How did you get in to yoga?
I’ve been a sports person since early childhood. Growing up I was very used to workout and train in many different disciplines; such as swimming, tennis, running, mountain biking and windsurfing. However, a few years ago, I started to embrace movement in a complete different way experimenting with Ballet, Modern Dance, Salsa and Bollywood dance.I was looking for something deeper that allowed me to connect the mind and the body in different ways.Experiencing movement through dance brought me to Pilates in the first place. From there, I progressively delved into Yoga as a discipline to complement my pilates and dance practice.
Was there a moment when you realised that you wanted to pursue yoga seriously?
Eventually, I started getting very interested in how the body could move more intelligently and efficiently. Practicing Yoga became a very good way for me to be able to explore this with a different perspective from Pilates.
I am a Pilates instructor and one of the reasons why I fell in love this method since the very beginning was because I felt it suited my body very well. My body is naturally strong. Therefore, I enjoy how Pilates always pushes me to retrain my body, finding strength and endurance in challenging new ways. On top of that, Pilates can be very technical and I like technical stuff in general.
On the contrary, I always thought that flexibility was my weakness, just because I was strong. But as I got more and more committed to my yoga practice I realised that I no longer saw flexibility as a weakness, rather as a journey to explore new possibilities of my being. I think this shift really changed my relationship with Yoga and as a result my body became more open to explore the true benefits of Yoga, even beyond the mat and the physical practice.
How has yoga changed you?
It took me a while to understand how yoga could be beneficial to me. Honestly, at the beginning I found it frustrating. I wasn’t sure if that was a physical and mental challenge I wanted to pursue. It was a love-hate relationship for many years during which I was quitting my yoga practice for months, before I was ready to go back to it. I only started enjoying Yoga when I switched my mind towards my practice and started looking inwards, rather than towards my preconceived physical strengths and weaknesses,
I think Yoga is a very beautiful way of self-expression, like many other forms of exercise that require a mind-body connection,. The more you learn to trust your body and work within who you are, rather than what you think things should look like, the more you can engage on a beautiful relationship with your self and others.
What is your approach to teaching?
I try to encourage people to enjoy moving as who they are. We all start at different points; and some bodies are better at doing certain things than others. That’s the beauty of it. Because we all have different bodies, there’s always room for growth and improvement. Which also means that you never get bored, because you can always challenge yourself.
What advice would you give to people who are considering taking up yoga?
One of the main things Yoga taught me is the ability to achieve progress by learning how to let go. Putting too much effort into a particular posture or exercise won’t have much of a positive impact because basically you are locking the mind and the body.
Yoga is a very good way to embark on a journey of movement exploration. It’s a physical practice that challenges the mind, from a position of acceptance and letting go. It’s beautiful to see how much one can achieve when things are approached with an open mind. I would recommend people who are new to Yoga to approach their practice as a blank page. So that they can give themselves the opportunity to leave behind any preconceptions they may have about who they are. Also, of course, practice gently and mindfully. Yoga, as much as Pilates, gives you the opportunity to learn and know your body, don’t attempt to push it until you know for sure that your body is up to it.
Do you have a favourite yoga quote?
“Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.” B.K.S Iyengar
Is there anything outside your yoga that people should know?
Outside Yoga and Pilates, I work in communication and project management in Tech. I just moved to London a few months ago after living and working in Hong Kong and Beijing for 13 years. Dance, fitness, hiking, swimming, fashion, music, design, visual arts and culture define how I spend my spare time. These disciplines are more than just a hobby to me. They mean community and lifestyle because they give me the opportunity to enjoy myself as well as to meet like-minded individuals. I find inspiration in movement and in creativity. I like to make my own clothes and because I am passionate about dance I also design one-of-a-kind dance wear made from unique fabric scraps.