I started attending yoga classes 25 years ago at the recommendation of a physiotherapist, in order to try and manage chronic pain, a result of badly-healed neck fractures/whiplash injuries sustained in a car accident in my early twenties.  Yoga brought a good deal of relief and empowered me to ‘manage’ the pain.  There were times though when I found the yoga postures very challenging and not always possible. I then discovered the Desikachar tradition of yoga  which teaches that yoga should be taught from the starting place of the individual – whatever that might be – with poses adapted accordingly and very much based on moving with the breath. He famously said once that no matter what limitations people had “If they can breathe, they can do yoga!”

I now felt ‘at home’ with my yoga practice.   I soon realised that Desikachar’s methods, modifying the practice, were extremely effective and brought immense relief for my physical condition and overall feeling of wellbeing.  My yoga practice became, and remains, a vital support.

In order to share this approach with others,  I undertook a 2-year/500-hour (AYS – Association for Yoga Studies/Sadhana Mala) yoga teacher training course for teaching group classes. The teacher training programme, taught by Ranju Roy and David Charlton (both leading UK teachers in this system of yoga), included the skills to teach posture practice safely and effectively, study of anatomy and physiology and the study of breathing practices and their therapeutic application.
A further 2-year/500 hour course in individual yoga therapy again with AYS/Sadhana Mala organisation, led to a qualification approved by the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council) which was set up by the Department of Health to register complementary health practitioners who meet a high standard of good practice.

In addition to offering individual yoga therapy (at my small studio on the western edge of Lewes and at the Open Door Clinic in central Lewes), I teach small group classes– both general classes and chair-supported classes.

I have a particular interest in working with people who (for whatever reason) are no longer able to get up and down easily from the floor and for whom a modified, often chair-supported, practice with a mix of standing and seated practice, can enable them to access yoga.  I also take yoga into a local care home once a week, working with a group of residents, some in wheelchairs, for a seated practice.

I regularly attend training courses to continue to broaden my knowledge of the yoga tradition and of working with specific conditions including courses on yoga for Parkinsons and age-related conditions as well as lower back problems and menopause-related conditions in women.

In this tradition, we focus on the breath as our fundamental support,  finding a sense of spaciousness and freedom of body and mind which comes as welcome relief from the fast pace of modern life.
As well as the more obvious physical benefits of building and maintaining our strength and flexibility and improving the quality of our breath, our practice can bring us towards a greater feeling of wellbeing, offering us a support when dealing with life’s obstacles and allowing us to be more open to the joy of life.