A Little More About Me
Coming from an Acting background, I first came across yoga when I was attending classes at my local youth theatre where we used to do Sun Salutations as a warm up. I continued to practice with my Mum at her favourite yoga studio. Many years later, I found myself leading yoga-based warm-ups before movement classes at Drama School while I was training to become a professional actor. The thought of becoming a yoga instructor had always been very prominent but it was only in 2018 that I actually decided to go for it!
During my 200h Teacher Training with Yoga London I deepened my own practice as well as received invaluable lessons on the teachings of yoga. I studied extensively Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga and how I could successfully pass on this knowledge to my students. I was taught to give particular attention to my teaching language and developing my own ‘voice’ as well learn to practice adjustments safely with special detail on correct alignment. Yoga Anatomy has always been a subject of particular interest to me as I believe that the more I know about and understand the human body, the more freedom I have as a teacher to explore different Asanas with my students so that I can help them feel more at ease in their own bodies.
As humans we tend to confuse the feeling of happiness with that of absolute bliss. We often set ourselves goals and we tend to believe that only if we achieve those goals will we be able to be happy. Contentment on the other hand requires us to be happy regardless of whether we achieve those goals or experience those breath-taking moments of extreme happiness. Contentment is being happy with things the way they are and only then, moving forward into setting goals to improve ourselves. The difference is that when you are content, it doesn’t really matter whether you achieve your goal today or in the next few weeks, it doesn’t matter if you fail a hundred times, the important hing is that you keep trying.
This scenario is very relatable within a class context. People often forget that they should be happy with their practice and that they should be grateful of the fact that they are able to practice in the first place. So students often tend to compare themselves or set really difficult goals and even put themselves in positions that are compromising for their physical safety. Having said that, without small goals students would perhaps not feel as motivated to come to class, while in everyday life, without goals nobody would ever progress and grow. So how do we find the balance as teachers and keep reminding people to bring Santosa (Contentment) into their practice and then perhaps into their lives?
For me the answer lies in reminding ourselves what it felt like to be a child. Toddlers often need so little to be content. They tend to follow their instincts and are not afraid to try new things. If they happen to fall, they often just pick themselves back up and carry on with what they were doing instead of beating themselves up about it, as adults often do. All they really require is having their basic needs met. Indeed when I asked my teacher what could prevent a generally happy person from being content, her answer was that it’s those basic human needs that logically speaking could come in the way of us meeting Santosa.
So moving forward with that idea, by maintaining a sense of playfulness in our practice and by encouraging my students not to take themselves too seriously during that time, I attempt to introduce Santosa into my classes and encourage my students to take that feeling into their everyday lives.
All this, while paying particular attention to the space within them as well as the space around them so that they are truly there, in that very moment. And this is how You Are Here Yoga was created.