Influences and Inspirations
Below are some of the teachers and wisdom schools that have guided the way I practice and teach. I have studied and qualified with some of them while I am simply a student and practitioner of others and there influence shows itself because of practice rather than formal learning.
Scaravelli inspired yoga with Christine Borg
Christine has been my main teacher since 2013. She teaches a style of yoga inherited from Vanda Scaravellie via Vanda’s student Diane Long. This yoga is based on the natural alignment of the body rather than any preconceived shapes and poses. The challenge here is not to push or stretch through tension to find flexibility but to stay so deeply attentive that the subtle spaces and energy flows within the body reveal themselves naturally. Since starting to practice in this way I’ve found that my yoga practice has become an endlessly fascinating journey of exploration.
I first came across Dru Yoga as a child in the wilds of Snowdonia when my mum took my on a yoga holiday and 20 years later I fell fully in love with the practice and became a Dru Yoga teacher. Dru Yoga looks a little bit like Qigong or Tai Chi to the outside eye and has a beautifully gentle and flowing approach which I still come home to in my own practice. Most of the classes I teach are still based on the Dru principle of moving from simple practices to activate the body, though poses and exercises to bring greater awareness of body mind and soul and finally settling into stillness where we can fully experience the effects of our practice.
Adaptive yoga with Matthew Sanford
I have attended several of Matthew’s London workshops and was privileged to spend a year as an assistant at London’s Adaptive Yoga class with Fredee Mathew is a yoga teacher in the Iyengar tradition, a style which on the surface looks about as far from Scaravelli inspired yoga as you can get. Matthew came to yoga after twelve years of rehabilitation following a car accident which left him paralysed from the chest down at the age of thirteen. This combination of experiences means that his approach offers a deep level of subtly to both injured and able bodied students alike. Matthew has no conventional sensations in his lower body but he talks about the feedback he receives from his spine and legs as being more like a whisper than the normal volume conversation that most of us experience from our bodies.
Sacred Femininity with Tao Tantric Arts
I spent a glorious month as part of an all woman community in Thailand in 2015 learning different ways of working with feminine energy and wisdom through Qigong, mediation, dance, goddess archetypes, ritual and hands on healing. In particular, I love bringing a Taoist understanding of the cycle and seasons of life into my movement and meditation practice.
I became a Laughter Yoga Facilitator in 2012 after coming across a group practicing in the middle of Clissold Park in London. Despite its bizarre appearance from the outside, I have found laughter yoga the most raucously effective practice. It involves various exercise to mimic or induce laughter and the many positive biological and psychological benefits associated with a good giggle. After my first session I felt like my body and mind had been chemically altered and it remains the quickest and most effective way I know to get out of a mood slump.
Five Rhythms is a dynamic group meditation practice which uses music to take you on a journey through five different ways of moving and states of being – flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. Five rhythms and other conscious dance spaces are where I go to shake out my demons and meet my angels.
Thich Nhat Hanh and Wake Up
Wake Up London is a community of young people committed to Thich Nhat Hanh’s style of social action with an emphasis on personal practice to create world peace.
I spent a year as a Retreat Coordinator at the Barn Retreat in Devon immersed in a community based on Buddhist teachings via the Insight tradition. Insight Meditation is based on buddhist traditions taught and interpreted by Western teachers and I love how its flexible but rigorous approach can bring meditation into every corner of life.