I've been nomadic, philosophical and creative since childhood; over the decades, this path has ripened into one of holistic healing, deepening spiritual inquiry, reverence for nature, and conscious peaceful living and an intuitive path.
Yoga, cacao and meditation form my core daily practices, and my spirituality is rooted in Hawaiian, nature/based & shamanist traditions, alongside my long-term exploration of eastern and western philosophies: Zen and Taoist orientation resonate especially.
I studied western philosophy at uni in the mid-90s (and around the same time began a self-taught home yoga practice using only a book as my teacher.) After graduation I spent the rest of my 20s living a very nomadic life (resuming an early-childhood pattern!) living, working & travelling throughout Canada, the USA (New Mexico being a highlight), Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Spain. During this period, I became interested in Taoist, Zen and Buddhist philosophies, and taught English as a foreign language for 5 years. After returning to the UK, I gravitated back towards my childhood love of art and ended up working my way through another degree, in fine art.
I began a self-taught traditional Hatha Yoga practice back in 1995; from 2005-2015 I studied with Duncan Hulin, an excellent, authentic and deeply grounded teacher and yogi, and also a gifted shiatsu therapist whose treatments and yoga teaching proved hugely healing for me (on many levels) in a way nothing else in my life had been until that point. Duncan is the Founder & Director of the Devon School of Yoga, with whom I also trained as a teacher from 2011-13 (500hrs DSY Diploma). I actually began teaching yoga in 2012, 6 months into the course, and have been teaching ever since.
From 2009-15, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga became my main yoga practice. I was a serious, committed Ashtanga student for a time, with a daily practice alternating Primary & Second Series. I sought out American pioneers David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff and Doug Swenson as well as local teacher Andrea Durant. In late 2015 I travelled to Maui, Hawaii, for further study with Nancy Gilgoff, but I found myself instead drawn to more soft, nurturing, feminine approaches to yoga. I realised traditional Ashtanga was no longer for me and that, rather than seeking more external validation, my own experience and years of practice were all the authority and validation I needed for what I did, and what I shared. This was a powerful realisation for me about the importance of finding validation & power from within and not needing to justify ourselves & our choices to others.
Maui marked a major turning point in my life. It took me entirely by surprise, but I experienced profound soul retrieval and heart-opening alongside the awakening of more personal empowerment. Something deep in my soul connected strongly to the energy and beauty of this land; and so many magical unfoldings occurred there, not least of which was discovering Jennifer Lynn's hugely inspirational Wisdom Flow Yoga classes, with their combination of heart-oriented and nature-infused wisdom, Anusara alignments, joyful tantric philosophy and emotional healing (and delicious peanut butter cookies at the end!). Maui's rich yoga culture also presented me with a chance to explore the softness & nurturing of Yin and Restorative approaches to yoga, a much-needed counterbalance to the often very harsh, strict, driven qualities which can easily creep into Ashtanga.
On Maui, I also discovered a wonderful authentic lomilomi massage school/spa in the jungly hills above Makawao: this place became a magnet for me. The treatments I received were so deeply nurturing, and the spa's setting - complete with luxuriant Hawaiian medicinal plant gardens - so lush and beautiful, I couldn't get enough of the place. I took private tuition to learn the basics of this profoundly spiritual and healing form of massage. I had already been a professional Thai yoga massage therapist for a couple of years at that point (I did my main training with the Sunshine Network in a Lahu Hill Tribe village in the far north of Thailand at the end of 2014; in 2017 I did my advanced training with Hadadi School of Thai Massage in Portugal) and since Maui I've experimented with creating a Hawaiian-Thai fusion style of bodywork...It's my dream to return to Maui for more lomilomi training; in the meantime I have been studying many aspects of Hawaiian history, culture, spirituality and healing arts independently as well as taking online courses with Ho'omana Spa's training school on Ho'oponopono (often misrepresented & reduced to a mantra when in fact it is a whole practice of restoring balance between individuals, within groups and within oneself - a practice of restoring harmony.).
Post-Maui, my yoga practice & teaching has shifted away from particular styles & lineages and became more rooted in my own personal explorations...I spent the winter of 2016-17 teaching yoga & giving Thai-Hawaiian massages at a yoga retreat in Thailand and continuing to allow my yoga offerings to evolve alongside experimenting with fusion bodywork.
I'd been interested in shamanic spirituality for years, and in the wake of my heart-opening experiences on Maui, I felt the call of cacao, a heart-opening plant medicine. In 2017 I began to explore cacao more deeply and in spring 2018 I trained as a cacaoista (one who works shamanically with cacao as a plant spirit & medicine) on an intensive, deeply affecting & unexpectedly spiritually impactful retreat in Ibiza. I have been sharing cacao in ceremonies in Devon ever since. (More info here) Cacao has proved to be a powerful teacher plant for me and a profoundly healing, spiritual gateway. I love holding sacred space and sharing this beautiful heart medicine in these women's circles: it is a renewed delight every time!
I also love to weave together my heart-connections with workshops combining Hawaiian wisdom, heart-opening yoga, cacao medicine and deeply nurturing relaxing nidras & meditations.