I first came to yoga as a student and then over twenty five years ago discovered Iyengar yoga through my mother and under the guidance of my first teachers, Ursula Schoonraad, John Shirbon and John Claxton, all who have inspired me individually.
I worked in international policy juggling work and travel with my young family; it was yoga which helped keep the balance. I left my job and began teacher training which deepened my own practice and, once qualified, I began to help others discover themselves through yoga. I am indebted to my initial teacher trainers, Ursula and Sheila Haswell, and have never looked back.
Since qualifying in 2009, I have continued regular classes with Julie Hodges; her wisdom, patience and in depth teaching have been all inspiring. Julie and Sheila, both Senior teachers, continue to provide invaluable guidance in deepening my own practice and further training, having gained the Intermediate Junior level 3 in 2019.
I am fortunate to regularly attend workshops, professional development days and conventions across the UK led by senior teachers, including teachers from India. These have included Geeta and Abhijata Iyengar and those who worked closely with them and Mr Iyengar: Navaz Kamdin, Zubin Zarthoshtimanesh, Raya Uma Dutta and Uday Bhosale, who I regularly continue to learn from.
I feel privileged to have been taught by Geeta, Prashant and Abhijata Iyengar in Pune during the Centenary celebrations of Mr Iyengar’s birth and to have received Geeta’s devoted teaching and wisdom a few days before her death.
My study of yoga philosophy is ongoing. Between 2019 and 2021 I completed four modules on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, studying the meanings and Sanskrit of the Sutras and how we apply them to our practice and everyday lives. The modules were led by Sheila Haswell and Gitte Bechsgaard, an expert on philosophy, Sanskrit, Eastern psychology and Vedic disciplines.
For me personally yoga has only brought benefits: to my health and well-being, to my attitude to life and dealing with its challenges.
Teaching is challenging and so rewarding, even more as I continue to learn and develop through my own students too.
The importance of maintaining a balance between my own practice and teaching as well as between yoga and my own family life is paramount: they help and complement each other.