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what is your teaching experience? Where did you start?
As strange as it sounds, I never had any intention to teach in this life. Nor did I ever have a desire to teach one day. What happened was this, my mother told me she was going away for some weeks to a yoga convocation in the U.S.A. and she said she was leaving her two main evening classes to me. I was 18 and had no formal training in yoga, and was unqualified!
However, on my side was the fact that I had grown up with yoga being taught night and day around me, attended long meditations as a child (not meditating, but sitting as quietly as possible next to my mum while she meditated); and that I had helped at the yoga workshops and retreats set up by the family. At fourteen, I had apparently wanted to leave school to go and find God! (My father had other ideas!), but the idea of me actually teaching was totally not in my plans!
My mother apparently had no fears as to how I would do taking over her classes - and her confidence in me must have given me strength. I spent the afternoons while she was away in front of the mirror in my bedroom perfecting postures and writing lesson plans. I don’t remember being nervous at all about teaching, I think I just took on the authority of my mum, and from the reaction my mum got when she returned; it appeared that the classes went well.
I left education (or rather education left me!) at the same time, to pursue a career in music. I was doing jobs in retail, bars, warehouses, kitchens and everything else you can imagine to pay for my music studio equipment - when once again my mum suggested I teach instead to make a living (you can see the kind of influence she has had in all this right??)
She suggested I begin a yoga class/business myself teaching children. I had a natural ability with kids, and I knew yoga, so it seemed like a plan. My classes built up and I was teaching 40-50 children from 5-15 years old per week. My mum kept handing her classes over to me and classes she didnt have time to do, and soon I was teaching in hospitals, day centres, people’s homes, and finding more and more that teaching yoga to specialised groups like children, adults, elderly people, and mentally and physically impaired people was coming to me like second nature – it didn’t feel like I was learning anything as such, just doing what I seemed to already knew. Although I took it very seriously, it felt like teaching was just something I did like eating or sleeping, it felt like I’d been teaching all my life!
To date, I don’t think there is a type of human I have not taught yoga to! Working in hospitals and mental health centres as well as teaching “regular” students, bankers, politicians and celebrititues has made me aware of the breadth of humanity and the absolute inclusiveness of yoga. I have taught in London for twenty five years now, and also taught in Tokyo, Mexico, New York and Mumbai for periods of time.