25 years of yoga!
Blimey, doesn’t time fly?! I attended my very first yoga class 25 years ago this
Dru registered teacher
September just gone and I’ve never looked backed since (well only during my yoga practice – along with forwards, sideways and upside down ha ha).
My first class was an Adult Education course, taught by Christine Barraclough, accompanying a friend who didn’t want to go on her own. I’d never even thought of yoga before she asked me, exercise has never really been my thing :). My friend gave up after the first term but I was hooked (it took the pain out of my oddly shaped back) and yoga has been a constant in my life ever since, giving me so much, including a job that I love.
I’m a reasonably practical person, if I can’t see the point of doing something I won’t do it. I like to understand, know for sure that something works or experience the benefits first hand. I’m always putting yoga to the test and researching more about what it can do for us! If you’ve been to my classes then you will know that when I tell you the benefits of a posture I’m always honest about whether I know this from personal experience, from another person’s experience or from learning about a posture. It’s one of the reasons I love you to tell me how get on with any of the practices I give you – it all adds to my well of yoga wisdom. Over the years I have put my yoga practice on trial plenty, with a whole host of physical, mental and emotional challenges and I can tell you this, without exception, whatever I have tested my yoga with it has always come up trumps. Which is why I keep coming back to my yoga every single day, regardless of how I feel or what is going on for me, and teaching is a fantastic way of sharing all that I’ve learned.
Reflecting over the last 25 years, yoga and Dru Yoga in particular, has given me so much, not least an amazing tool box of effective techniques to help me navigate all of life’s ups and downs. I’ve made many friends, been taught by some truly inspirational teachers plus given me the most fantastic career, for which I am ever grateful. I’ve never got bored of my yoga practice, there is always so much more to learn and discover.
There are so many facets and layers to yoga, such as elements, chakras, koshas and prana vayus. Then there are all the different styles of yoga to experience (Dru, Iyengar, Satyananda, Sivananda etc) and disciplines to immerse yourself in ( eg yoga nidra, pranayama, karma yoga, mudra). Whatever interests you there’s a yoga for you! Whatever your size, shape or ability there’s a yoga for you! I can see how my interests have changed and evolved over the years, and I have no doubt that they will transform even more over the next 25 years.
My own yoga path quickly went from enjoying a weekly class to practicing at home every day (prompted by the anxiety surrounding a new job), then attending as many workshops and retreats as I could get to. I dipped my toe into many yoga styles, even training to teach with one tradition. Finally, about 19 years ago I went to my first Dru Yoga workshop. I knew straight away that I’d found MY yoga. At the time I found Dru I was going through a tricky time, my Dad had recently passed away and I was having a hard time managing my grief. The Dru techniques reached parts of me that my other yoga practices didn’t, I could not believe the difference I felt. I enrolled almost straight away on their teacher training course. Two years later I’d given up my day job and was teaching yoga full time…then I really started to learn my craft! Since that initial training with Dru, I went onto do the post grad teaching certificate, study anatomy and physiology and train as Dru Meditation teacher. It’s now my privilege to be a senior tutor on the Leeds Dru Yoga Teacher Training course, and teaching CPD sessions too. I learn so much from each intake of students and I am continually being pushed out of my comfort zone, propelled into deeper practices and study.
Just in case you’re wondering if I keep up with my own development and training, I absolutely do! I love going on Dru yoga retreats, especially meditation ones. I really like working with other professionals too. The Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr Janey Fitzgerald (who I know many of you know) has been a huge help to me over the last couple of years, thoroughly enjoying our sessions together, weaving Ayurveda with Dru Yoga. Another person I like working with is Kim Tomlin at Movement Hub – a great person to pick postures apart with. Kim gave me such a lot of help when I was trying to get into a convincing Wheel pose after 25 years of trying, which I’m very proud of (obviously proud in a non-attached yogic way ;)).
I realise that I’ve talked quite a lot about myself in this blog, but I do hope it has inspired you …
Firstly, I hope that you are inspired to take your yoga practice to the next level. Would you like to do something every day? Perhaps you are ready to try a workshop or the meditation group? Maybe you’d like to explore teaching yoga yourself? Seriously, test your yoga – find out what it can do for you, in my experience when it comes to yoga you get out of it precisely what you put into it.
Then, I hope that you are inspired to share your yoga journey with us. I’d really like to do an Inside Out student focus each month from the new year, featuring one of you! We’ll take your picture, ask you some questions and share your stories with our followers. I know from talking to many of you that you have some amazing experiences of how yoga has helped you to share. Please do let me know if you’d like to be involved. Ix