Letting Go of Transcendence – Settling into Embodiment
Atha Yoga Anusasanam – Now the Teachings of Yoga Begin
Like all of us, I’m currently wearing a few different hats in life. Of yoga teacher, shala owner, slow fashion entrepreneur, wife, and mum to four cats, while continuing to study and practise yoga. But if I’ve learnt anything in the last 15 years of practice and 11 years of teaching, it is the paradox of using yoga practice to disentangle from over-identification with these roles, to recognising that the “yoga” is to be found in all these things.
Since childhood I’ve felt a pull towards seeking a deeper reality, a strong desire for a tangible experience of the divine. In my twenties, after living and working in Hong Kong for a few years, I found myself in an ashram in south India, having resigned my corporate job with no idea when I would return. In the years that followed (I call my transition/transient/transcendence period) I spent months at a time in India studying in Mysore (the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga) and travelingextensively throughout the Himalayas visiting ashrams and places of spiritual significance.
TRAVEL & SEEKING
During this period, I dived deep into the study of Theravada Buddhism, developing a meditation practice and extending my travel to retreat centres and monasteries in South-East Asia. After a period of apprenticeship, and accepting that teaching seemed to be part of my path (I was given the level 2 authorisation by KPJAYI to teach in 2010) I began teaching yoga in Japan, where I lived for a couple of years. After eight years in Asia I returned to Sydney ready to put down roots, however life had other plans for me and after a year back home teaching, I was on the road again. This time an epic journey through fifteen countries, including Myanmar, Japan, China, the transiberian railway to Russia, eastern Europe, Turkey, India, practising and teaching yoga along the way, culminating in moving to Dubai at the beginning of 2012.
ARRIVING & SETTLING
Coming to Dubai was a major turn point in my life, where I left behind not only a transient but also a transcendent way of life. I realised that while I was living in the world, I needed to actually “live” in the world and put all the “yoga” into action. Ironically, a city which I had never given much thought to, or even had the desire to visit, has become my home. My spiritual journey has evolved to be less about seeking new experiences through travel, to being fully engaged with my day-to-day life in the various roles of partner, friend, teacher and business owner. This ‘settling’ has physically manifested in Nilaya House, a yoga shala I created in Al Quoz, Dubai, where those seeking a deeper connection with their Self through yoga, can feel at home.
I teach Ashtanga yoga daily as it continues to be my trusty companion and steady foundation and I know what magic it can work. However as my own personal practice has evolved, through the study of various yoga and movement methodologies, I teach in an integrative, intuitive and non-dogmatic way, drawing on different tools and approaches to meet the individual needs of my students. I hope to empower and inspire students to learn, explore and grow along their own very personal path of yoga, uncovering what brings balance and joy and keeps the flame of yoga burning bright. I’m grateful to my mentors and teachers on the path of yoga including R Sharath Jois, Eileen Hall, Kiki Flynn, David Roche, Alex Medin, Simon Borg-Olivier, Rolf & Marci Naujokat, Dr Abhay Keste and Noriyuki Tomiyama.
My personal sadhana has also always been inspired by female mystics, starting with a love of St Teresa of Avila, who by a strange turn of events I ended up performing as in an Indian film. I’ve been greatly influenced over the last few years by the path of tantra and the divine feminine through the work of Sally Kempton, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Kavitha Chinnaiyan and Lama Tsultrim Allione. These teachings have helped me find my place in the world and harness the shakti energy of creativity, strength and nurture to grow personally and professionally.
This website includes details of my current teaching schedule in Dubai and elsewhere, trainings, retreats and passion for slow fashion and maybe an occasional cat photo, as to be honest it really is impossible to delineate the line between yoga and the rest of life.