A Yoga & Shiatsu practice in a beautiful part of Scotland
My Yoga and Shiatsu practice is in a peaceful rural retreat in Fife. It is easy to find – just five miles from Dundee City Centre and 12 miles from the Golf mecca St Andrews.
Originally I am from Brighton, a groovy town on the South Coast. In 2016, I relocated to Scotland to be closer to my roots – family and nature.
Life in Scotland has fulfilled my desire for self sufficiency – something I’ve dreamed about since I watched the TV sitcom The Good Life as a child. I peddle everywhere by bike, grow my own vegetables and get excited about compost and worms.
Yoga puts a smile on my face
I an hooked on the ALIVE feeling it gives me. Some people use the words Prana, Chi or Energy to describe this. That irreverent yogi Tom Waits calls it ‘That Feel’.
“There is one thing you can’t lose – and it’s ‘that feel’. Your shirt, your pants, your shoes – but not that feel,” he says.
Following ‘that feel’ is key to yoga practice. In my opinion, it is more subtle and rewarding than the ideals of precise alignment or being enslaved in a routine.
Explore the world inside and out with yoga
I have experimented with many styles since I began practising in 1998, including Ashtanga, Scaravelli, Kundalini and Raja Yoga. I’ve had great teachers from Italy, Germany and India – and travelled to those places too. Hopefully, the yoga adventure will never end.
Training focused on mindfulness & compassion
Finally, I chose a yoga teacher training with Jim Tarran at the Vajrasati School because it was rigorous, in-depth, high quality and focused heavily on the values that matter to me – compassion and mindfulness.
Many teacher training courses involve a rushed one month intensive course. I had the luxury of a two year study programme led by a teacher with 25 years’ experience. My training group had just 10 other people. We had weekly training days and homework, regular assessments and one-to-one tutorials. Jim was always available to answer questions about my own classes. Importantly, he made you think for yourself.
My training was transformative. I conquered my fear of talking to groups and began teaching in 2012. My 500 hour teaching certificate is accredited by Yoga Alliance, UK.
Today I teach a range of groups and abilities – including autistic adults and one-to-one sessions for people with disabilities. My goal is to be inclusive and to make people contented, confident and strong.
I first discovered Shiatsu in 2005 after breaking my knee in a hit-and-run accident. On the one hand it was gentle dreamy and soothing – it healed lingering aches and pains. It also got under my skin and woke me up to what was going on in my body and mind.
This sparked a fascination for Oriental approach to health. I was impressed by Shiatsu master Shizuto Masunaga‘s idea about sharing pain, establishing a ‘life echo’ with your client. Shiatsu is about making the patient aware of herself so she can get well on her own.
Shiatsu seemed a worthwhile thing to be doing in a world that is often painful and confusing. In 2009, I started a three-year training with Brighton Shiatsu College and went on to set up a weekly low cost clinic for Brighton’s charity and voluntary sector at Community Base as part of my training.
Wellbeing at work
Since then I have developed wellbeing at work programs for financial services firms Legal & General and Metlife in Brighton. In Scotland, I have worked at the James Hutton Institute and NHS Tayside. Many of my clients have disabilities and chronic health problems. I built up expertise at the Sussex MS Treatment Centre. I also work with adults with Asperger’s and Autism for the charity Assert and with mental health problems for the Dundee charity Art Angel.
A career in journalism
Journalism has funded my Yoga and Shiatsu habit. I am an experienced news reporter and have worked for national newspapers, international magazines and press agencies. My career began with the digital art site Culture 24 and took me to regional newspapers, the world’s oldest newspaper Lloyd’s List and the Daily Express. Four amazing years working in the Gulf, included a stint working for the Sultan of Oman teaching journalism workshops in the Arab Spring.
Pleasure in people
The chilled out Shiatsu and Yoga world is a million miles away from the pressured environment of a newsroom. But there is a common thread linking these worlds. It is the pleasure I get from the people I meet.