I can’t say what drew me to attend my first yoga class other than that I somehow ‘knew’ it would be good for me. I was in my early 20s and yoga had yet to become the popular discipline it is these days, but as soon as I landed on my mat, I felt at home. This was at a time when I found the daily stuff of being me very difficult, so the balm of yoga asana, combined with the Transcendental Meditation that I had begun to practice regularly, were my saving grace.
After 10 years as a quiet and dedicated student, I eventually undertook teacher training and gained my first official qualification from the traditional Sivananda Yoga Vedanta School in Kerala, South India in 2002. It was an experience that changed the course of my life, leading me in directions I could never have imagined.
Since those early days, I have been lucky enough to practice with many, many inspiring teachers – most consistent of which has been my own body. The menstrual health and chronic pain issues that continue to be my constant companions have guided me to find yoga and movement styles that are both healing and nurturing. I undertook foundational studies in Yoga Therapy from the Yoga Biomedical Trust in 2007, which led me to Uma Dinsmore Tuli and her pioneering work around Yoga & Women’s Health in 2010. I have studied Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers and Paul Grilley, Restorative Yoga with Judith Hansen Lasater, Presence Through Movement with Kim Eng and Yoga As Medicine with Dr Timothy McCall. In 2016 I was introduced to Gentle Somatic Yoga by James Knight, a delight that sent me on a journey of discovery which included practicing Feldenkrais with Dan Gelblum, Embodiment with Bo Forbes, Biomechanics with Katy Bowman, Authentic Movement with Fran Lavendel, Somatic Anatomy with Tias Little and Yoga & Somatics for Health with Charlotte Watts. I also study regularly with Max Strom, whose understanding of breath as a healing modality is very supportive.
In 2011 when my endometriosis was at its most crippling, I was lucky enough to meet my long-term inspiration Alexandra Pope, who’s radical teachings on the psycho-spiritual dynamics of the menstrual cycle became a life line for me. When she co-founded Red School with Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer a few years later, I joined the team, since going on to become a Senior Leadership Mentor and Faculty Member. Through Red School it is my great privilege to share menstruation as a spiritual practice with people all round the world, regularly holding international sharing circles and facilitating Menstruality Coaching sessions. It is work that I love and work that keeps me humble, as it is a constant reminder of the magic inherent in the experience of being a cycle aware human being, and of the medicine we each hold within us when we pause to listen.