Having moved to the Côte d'Azur in the South of France some 25 years ago, I started practising yoga with Christian Pisano and his wife, June Whitaker, who are two of the best Iyengar teachers in Europe and are based in Nice. Then, when 17 years ago we adopted our daughter it was obviously difficult to carry on with classes, so I made a conscious decision to intensify my daily practice at home.
Around that same time I came across the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli, who studied for many years with B.K.S. Iyengar before establishing her own, innovative approach to yoga through the proper alignment and “awakening” of the spine. I found this inspiring and have since attended several workshops with different teachers she trained, notably Diane Long and Sophy Hoare.
The decision to start teaching was born of a desire to share the extraordinary benefits of yoga. I myself had turned to yoga when going through an extremely painful period of my life, battling with the frustration of infertility and numerous highly stressful cycles of IVF. For me personally, the most amazing thing about yoga was that my body (which had so stubbornly refused to do what a ‘normal’ female body is supposed to do) started transforming and literally ‘bending’ itself to my will. Within a relatively short space of time I started to feel myself become more supple, stronger (an incredible feeling for someone with weak wrists and ankles!) and more aware.
At first I found it difficult to feel the much-cited ‘union’ between body and mind, as I was so busy concentrating on the postures; but as soon as these started to become more familiar I did indeed begin to find peace, firstly in my practice and then gradually in my everyday life.
This is the joy I get from teaching. I humbly watch as women whose arms ached from just hanging out the washing regain strength and flexibility. As stressed-out men clear their minds and find enough calm to balance on one leg. As those lacking in confidence find it within themselves to lift their legs into a headstand. As children become calm, centred, and begin to discover a sense of the immensity of the universe.