Why I do what I do, and why i love doing it
I was first introduced to Hatha Yoga by my mum. As a child I saw her practising at home and sometimes I would join in. However I didn’t stick at it once I left Dorset to go to Uni. I settled in Reading then London and attended yoga classes but usually let work and social life come first over exercise and at the time that is how I saw Yoga – exercise for my body.
In 1999 I spent 3 months in Sri Lanka, living with a Buddhist family, that I started to understand the part of my yoga practise that had been missing. During the day along with the other volunteers we helped with the family business – a sanctuary for retired working elephants. In the evenings we would talk to the family or hang out at the Buddhist monastery behind the house and chat to the monks or just learn to sit quietly. I didn’t think of it as meditation and mindfulness wasn’t a word we had even heard of, it was just a peaceful way to be and it felt really good!
I am so thankful for this experience; no electricity from 7pm to 7am, no mobiles, internet that worked for a couple of hours a day on a PC that took 15 minutes to warm up, and no stress based on money or deadlines.
Returning home I endeavoured to keep the sense of quiet and balance I’d found but it was tough and soon I was sucked back into my old fast paced world.
Moving back to Dorset slowed me down again. I joined my mum’s Yoga class and found the teacher – Tamara created in her classes the space and calm that I had been craving. I saw fantastic improvements in my physical strength overall but especially in the areas around my lower back and hips that for so long had caused pain and discomfort.
Through Tamara I found her teacher Saraswati and having attended different styles of Yoga class with different teachers over the years I knew I’d found my perfect balance between health for my body and my mind. I studied with Saraswati for 2 years. She is Sivananda trained and was one of the last teachers to have a certificate signed by Swami Vishnu Devananda before he died in 1993.
The message at the heart of this way of teaching is to make Yoga accessible to everyone. After 40+ years as a teacher Saraswati has passed on many other influences including her teachings as a Zen Buddhist. I qualified with the Yoga Alliance in 2018 and then started my own classes in Sherborne.
During this time I became a mum and being in my late 30’s meant new physical challenges, gradually old injuries flared up. The postures and understanding of my own body I had learnt through Yoga meant I can manage these changes with confidence. I continue to learn with both my teachers regularly and share this with my own yogis, developing my own way of making yoga accessible to everyone.