In April 2017, I fulfilled a dream. In a shala with a breathtaking ocean view, I trained to become a ashtanga vinyasa yoga instructor with All Yoga Training in Thailand.
Before joining the Yoga Teacher Training, I’d read millions of blogs, watched videos, considered different courses, perused a huge number of websites, asked for recommendations from the yoga community in London. It felt overwhelming – there were so many options and I found it nearly impossible to decide what was right for me.
A yoga teacher training is a huge personal commitment and monetary investment. How to choose among all the options? Reading All Yoga Thailand blog on how to select the right course set me on the right path.
With a background in gymnastics and dance, my yoga practice had a very physical approach. Although before the course I’d only mainly practised vinyasa and hot yoga, I felt that the discipline behind the ashtanga training was exactly what I was looking for.
But what made me choose All Yoga Thailand? During my exploratory phase, I watched a video of Vari Morales leading a vinyasa class. I found his voice, charisma and teaching style immediately appealing.
And I made the leap. An ‘informed leap of faith’, as I like to call it. I spoke to the team at All Yoga over the phone, and a couple of months later I was on a flight from London to Bangkok and then on a boat to reach the beautiful island of Ko Pa Nghan where Vari was going to be my lead instructor. In the middle of the jungle, surrounded by like-minded people and inspiring teachers, I lived one of the most transformative experiences of my life.
Hours of training, incredibly detailed asana clinics where we would break down every single pose of the ashtanga primary series, lessons of yoga philosophy and anatomy. The training was intense and at times exhausting, but I left Ko Pha Ngan as a qualified yoga teacher.
I had originally joined the training to deepen my practice and I didn’t know if I would ever start teaching. But after the training I felt compelled to transmit what I learned. In one of our chats, Vari asked me: ‘You will teach, right?’. It wasn’t really a question – he knew I would.
I headed to Myanmar, where after the training I was planning to volunteer for PEN International – a charity which supports freedom of expression across the world. Yangon, Myanmar cultural capital, was like a slap in the face after the training on the serene Thai island. Scorching heat, traffic, colours, markets, smells, beautiful long skirts. I felt lost. But I approached the local yoga studio, Yangon Yoga House, and I found my community in Myanmar. I started to teach in two beautiful studios full of light. All the teachers were immensely welcoming – they lent me books on yin yoga, gave me advice on how to improve my teaching style and made me feel at home. In Myanmar.
Some of the teachers at Yangon Yoga House trained with All Yoga Thailand and the fact I learnt from the same instructors was an incredible pedigree for me.
From Yangon, travels and yoga brought me to Chiang Mai, where I trained at Wild Rose Yoga. After an afternoon vinyasa class, I stayed on and talked to the teacher. She knew Vari and All Yoga Thailand and it felt so inspiring to be part of the international yoga community. When I left the studio, the owner told me: ‘Come back any time, you have a home here’.
Yoga made me feel at home – over five thousand miles away from my hometown.
Traveling is finding new homes every day and in June, few days before my birthday, I landed in Bali. I practised at the Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive and discovered aerial and Acro Yoga.
My four months away from London felt like a continuous journey of discovery. I learnt the discipline of the hashtanga practice, the restorative power of yin yoga and the playfulness of aerial and acro.
The return to London was difficult – it would be hypocritical to say the opposite. But I continued my journey of discovery and self-discovery. I revisited my dance training and started to give yoga workshops to dancers and actors, focusing on the breath, its rhythm and creative power. There are so many yoga instructors in London, but I’ve identified my niche, my unique approach. Well, not unique! Edward Clark at Trispichore Yoga identified the connection between yoga and dance and his practice is very focused on a dynamic flow based on the beautiful relationship between breath and movement.
So much to learn! I feel I am only at the start of the journey…