I loved yoga from my first class at age 15. I knew instantly yoga was 'my thing' and one day I would teach it in my own unique way.
I also had a strong social conscience from an early age that led me to a degree in Criminology, Human Geography and History and travel and work throughout East and South East Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, India, USA and the islands of the South Pacific. I have worked alongside families experiencing domestic violence, held governance roles with the New Zealand Red Cross and collaborated in numerous community projects such as a local farmers market, alternative money system, community garden, positive news website, child and adolescent mental health support, restorative justice, Whanau Ora and social housing.
Working alongside communities and people with a wide range of backgrounds has given me a deep understanding of the challenges many people face, the beauty and incredible resilience of the human spirit and our responsibility as social beings to support each other in what ever way we can.
I bring this understanding and compassion to my role as a yoga teacher and am passionate about making yoga accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. I give a portion of my yoga earnings to inspiring projects responding to social and environmental issues with practical, innovative solutions.
I have had a regular yoga practice since I was 15 and spent 2008 in India to deepen my understanding of yoga within the culture and country it originated from. I completed 3 levels of Yoga Teacher Training with Ashram Yoga in New Zealand between 2010 and 2012 and additional courses in Pregnancy Yoga, Yoga for Children and Yoga Nidra, a profound relaxation technique. I have further training in supporting women through pregnancy and birth with Maha al Musa of Embody Birth and applied anatomy for yoga with Yoga Synergy.
The magic of how yoga flows into daily life
I love learning and sharing with students and watching the real magic of yoga occur when what is learnt on the mat flows into everyday life. In classes we explore how we move and use our bodies, which spots feel weak, tight, supple and strong. We look with compassion at how experiences through our lives create patterns within our physiology and how to create more positive ways of working with our bodies to prevent and alleviate injuries. We focus on subtle sensations and how to honour our own unique experience of a pose or breath practice, bringing our awareness inwards to observe what lies beneath. We learn to witness our thoughts rather than get carried away with them and experience those incredible moments of stillness between thoughts. And we learn how to experience deep rejuvenating, soothe the soul, rest.
It is through these experiences that we learn to approach everyday life with fresh eyes and awareness. We notice how we hold ourselves in everyday activities and make adjustments to support our bodies when working in the garden, lifting heavy objects, holding children or working on a computer. We know how to work with the breath to calm ourselves in moments of stress or increase energy when lethargic. We begin to notice the quality of our thoughts, and how certain thoughts lead to certain outcomes. We learn to take a step back and decide how we want to respond to challenging moments that arise rather than falling into the same old patterns. And along the way we remember not to take ourselves too seriously! To approach life on and off the mat with openess and humour, to be playful, grateful for what we have and to try new things. To hold our views lightly so we are open to learn and grow. Over time we develop a depth of self awareness that allows positive lasting changes to flow through all aspects of our lives.
Yoga and motherhood
I am a proud mother to our happy, cheeky, clever 4 year old Amira and adorable, adventurous 2 year old Eli. Becoming a mother has been the perfect opportunity to utilise all of the yoga practices I have learnt as I navigate my way through the beauty, wonder, difficulties and sleep deprivation of parenthood, and the kids love joining me on the mat!
The following teachers and centres have been part of my yoga journey and continue to inspire me:
Ashram Yoga www.ashramyoga.com
Mana Retreat Centre www.manaretreatcentre.com
Yoga Within www.yogawithin.co.nz
Embody Birth www.mahaalmusa.com
Spinning Babies www.spinningbabies.com
Yoga Synergy www.yogasynergy.com
The main photos on this website were taken at favourite nature spots near my home by talented, warm hearted photographer, Emma Steel. www.photographybyemmasteel.co.nz