I have been practising yoga since about 1996 then going on 10 years later did a teachher training and I even remember doing yoga as a kid from beautifully dated seventies yoga books on my Mum and Dad’s book shelf. However, this process of waking up and calming down is never ending and the further I go, the more I realise there is to learn and how enjoyable it is sharing. I love the joy of flow, the focus of difficult asana, the insight of meditation and the fascination pranayama provokes. But truly above all what a genuine yoga practice will do is create more space for love in your life. You may not have limitless time but you are capable of unconditional and endless love. Bringing the lessons you learn from your practice into your relationships with others is a vital part of your yoga progression.
My first yoga book, as a grown up yogi, was Mr Iyengar‘s Light on Yoga and since then I have been lucky enough to practice with many fantastic teachers. In Amsterdam I met the teachers who have had the most influence on the way I teach today; Patrick and Gosta from Svaha Yoga. With them I first experienced how incredibly uplifting it is to practice with music. It is also nice to practice only to the sound of the air swirling in the throat using ujjayi breath. I did a teacher training with Shakti Mhi from Prana Yoga College and a short one in Ashtanga with David Swenson.
We are very lucky these days that the popularity of yoga means there are many experienced teachers we can learn so much from. So many influences from which to build your teaching. My style is vinyasa yoga, flowing and uplifting. Pranayama, meditation, chanting and kriyas are all important tools within your practice and it nice to try out different things and see what works for you. In the honeymoon period of your yoga practice most people will be all excited by the high of asana (posture yoga) but as your practice progresses you should start to see the changes to your life off the mat. Beware an interest in yoga philosophy/psychology can develop! And there are many books to fuel this interest.
Vinyasa yoga has big chunky roots in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and owes its existence to talented teachers who created new flows, bringing new and classical postures together. At the risk of sounding like a celebrity junkie I would advise budding yogis to practice with as many experienced teachers as possible. Classes with Danny Paradise, Shiva Rea, Sky, Dharma Mittra and Rusty Wells have had a had a big influence on my teaching.
Interviewing our superb teachers is definitely one of the perks of running Yoga Rocks. It is completely fascinating to see the different angles from which experienced yogis approach their unique practices. There are direct contradictions in the ways people teach yoga and these contradictions are the perfect place to start your yoga inquiry and create many questions. Yoga teaches us to be open yet discerning, strong yet flexible and, as you find your own answers from your own practice, these skills slowly emerge. In my interviews I hope to illustrate these thought provoking contradictions. Retreat teaching is an art in itself; holding this temporary community together, encouraging growth and renewal in such a short time. Watching the different ways our visiting teachers find the sparkling essence of yoga is both fascinating and inspiring. See the interviews on Yoga Rocks Box.