My undergraduate degree is in Humanities, and I have always been interested in understanding human nature on a societal and individual level, through the lens of the arts. I had a stint working in photography before being swept away by yoga in my early 20s. My background is in ashtanga, which I practiced and taught religiously for about 15 years, from 2002. Before that, as a teen, I had courted Iyengar, and a little Sivananda. During the ashtanga years, I lived, breathed and slept yoga. I travelled to the Institute in Mysore, India nine times, spending months at a time developing as a practitioner and immersing in the global yoga community (becoming 'Authorised, Level 2'). I taught full-time in London, in different capacities. I travelled a bit, teaching workshops abroad. I ran retreats, mentoring programmes and taught on teacher trainings. I worked my way through primary, secondary, and half of third series. I loved the technical challenges of ashtanga, the thrill when an impossible task was surmounted, the fluidity of it and the method of self-practice. I loved the effect of the breathing, the culture of a six day a week, 6am 2 hour practice, the rhythms of the moon days.
Eventually though, I outgrew ashtanga - a tricky blow to navigate. The repetitive nature of the sequencing wore me down to threadbare. The culture became incompatible with a creative mind and an adventurous spirit.
For about 6 years, I took up Iyengar yoga, attending a 'yoga teachers' class, filling in the gaps in my knowledge. I learnt all about the more subtle aspects of yoga. How to interocept, wake up inert parts of the body, how to respect different body types and modify accordingly. I learnt about alignment, how to be precise, and how to stabilise and strengthen my watery, compensating ashtanga body. It re-enlivened the yoga spark in me, and enriched my teaching.
Until eventually, after 20-ish years of yoga-ing, I lost interest: the striving for a perfect practice, the need to use yoga to manage emotionally, was therapized out of me. The way I practiced, and why, completely changed.
Running alongside the yoga, there was a growing interest in the dynamics I experienced and noticed while teaching yoga in classes and privately. Namely, what makes us human, and how can I make sense of the way we are?
Since 2010 I have followed my interest in psychoanalysis, and I have an MA in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the University of Essex, UK (BACP reg.). I trained as a psychotherapist at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London (BPC) and worked as a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist in private practice, and within the NHS at the Tavistock Clinic's specialist Trauma Service in London, UK.
These days, I practice for the enjoyment of movement, be it for ten minutes or an hour or more. Primarily I want to maintain strength, mobility, and feel structurally supported, physically comfortable, and functional as I age. A bit like an adjunct to the things that enrich my life, it supports my tennis game, enables me to be able to move about freely whether swimming, walking or cycling. It's a bit of stretching, but nothing extreme. Some essential strength work (the antidote to a hyper-mobile body), mixed in with mobility training (amazingly effective) and functional range conditioning stuff. Mostly weaving the classic yoga shapes into my own functional mobility yoga tapestry.
In early 2020 I returned home to New Zealand after more than 20 years away, and am based in Devonport, Auckland, where I work as a psychotherapist in private practice, and teach yoga on the side.