What is your connection with Yoga Studio?
I have been there right from the beginning. I teach 2 classes per week and although I am more in line with the age of the owners, I love teaching there. The studios are fantastic and they provide me with all the facilities I need.
What brought you to Yoga?
I travelled substantially with my work before I retired and I have always enjoyed a variety of sports from running to windsurfing. I have always done Yoga in between so when I decided to take it seriously, I signed up with the Yoga London teaching course for a year studying Ashtanga Yoga. I don’t think that Ashtanga Yoga is necessarily an advanced form of Yoga. You can take beginners and after starting with breathing correctly, various movements can be carried out. For an Ashtangi there is a specific series of movements such as the primary series but I adapt it to people who come within the class. As an older person, I hopefully it give inspiration to those who have not done Yoga before as if I can do it then there is hope for anyone. I especially like doing Yoga with other people and there are so many different movement routines that you can use to keep people interested.
How do you tailor your classes to suit your pupils?
During the course of a class you are building the mind, body and spirit, all at the same time. Through doing a Shavasana at the end, it brings individuals back to their natural environment. Some people like the spiritual side, some like the breathing techniques, some like the more dynamic movements, so there is so much that you can mix into a practice to make it fresh.
Do you think that people practice Yoga differently depending on their age or stage of their life?
Yes. Do you know how old I am? ……well I am coming up to 72. So, as you can see from the definition on my arms, I am strong and it isn’t just about how I look, it is what you are able to do and so whatever age you are, it is possible to connect with Yoga. I have only been teaching for 6 years so I was worried that the Yoga Studio would not take me on. Through maintaining my fitness during my career, I have been able to inspire people of any age to keep fit and healthy. I enjoy what I do, have my own practice and use other forms of exercise to supplement my Yoga classes. Through taking part in a number of activities and taking part in Yoga, I am constantly understanding and learning about my own body and how it responds. There are so many different ways to be inspired and keep moving.
For any 40-year-old as unfit as myself, do you think that Yoga will help them get fitter?
Absolutely. Well, there’s no time like the present, let’s do a sun salutation. Please follow my movements.
Have you travelled much with Yoga?
Yes. I have been to the Himalayas, done a variety of workshops at Kathmandu and teaching practice. During the course of my working life I travelled substantially and throughout my travels I was always looking for Yoga studios while I was away from home. So I have built my repertoire based on what benefits my own body and that is what I teach.
Did you start Yoga while you were working?
I have always done Yoga but not to the extent of during the last 8 or 9 years. I have completely immersed myself in it. I have lymph issues and Yoga keeps me well. As you get older, people think that you can’t continue practicing but I have persevered with it and it has made me strong. Its all about learning the body and the movements of being able to adapt. I have seen people from all different ages and they have found a lot of freedom within the body through attending my classes and they feel better for themselves. It is not about the perfect pose, it is about listening to the body and working out what it needs through movement.
Do you think that Yoga can target areas of the body that need attention?
There are most likely a variety of factors that should be looked at depending upon the needs of the pupil. However, through the lengthening and stretching of muscles, breathing correctly and carrying out various movements it will strengthen the body. This will enable the possibility of more strenuous exercise. Taking part in multiple forms of exercise will complement each other. It is all about keeping the body moving and the blood flowing. Yoga is also very spiritual and encouraging, it is not just a set of sequences but it can be meditative during the movement flows. Through this form of meditation, it allows greater focus on the needs of the body and it can also increase brain function. As we get older, we tend to forget things more, but I firmly believe that being passionate about something becomes of vital importance. People may be passionate about a sedentary activity but they will always go out for a walk, stretch or follow a routine. It’s about trying to see whether Yoga fits into your lifestyle, it may be a stepping stone to another activity, it’s different things for different people and it’s important just to give it a go.