physical changes, getting older. It continues when I need it the most.
And so I invite you to build a practice to which you may return again and again,
which may change and develop with you, and which with conscious intention, can
become a mainstay, a refuge, inspiration and renewal. Indeed it can become
whatever it is you need. Your body is unique. It contains the story of your life, and
no one knows it better than you. And so, with a pause, and a breath, we begin. And the next time, we begin again.