I was 22 years old when I attended my first Yoga class. I came out of that class feeling ‘holy’, although at that time I wasn’t at all sure what I meant by that! Looking back, what I should have said was that I felt ‘whole’. I always enjoyed the Yoga classes and would always come out with a feeling of well-being. At that time I still looked upon Yoga as simply a form of exercise which helped me to de-stress and feel calm.
However, as often happens, life got in the way, Yoga got put on the back-burner and after some time I started to slide down a very steep slope! I had entered a phase in my life when I not only lost Yoga but I also lost my way! Life’s challenges grew out of all proportion, and it wasn’t long before I hit the bottom of that steep slope with a great thud! I had reached the point where there was ‘no point’; I was simply a body with ‘no soul’! I found myself listening to a doctor telling me that anti-depressants might be an option, and it was at that very moment that I knew I had to take responsibility for myself, I had to ‘rise up’ and I knew anti-depressants were not the answer. It was then that Yoga resurfaced in my mind.
Yoga is about Life Itself
The day I joined a Yoga class with a lady called Debbie my life changed. The Yoga class wasn’t just about exercising and de-stressing it was about ‘life’ itself, she was a truly inspirational teacher. Over the following months all the jumbled thoughts I had about life started to unravel and my negativity soon faded into the distance, as at long last I felt able to begin to regain control of my life.
It was about six months later that Debbie approached me after a Yoga class one evening. “Have you ever thought about teaching Yoga?” she asked. I remember my reply “You must be joking; I’m not nearly good enough to do anything like that. I can hardly touch my toes!” Debbie laughed, “Yoga’s not about tying yourself up in pretzel shapes. Sure we do the postures but ultimately Yoga is about learning to take control of our lives.” All that seems a long time ago now, and as a qualified British Wheel of Yoga teacher I have now been teaching since 2000.
A Deeper Interest in Meditation
In 2010 I attended a Silent Retreat in Glastonbury led by Derek Thorne, an exceptional teacher of Self-Realisation Meditation and an excellent communicator of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. From that moment my interest in meditation became profound, and with the constant guidance of Derek I now incorporate the teachings into daily living. Derek has been a stabilizing influence in my life, a rock, and has taught me how to marry my spiritual life with all other aspects of my life. I now incorporate meditation into all my classes.
In my opinion the Yoga postures alone do not bring the peace we are seeking. We need to incorporate the whole spectrum of what Yoga is really about, which includes the ancient yogic teachings, which are as relevant in today’s world as they were thousands of years ago, and of course meditation too. The greatest gift we can give to the world is to find peace within ourselves, and I truly believe that we can do this through Yoga, not just as an exercise class but as a whole way of living.
Why Not Try a Yoga Class?
My own Yoga classes are suitable for anyone interested in learning about all aspects of Yoga. All ages and abilities including beginners and the less flexible are very welcome. Yoga classes are held in Yateley in Hampshire, and each class consists of Mindful Body & Breath Work, Relaxation, Mantra, Meditation and the Yogic teachings.