My background before yoga was working desk-bound for over 20 years, with intense hours in a corporate mentality across a variety of industries that to me seemed to by-pass compassion almost completely. Almost... Before the corporate world I dj'd and was heavily involved in music - in bands and clunking around with music production with great talent but zero self belief. A mindset that told me I wasn't good enough and a message from earlier in my life that I'd never survive and pay the bills focusing on something creative, that I loved.
In my earlier years of working in the music industry - I was held up in an armed robbery while managing a record shop resulting in PTSD and this is where my journey into stress and anxiety began and this went on for much of my adult life despite support of counsellors and therapists. Until I found yoga..
A few years into my yoga journey I had a life-changing moment where my beautiful red, soft-topped sports car hit black ice on the way to the office, early one January Monday morning and the car lurched across the narrow country lane hitting a grass bank and rolling 3 times. I had been listening to a mantra which I loved, but had no idea of the meaning of, before the car crashed. I ended up going to hospital on a spinal board in a neck brace, with the drivers' side window glass in my head and the Maha Mantra by Deva Premal having been still playing on the wrecked car's stereo after the accident before I kicked my way out of the written off car. I took that as a sign to turn to yoga for my life's work and to learn how to chant - it appeared after all, that that mantra had saved my life. "Maha" in sanskrit means 'great'.. And to this day it's my favourite mantra to hear and chant.
But that wasn't the end of the challenges.. Within 18 months of the car accident, after completing my foundation course in yoga, I started to experience excruciating pain in my neck and shoulder and pain in my right arm and hands. This continued to get worse until I was in constant chronic pain and unable to sleep or work effectively. After referrals to a leading specialist in Cambridge I was told that I had a herniated disc between C6 and C7 in my neck. Despite much physiotherapy my mental, emotional and physical state continued to decline - I became deeply depressed and anxious as my physical reality became one of limited movement, constant pain and seemingly no hope. Acupuncture, physiotherapy, reiki, pranayama and meditation all worked to keep me relatively stable during treatment and practices, but afterwards my feelings and attitude to my condition reached as low as I felt was possible to get. I was coming up to 3 months off work at home - with limited mobility in my back, head, neck and arm and partial paralysis in my right arm. After having already had a steroid injection into my cervical spine while in a specialist x-ray scanner, the final option was to have surgery to fuse my vertebrae together and it seemed clear to me that this was inevitable, alongside a lifetime of chronic pain, restricted movement and no yoga, running or normal everyday activities. It would be fair to say that at this point the wheels fell off - a complete mental, physical and emotional breakdown (BREAKTHROUGH in truth). And in this moment a miracle occurred and an angel appeared in the form of Naomi Absalom. For those of you who don't know Naomi yet, Naomi is an inspiring, brilliant and free-thinking yoga teacher based in Brighton who is regarded as one of the great teachers in the UK and very forward thinking - her work can be found on Movement for Modern Life (the online yoga platform). Naomi reached out to me via social media and recommended a book called Healing Back Pain by John e Sarno and suggested to get it immediately and to read it and withhold my disbelief and just do the work recommended in the book regardless of whether I felt it was unbelievable. Within a month of receiving the book and really working on my mental game and attitude, not only was I mobile, but I was easing myself back into work and back on the yoga mat. Literally miraculous! The relationship between the mind, repressed pain and trauma and our sensations of pain is something that from this point forwards became a fascination for me. Particularly trauma, mental health/wellness, learning how to develop and sustain a more healthy relationship with myself and cultivate some self respect in the process (believing that I could and should have agency over my decisions about my life and what I could do with it).
Fast forward a few years and here I am doing what I love and working hard on myself and my craft to be the best I can be. And it would have been impossible without groundbreaking therapy, profound life coaching support, a business coach and my teachers - all of which offered me tools that have helped transform me and that gave me belief that what I had to offer to the world had value and mattered. With this support and the support of my family and closest friends, often despite the challenging opinions of others, I was able to leave full time employment ("work") to devote myself full time to serving and supporting a community of normal folk really needing to find calm, strength, self belief, courage and healing. It took so much work and investment in myself, particularly on my self respect and mindset (how I felt about myself, my place in the world and my value). I made many mistakes along the way, but most importantly I was courageous enough to keep on getting back up, believing in myself and my dream and believing that my purpose was important and could make a difference in other peoples' lives in a meaningful and potentially life-changing way. And there were many times, exhausted and burned out from lack of sleep and overwork, just before I made the jump to self-employment that I felt it was impossible and was never going to happen. Working 60+ hour weeks with the odd day off every couple of months as I worked both my full time day job and taught 7 yoga classes during the week (including daytime, evenings and weekends). I barely saw family, barely saw friends, but I believed, and I chose to surround myself with people who believed in me and I learned to tune out the critical and less supportive voices (often including my own).
And so here we are now... and the message is this:
Life is here to be lived fully and despite other peoples' opinions of you and your path, despite all the challenges that come (and will continue to appear), you can make life magical and meaningful and you can make a difference in peoples' lives if you believe in yourself and your dreams. If what you have to offer will be of benefit to others then keep going - and yoga and the tools of svadhyaya (self study) are essential to your continued growth and success.
The classes I teach come from my life experience and years of yoga practice. I focus on creating a space which is relaxed, informal, fun and offer clear instructions for how you can gain the most benefit from yoga practices and techniques. I do my best to make each class meaningful for life off the mat as much as on the mat. I have experience of teaching individuals, small groups, classes, workshops, retreats, online courses and large scale yoga festivals. I'm here to help you rediscover your light, your inner magic, your spark.
I am trained to teach Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Jivamukti Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Restorative Yoga, and have also studied trauma informed yoga teaching practices. My regular classes are diverse in nature - including gentle hatha yoga for mature students, deeply spiritual and dynamic Jivamukti Yoga classes, ranging to a specialist class for runners and cyclists and everything in between. Yoga when practiced regularly is deeply transformative and I am committed to supporting students over the long term.
In class you will focus on listening to your body, making a connection with your breath and exploring your experiences - developing an in-the-moment awareness. Over time, I love seeing how these practices enable you to open up, express yourself, enjoy happiness. be more yourself and achieve what you want. Yoga can work on the physical level for us or on a much deeper spiritual level - my intention is to meet you wherever you are and teach you from that point with compassion.
Take a look at the Classes tab to see the different classes available to you that I teach.