Through a moment of mindful sitting at the close of a recent yoga class, breathing with focused awareness on inner quietude, I had a fresh realisation. It was this – I realised that I have been "Living in the Here and Now" for a very long time. As a teen, with summer holidays approaching, after my 'O'Levels, my Dad was offered a job in Scotland, and so at 16yrs, our move from Kent, required me to become a student at the Aberdeen College of Commerce. I had no choice, but to get on with my new environment, meet new friends and immerse myself in studying until I found a social life! A couple of years later, we moved back 'down South' and I found myself entering the world of Publishing. Had I chosen this career path? NO. But I loved reading so it was an ideal start to my working life. I continued to be in the present moment, living day to day, which meant that even by my late 20s, I had no savings; no mortgage; no real 'Big Life Plan'.
Of course I had to make schedules at work, meet constant deadlines, under pressure. Yes there was masses of stress at work. BUT I did not overthink "My Future" or even "My Past". In my 30s, married with 2 small daughters and thrilled with a 2nd career in the Wine Industry (always work with your passions) a departmental move to Hampshire forced me to rethink my work/life balance. STRESS of a different nature had arrived when I became a Mum. Yet YOGA – another keen interest of mine - was on my horizon. Stress arrived in many guises; sleepless nights; increasing work demands; physical & mental fatigue. Parenting Worries. Financial concerns. Training to become a yoga tutor was my new path, but I had to fit in the study, the essays, weekends away and manage a tight budget. Friends, family and my parents were giving me advice, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear. My husband Tim was beside me, supportive and encouraging.
Regular Weekly Yoga Class was still an essential part of my well-being; providing me with body-mind-breath support. As I learned more, on and off the mat, experience helped to shape and broaden my approach.
Then, the Spiritual Connection arrived, deep within me. The practice was becoming WHOLE. Separate parts of the yoga tradition were threading through me, like a fabric of inner support. I was no longer Doing Yoga, I was Being Yoga.
"Most often, people are doing yoga for some simple reason and they progress into more involved, step-by-step practices. Each step can be enjoyable, fitted to the reality of where each person is now." TKV Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga.
Asana, Limb 3 – is a real true love of mine. It is at the heart of yoga and I am an Anatomy and Alignment FAN. The Breath – Limb 4, Pranayama – intrinsic and so often challenging, is a constant source of inspiration to me. Meditation provides time for stillness – YES I am able to SIT STILL and enjoy pauses in between the mind traffic and find clarity in the chaos cloud.
As I continue to Live in the Here and Now, my present moment life experiences inspire the practices.
Your Journey is just as interesting and special to me.
Let's move better together. See you on the Mat!
"When the compulsive striving away from the NOW ceases, the joy of Being Flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction. Neither failure not success has the power to change your inner state of Being. You have found the life underneath your life situation." Eckhart Tolle The Power of NOW
So, I guess you already know that I care about YOU - your health - your wellbeing - your development on the mat and the stories behind your practice. This is, for me, the heartfelt aspect of my teaching. It's an honour for me, to know WHY you keep returning to my classes. To know WHAT really benefits you personally. To CONNECT my deep passion and love for yoga, pilates and movement, to yourSelf through sharing as much knowledge and experience I have to date, and continuing to do so.
Its why my logo has a tiny little green heart inside the 'Ros' to represent my love of this profession, my emotional heart-centre and the importance of Anahata, the energetic heart chakra.
Gratitude to all my teachers. A journey which began seriously with Kay Russel, my first British Wheel of Yoga Teacher. Attendance at her Monday Night class for 4 continuous years was an indication of a consistent and growing dedication to Yoga. I'd established a regular home practice, bought books and videos, and become hooked. Kay then suggested I train to become a teacher. A foundation course with Sarah Harris that Autumn was inspirational as I was introduced to many spiritual threads of the tradition through Sarah's teachings. Training with Elaine Fletcher and Gill Pendreich provided a thorough Teaching Diploma and increased my enthusiasm for study with teachers from many disciplines and countries. Dawn Boulanoff's challenging classes showed me how creative sequences can inspire students, and I respect the knowledge and skills obtained from so many different schools of yoga, eg: Iyengar, Ashtanga, Yin, Anusara and Restorative.
My keen enthusiasm for anatomy/physiology even led me to attend a Dissection "Cadaver Day" at Guy's Hospital Trust specifically aimed at Yoga Tutors! You know that Safe Alignment is at the Heart of my Teaching.
Pilates and more recently Somatic Movement Education has given me the ability to widen the range of my own mat-practice and especially benefit those who attend private individual sessions, with, say backpain or muscular tension caused from injury.
It's YOU, your bodies, your questions, your feedback that continue to inspire me to connect through regular weekly classes and to positively affect your wellbeing!
Listen to your Body. You will hear that in class, over and over said by me, and all of your tutors. But how can we listen to our bodies, if we are finding it hard to listen to our inner voice, our gut instinct, our pain signals and even our friends and families?
My Body (like yours) has alot of stories. Attending yoga class was at first about re-finding flexibility after long workday hours sitting at a desk with a stiff spine, achey muscles and 'deadline-tensions'. Next, Yoga became a way to express my growing sense of physical prowess. When would I achieve that perfect Bhujangasana (Cobra) How could I sit in Gomukhasana (Seat of Cow) without feeling uncomfortable pelvis and hip restriction. Proud of how my body adapted to the discipline of yoga, I became devoted to weekly class. Next came "Svadhyaya": Study ( which literally means ‘one’s own reading’ or ‘self-study’, the 4th of the Niyamas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) I read plenty of books, watched Videos (Barbara Currie was my 1st) and with a dedicated spirit, unrolled my mat at home. Later came The Connection. The Union of Body-Mind-Breath-Emotions.
Connectivity deepened as the practice grew. Awareness arose within the flow of the Prana. A space for spirituality opened. My body-mind Stopped Trying TOO hard. By cultivating Svadhyaya during asana practice, a deeper understanding of yourSelf may occur over time, because by exploring your reactions to what arises, you can use that deeper understanding when uncomfortable situations occur off the mat. It's a great way to observe your natural tendencies. Do you always stay in a comfort zone? Do you tend to Push yourself Too Hard?
My love of Yoga doesn't mean I 'disconnect' from everyBODY else, regular class and home practice equals self-discipline, dedication, commitment, and intention. It is a deliberate act of Self-Care. Yoga IS a Science of Living. And because it's intrinsically linked with Your Body and Your Own Life, Your own Yoga Practice (just like mine) is constantly evolving and continuously expanding.
Through Teaching, I rediscovered my own creativity. Exploring variations to classical postures gives me a buzz. I'm excited to bring you a modern Pilates exercise appropriate to the next stageof your learning. I am also introcuing you to Somatic Movement with slow sensory care.
Just as I continue to be inspired by my own teachers, why not Be Creative on your Own Mat? Explore a well-known pose, and then change your arm / foot / leg position? What happens? Have some fun. Go Explore. Feelgood.
See You On The Mat!
Sometimes I truly regret What I've said, How I've said it, and even When I've said it. This is often a post-class mindset. 'Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda' SO, the reason behind writing this blog is I have Time to THINK before I SPEAK. I know I'm opinionated. Passionate about things I really love (health innovations, pain research, current affairs) yet equally fired up about any number of 'Dislikes', I really do wear my heart on my sleeve. 'Off-the-cuff' anecdotes are true stories spilling out of my busy mind. Some of you have said I'm quirky and funny. You like my honesty. I also acknowledge the times when assertion and class management mean that I become strict! It's all because I truly care about you.
Your commitment to your own wellbeing is firm. Your loyalty and dedication to me, is outstanding.
Yet, Self-Doubt has been a constant companion through the years. My intellect knows it's a kind of self-sabotage. I guess it's just another part of me, it's My Whole Nature that has shaped My Teaching; it's My Home Practice that informs the Lesson Plan; it's My Sciatic Back-pain history that led me to the path of Somatic Movement.
Maybe you've also experienced doubt, worries, or 'first-night nerves'. We do need eustress to perform well. But when one anxious thought multiplies to create a state that feels like a disordered scatter-brain, your whole physiology can be adversely affected.
Thoughts are mental objects of perception and are not the Mind itself
– Shurangama Sutra
Jon Kabat-Zinn invites you to reframe these thoughts as 'mind-objects' and as 'events in the field of awareness'. The 3-Part Breathing Space may help. It forms part of Jon Kabat-Zinn's MBSR programme which I studied with Vanessa Hope in 2010.
"When you dwell in stillness, the judging mind can come through like a foghorn....this type of thinking dominates the mind and weighs it down, like carrying around a suitcase of rocks...it feels good to put it down, to suspend all your judging, to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as Good or Bad". From 'Wherever You Go, There You Are'
AND, It's Your Bodies, Your Lives, Your dedicated Presence, that inspires me to continue to provide high-quality tuition and fresh approaches to the disciplines of yoga, pilates and somatic movement. We are on this path together.
See You On the Mat!