What first brought you to yoga?
It was in the late 90′s and yoga was just hitting popular media. I saw pictures of Madonna and also Geri Halliwell of Spice Girls fame was talking about it a lot in the British press. I was doing a lot of circuit training and running at the time and thought, ‘I’ll give this a go for a change of scene, how hard can it be?”
Anyway, after my first class, a 90 minutes Iyengar class, I felt like I’d been hit by a car for at least 3 days afterwards. I went back the next week though!
I haven’t always loved the practice. I’ve dipped in and out of yoga over the years, basically due to my own physical laziness. But once I’d hit my late 30′s, I knew that I needed to do something regularly and fell in love with yoga all over again. I did my teacher training because I’d always wanted to and never got round to it, and was of an age where if I didn’t do it I would feel too old to do it.
I love teaching more than I ever thought I would. It’s just a joy to watch people progress and do things with their bodies that they never thought they would or could. And just how it increases people self confidence. I love it!
What did you think yoga was before you tried?
I thought yoga was something that trendy pop stars did and that it was just another kind of exercise class. It was always associated with hippies, vegetarians and meditation which was what initially put me off. When I realised that I could do what I liked, what served me, then I really got into it.
Yoga in the media was always accompanied by images of women who were always super thin, super fit, and ripped! I went through a long phase of wanting to be like that. I’m a confident woman and it never put me off going to a yoga class, but I know now as a teacher that this is the kind of image which put offs a large majority of the community.
I went to my first class with an open mind, expecting to only do a bit of light stretching. That first teacher, Trish Battistessa, a New Zealand born nurse and Iyengar yoga teacher, was amazing and I feel like she is still with me now when I teach, which is nice as she passed away quite a long time ago.
Do you identify YOUR body as a yoga body? How do you define a “yoga body.”
I have never defined my body as a yoga body, it’s just my body! I do now talk about my yoga booty, and get people to feel my arms if they ask if yoga makes a difference.
I’m a lot heavier than I used to be due to an excessively large appetite, and I use that as another technique to encourage people to my classes who think they aren’t ‘thin enough’ to do yoga.
To me, a yoga body is a fit healthy happy body!
How do you identify as being Audacious?
I wear tight lycra clothes over my thick thighs and I have huge boobs and there is no way I can control them!! I don’t know if that is classed as ‘daring’ but I just let it all hang out. I am what I am, this is me, this how I look, and I’m fit, happy and healthy!
What would you say to someone who is interested in trying yoga?
Just come along to a class. Speak to people who go to the class you are interested (the teacher can hook you up) You could take a few private lessons first if you want to try it out but don’t want to be in front of other people.
Challenge yourself – give it a go and then if you don’t like it, try something else!
Also, you never feel bad after a yoga class. Whatever mood you in when you enter the class, you can guarantee it will be better when you leave.
I did a weekend workshop with David Swenson in Manchester, UK, last year, and he blew me away. Such a cool guy, and so funny! Really funny. Love reading and watching stuff by Sadie Nardini, Tara Stiles, Elena Brower, Kathryn Budig, Gigi Yogini… all the Americans!!!
I’m going to a Budokon workshop with Alan Elworthy soon – I met Cameron Shayne at the Om Yoga Show in London last year and he was so amazing to watch. Alan and I did our yoga teacher training together and he has since gone on to be a registered Budokon Yoga instructor too – can’t wait to give that a go.
I am really impressed with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. I would like the movement to take hold in the UK! Yoga is NOT just for skinny flexible women!!!!