What is your practice style of yoga?
My personal perference is flow style, using a combination of breath led movement from posture to posture. I love the creativity of moving instinctively and following what feels good for my body. Sometimes it's fast paced and dynamic, sometimes slower and more reflective.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I'm a relative latecomer to yoga. My first introduction was 12 years ago in 2005. It began with Body Balance, a class combining Tai Chi, yoga and pilates sequences choreographed to great music. I realised I loved the yoga sequences and began attending yoga classes, trying a wide variety - including flow style, Ashtanga and Iyengar. In 2011 I completed my teacher training with Sun Power Yoga and since 2013 have taught weekly classes and private lessons as my main "job".
What do you teach at The Reach?
I teach 2 classes for members of Sheffield U3A. One is chair based, beginning with grounding breathwork, followed by a whole body seated warm up sequence, including a chair based surya namaskar (salute to the sun). Using the chair for support a series of standing postures focus on core strength, alignment and balance. The class ends with relaxation and guided visualisation to restore and re-energise.
The second is a mat based class for active seniors. Beginning with breathwork for focus and concentration, flowing postures to open, gently stretch and energise and supported restorative postures which prepare for relaxation and guided visualisation to complete the practice.
(Non members are welcome to try a class, but must join the U3A to be able to attend regularly.)
Who is yoga most suited to in your opinion?
The power and the beauty of yoga is that there is a practice to suit everyone.
In my classes everyone is encouraged to work to their own level and discover their own potential. Gentle options are offered to any participants with injuries or health issues and progressions for those who would like some challenges.
Best advice to a new beginner?
Breath, smile and enjoy!
Who inspires you yogically?
Gosh, there are so many!
Modern yoga owes so much to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, teacher of Sri K Patabi Jois and BKS Iyengar, whose teachings have influenced so many yoga teachers and practitioners across the world.
Beryl Bender Birch's book Beyond Power Yoga takes yoga off the mat and into everyday life. She weaves connections between Patangali's 8 limbs of yoga and the chakras and shows how practicing yoga doesn't end when you leave the mat, but is with you in all aspects of your life and in everything you do.
Last year I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Yoga Anatomist and Educator Leslie Kaminoff which gave me a fresh perspective on teaching asana.
Ekanath Easewaran's translations of classic texts such as the Bhadavad Gita and The Upanishads are easy to read and are relevant to modern life.