My experience of Yoga is that each moment on the matt is but one of many stepping stones on our journey through life; the practice fosters a more compassionate and peaceful experience of being –for our own benefit and that of others around us. We get on the way through working with the body, by encountering our inner-resistances, then safely softening and smoothly passing through to the next level of depth.
My teaching is based on a quieter, deeper understanding of movement and, if/when one chooses to, of oneself. Classes focus on shedding tension from the body using gravity, a calm mind and breath. Approaching simple and more complex postures relies on the body’s natural intelligence. Releasing the spine allows to reach deep within and develop core strength. Softening is neither passive, nor weak, but the action of letting go and revealing our inner vigor. Classes are slow-paced as tissues yield to gravity when movements remain sympathetic and gradual. Keeping the mind focused reveals the link between body, mind and spirit.
I am a qualified Yoga teacher, and hold the 500 hours Yoga Teaching Diploma Certificate (certified by the Yoga Alliance) in 2001 from the Ruth White Centre in London, UK. Ruth White is a Senior Iyengar teacher and life teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga. My favorite moments were the early pranayama (breathing) that Ruth led with serenity and authority. And I value her insistence to learn the philosophical side of Yoga, based on the ‘Advaita’ (non-duality) tradition, as taught by the Shankaracharya of N
orth India. Advaita, which means non-duality, heeds Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga including pranayama and meditation.
John Stirk has since been my senior teacher. John had personal tuition from Vanda Scaravelli and is both a Yoga teacher and an osteopath. His successful integration of Eastern thoughts and Western reality is inspiring– and of course his inexhaustible joie de vivre. Watching him in movement brings joy to the heart.
There are many schools of Yoga, some with more emphasis on stamina, spirituality, energies, therapeutic movements or more. I feel deep gratitude for the varied teachers who guided my development, including fellow teachers whose classes I still visit sometimes. The most, however, an important resource for my teaching has been my own steady personal practice over the past 22 years, which, together with a continuing study of texts and related subjects (more below) make my approach a continuing learning experience.
The class at St James Hall is unique in terms of location, teaching style, a variety of approaches, its reasonable number of students, a regular core of them and crucially it is rooted in Yoga philosophy and Joy.
In addition, this class is based on group culture: by being present in class, students witness and support each other in moments of self-discovery – at times through extremely hard work. I have also set up a maximum number of students attending so that I can prepare classes with each individual in mind. Students value this constancy; what they get here is individual attention and adjustments, and no generic or formulaic sequences. All levels are welcome although I strongly encourage pregnant women, for their own benefit, to seek a Yoga for Pregnancy class. Finally, the class is 1h45min long and there is time for meditation, pranayama (breathing), asana (postures) and savasana (resting).
Each term we explore a different aspect of practice, whether rooted in the body or in philosophy or both. Currently, we are looking at apparently conflicting principles, for example: how can we be soft and strong at the same time? How do we welcome uncertainly while staying fearless? What is the way to witness our many imperfections without being critical of ourselves?
This work is about transformation, exploration, researching, and curiosity. It does involve courage and commitment. This past week two students offered testimonials: ‘this is the only class where I feel myself’ and ‘I felt bouncy and full of energy after class’. I cannot think of better markers to validate the class at St James Hall.