Pookie (I am the slightly less hairy one on the right!)
Since a young child, I have been intrigued by movement! I began gymnastics and ballet when I was three years old and was constantly in trouble at home for cartwheeling in front of the TV! My childhood was spent enthusiastically studying the body's abilities (and boundaries!) and I went on to compete internationally in gymnastics before retiring at the age of 16 years old to teach.
I first became interested in yoga when my coach told me it would be a wonderful way to heal my body after a long career in such an intense sport. I went to my first Iyengar yoga class in 1992 and found it very slow yet surprisingly challenging. Since retiring, my body had completely tightened up and a number of years had to be spent trying to regain flexibility. After a lifetime of gymnastics, the non-competitive element to yoga was just what my soul needed and for the first time in my life, I started to feel a sense of ease and a sense of peace.
This sparked something deeper inside and a keen interest in spirituality and health was ignited. In 1996, I left my career in London's music business to travel the world in search of true happiness. Tired of grey London city skies, miserable tube journeys and never feeling the sun's rays on my skin, I knew deep down that there was more to life than this.
The next 7 years were spent traveling and learning as much as I could. I explored many different styles of yoga from Iyengar, Kundalini and Ashtanga to traditional Hatha yoga at Sivananda and Satyandanda ashrams. I studied Vipassana meditation and discovered that life is not what it seems in Vedanta and Satsang lectures. I also spent time living on ashrams and organic farms where I learnt first hand about healthy food, cooking and nutrition. These intensive study periods in India, Australia and Thailand gave me enough inspiration and confidence to finally open my own yoga studio together with my husband Gaye and my best friend and business partner Carole in 2003. The centre offered drop in classes, retreat programs and workshops to enable people to make simple and positive changes to their current lifestyle. As well as running a business and teaching, I was very fortunate during this period to have the chance to study with inspiring teachers such as Shiva Rea, Richard Freeman, Mark Whitwell and David Swenson.
I began practicing at Samahita Retreat after hearing great feedback from friends. After meeting Paul, a true yogi with a wonderful sense of humour and Neil aka Anatomy man, I found it very difficult to leave. So I didn't! Instead, I put my life on hold and immersed myself in every program that was on offer, teacher trainings, retreats and further continuing education trainings. During this time, I also had the opportunity to meet and study with the delightful O.P. Tiwari (Tiwariji) who's humble presence and simple but profound Pranayama teachings are only worthy of the highest respect.
I feel very fortunate to be continuing my studies with Paul and Tiwarji. They are sincere teachers who have invaluable knowledge to share. I am extremely grateful to everyone at Samahita Retreat for their continued support and generosity. I feel really honoured to be part of the team here. I am looking forward to helping others find the beauty in this practice. For me, Ashtanga yoga is a very fluid and graceful practice which has amazing power to transform the individual. It has had such a profound and positive effect on me and I feel so grateful to now be in a position to pass this on to others. When I'm not teaching, I love to spend my time practicing the true art of yoga - being a mother... with my very own 5 year old cartwheeling son, Fin!
Me and my little guru on the beach