HOW DID YOU FIRST COME TO IYENGAR YOGA?
I was introduced to Iyengar Yoga by my mother who had practiced with Patsy Sparksman (London, UK) whilst she was pregnant with my younger brother. When I started showing an interest in yoga, my mother sent me straight her way saying “you won’t believe the things she’ll teach you to do!” And of course, my mum was right! I had been practicing yoga once a week at a gym going through the same sequence week in week out and although bored, for some reason I kept with it. Once I started practicing with Patsy, experiencing different sequencing and very soon noticing an improvement in my health I also started to notice that attending her classes was a priority for me. I’d arranged my life around these classes and went out of my way to make sure I didn’t miss them. That’s when I realized that Iyengar Yoga was the practice and path for me.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE CERTIFICATION?
I had been practicing Iyengar Yoga for a few years when my teacher Patsy suggested that I pursue certification. I was 23 and had recently graduated from university and started a career as a fashion buyer. I very soon realized that the world of fashion wasn’t what I’d expected and was discussing this with Patsy who suggested I start the teacher training course. At the time, I was still in denial and committed to climbing the buyer career ladder, but wanted to learn more about the subject of Iyengar Yoga. I decided to start the process not necessarily with the intention of teaching, but to further my knowledge. Skip a few years, I passed the assessments and a few months later, handed in my notice as a buyer!
WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU VALUE IN A TEACHER? WHAT, WOULD YOU SAY, IS THE EMPHASIS IN YOUR OWN TEACHING?
I remember someone once asking me where my favourite yoga studio in London/UK/Europe was. What they didn’t realize was that I’d grown into Iyengar Yoga via teachers who were teaching from their front rooms in their home and cold, damp church halls. Whilst being in a calm, beautiful studio is clearly a positive, for me, the teacher takes priority. What I value is teachers who create safe environments where I am challenged and encouraged and come away from class with a deeper sense of the practice and my own personal self. I’ve noticed that the teachers I practice with have a strong ability to create community and whilst I might not see other students out of class or perhaps don’t know their names, there is a love and commitment to learn and laugh and commit to the practice together.
I am very aware of these values in my own teaching. I realize that as a student that’s what keeps me coming back and I want to pass on that support and nourishment to my students.
YOU HAVE A BUSINESS BACKGROUND IN IYENGAR YOGA, DON’T YOU?
Yes! For over 6 years, I worked as the Buyer for a leading UK and European Yoga e-commerce site, Yogamatters. It was founded by the late Paul Walker, a devoted Iyengar Yoga practitioner. Paul like many other Iyengar students and teachers, brought stock of blankets and belts back from Pune to sell on to the UK Iyengar Yoga community. I joined the business when it was almost 15 years old and was fortunate to witness the commitment and hunger Iyengar Yoga practitioners have to further their knowledge and passion. Yogamatters stocked over 2,000 titles of books, 40 different choices of mats, 20 variants of straps and belts and don’t get me started on the clothing,
bags, neti pots, blocks and bricks! Many of the books we stocked and sourced were from teachers here in California and one of the greatest pleasures of arriving here in has been to meet Elise Miller who I corresponded with for many years whilst ordering her book Yoga for Scoliosis.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT TEACHING YOGA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Having recently moved to Oakland from London, UK I am currently spending my time with my family exploring Oakland, the East Bay, San Francisco and beyond. I am watching my two boys adapt to life in America, develop slight accents and throw themselves into the outdoor life that we’re able to enjoy here. I am also finding some time to enjoy the many open air swimming pools here in Berkeley and have started a course in ceramics – I’m learning the wheel and it’s hard! It needs precision and stability….so very similar to Iyengar Yoga!