Well, hello! This page is a very little bit about me and my past, about how I got to practising and teaching yoga. So, here we go…
I have practised Iyengar yoga for almost 20 years (though I can’t believe it’s been that long, the evidence shows that I took my first class in the first week of university so it must be true). I qualified to teach, and began teaching yoga in 2009 after around 4 years of rigorous teacher training. Iyengar yoga teacher training is some of the most respected in the world and I continue to attend classes and workshop events although I no longer pay to use their branding and I insure myself independently.
In addition to yoga training, I am a professionally qualified psychotherapist (PGDip Counselling and Psychotherapy) as well as having a BSc in Psychology, and training in mindfulness. I have worked on health policy within the Department of Health; on social engagement in local government; and written, and led, recovery courses for victims of domestic violence.
I have suffered with depression and anxiety (still do, though it’s better now than for a long time), and I am passionate about promoting openness and acceptance for these, and other, stigmatised mental health issues. I am married, and have two children, born in 2007 and 2010. I practised yoga throughout both pregnancies and taught up to 4 weeks before my youngest son was born.
How did I come to yoga?
I went to Birmingham University to study psychology and I signed up to my first yoga classes in freshers week. Purely by chance, (or luck, or fate), it was an Iyengar yoga class. I was definitely influenced to try yoga by its popularity with celebrities at the time. Like many people, at first, I just enjoyed yoga for the physical benefits and treated it simply as an exercise class.
After University I moved to Sheffield and was recommended to try Frances Homewood’s classes. I was lucky to meet such a wonderful and experienced teacher so early in my yoga journey. That time in my personal life was quite fraught and chaotic and I came to realise that it was only in my yoga practice that I found some balance, stillness, and the focus to stop my mind racing. So slowly I began to learn that there was much, much more to yoga than just a series of physical movements.
Why train to teach?
After several years in Sheffield I moved closer to my family and again was very lucky to find myself near classes taught by Alan Brown, an Iyengar yoga teacher trainer. His therapy classes helped me through a serious bout of depression and shortly after I asked to join his teacher training course. I’m sure that at that stage I really didn’t know the depth or intensity of the challenge I had let myself in for!
I wanted to teach because when you discover such a gift as yoga it seems selfish not to share its power. For some people that’s telling family, friends, and anyone who will stand still long enough. For me that meant learning to teach.
Then what happened?
I qualified to teach in 2009 and taught around the town where I then lived, Bingley in West Yorkshire. After a number of problems with venues (it’s unbelievably difficult to find a good venue!) I decided to open Bingley Yoga Room. I worked with another local yoga teacher and for a couple of years it was a great success. However, my family relocated to Cumbria in 2013 due to a job opportunity for my husband and I left the business. It has since closed.
Initially I did not start teaching in Cumbria, because my father died very soon after we moved house and we bought a wreck of a house that needed A LOT of fixing up (yep, still working on that one…). And I was very homesick for Yorkshire. Basically, there was just too much going on for me to commit to all the hard work that teaching classes demands.
However, fate wouldn’t let me leave teaching behind because the teacher of the yoga class that I had been attending had an accident and I was asked to stand in. Three months later and the teacher was well again but the centre liked my teaching so much I was given my own slot. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, I still teach at Cockermouth Leisure centre twice a week and I began teaching at Workington Leisure Centre in 2015. I am really enjoying getting to know all the students who come to me and meeting new people all the time. It’s always an honour and a joy when people tell me how much the classes mean to them.
In 2018 I decided to break from the Iyengar brand although I will not be changing the style of my classes. It’s purely an administrative change which will also free me up to teach a wider range of abilities and classes with different focuses such as meditation and mindfulness.