I never set off desiring to be a Yogi, but being around spiritual parents and adopting mindful approaches toward spirituality and life in general, I feel yoga in part, was already present in my life. It has always facilitated a space in which I felt safe, felt freedom and a resonance with coming home.
Until my early 20’s I was drawn to the physical benefits offered by yoga, but the spirituality, breathe work and meditation has been the real gift. At 22, I started studying and participating in teacher training because I was craving something beyond the rigour of the business degree I was completing. I wanted to understand who I was and where I fitted into the framework we call life.
Instead of waiting for the answers to come, I set off with a passport in my hand to try and find them. I filled my cup by travelling to Asia during work breaks. I studied with international yogis on their retreats and immersions. Filled up on life and yoga in Ubud, Koh Samui, Japan, Europe and the Middle East and tried every style of yoga I could.
I Fasted, Meditated, attended silent Vipassana retreats, did courses on yoga movement, body work, nutrition and broader health modalities. The yoga brushstroke is so broad. Yoga can mean many things too many practitioners, but I had to find how it sat for me.
I was quite traditional in both my training and thirst for knowledge, I sat at the feet of teachers that had also sat at the feet of gurus, so the knowledge was first or second hand and not diluted.
I completed numerous Level 1 and Level 2 YTT. Did extensive study on Pilates, ISP, PilatesReformer, Injury and Athlete Movement and Recovery Performance and then after awhile, Ashtanga yoga had the strongest calling for me. For the last 8 or so years; I have been practicing under guidance, Mysore intensives. This framework has offered me the greatest personal transformation.
So, Yoga has been like a buddy to you for a long time then? Can you imagine your life without it?
Yoga for me has been like a boat that I got on. I had no idea where I was sailing to, but I always knew I was going somewhere, and the direction felt right. Yoga has been about finding joy and happiness, a little more grace and ultimately understanding my mind. Yoga has helped give me these tools.
You’ve got a beautiful boy, you run a bunch of businesses, you’ve renovated houses, is Yoga part of your secret to living a kick ass life?
Ha Yes, Of course.
It took me a long time to work out what I wanted and then a lot of work to create a life that supported that. My Yoga practice and journey has been hard work, its ripped me open at times, brought things to the surface I didn’t want to see, challenged me physically to build strength. Humbled me. And always required me to turn up.
But something magical has happened in my journey, the more work I have done on myself and the more I surrendered, struggled, fell, transitioned, the more other areas of my life became easier and fell into place.
Building my own businesses has been one brick on top of the other. Lots of windy roads, but, has offered so many sweet successes. Working for myself and with clients that I feel aligned to, has allowed for me to maintain a daily practice, be present with my family and also offered the ability for me to give so much more of myself and my creativity.
Yoga has facilitated powerful tools to support the process of becoming a Mum and the transition and learning whilst raising my son, it’s helped me build strength, flexibility, vulnerability and deep connection.
I am very proud of my work, my life and my passion. Owning and operating two businesses and having a beautiful 2-year old son hasn’t happened overnight. I have worked so hard to design a life I am proud of and love. I hope to be able to continue to do this for years to come.
Let’s talk about one of your businesses, WANDERLuxe Yoga Retreats for a moment. Tell us about that.
When I was old enough to save my own money I started exploring this planet. By an early age, I had already spent a lot of time in SE Asia. By my mid-twenties I had lived in Japan and Bahrain. Travel not only offered freedom and discovery, it gave me the ability to step away and reflect on the changes I wanted to make when I returned home.
Stepping away from our every-day lives for even a short period of time (a week or even a few days) allows you to disconnect. You make space for the ability to reflect, immerse in yourself and redirect your energy and your action in a different way.
This gift of healing and self attention offered me potency in my personal life and my professional life, over time I naturally wanted to share this with others.
Initially I facilitated raw retreats in which students undertook 3-5 days of fasting and cleansing. I choose venues that supported that deep level of cleansing and I filled the role of the guide / teacher during that process, on and off the mat.
WANDERLuxe Yoga was born from partnering with venues in which I could offer my guests an incredible week.
We work through a functional and safe daily practice, explore the limbs of yoga, the sutras of Patanjali and learn Meditation and Pranayama practices.
This program is still something that no hotel can provide in its entirety. I’ve fine-tuned an incredible healing week and one that offers students tools they can lean on in their everyday lives.
We align with hotels and venues committed to a service standard that is second to none in location, nutritionally balanced cuisine, beverage offering and wellness treatments. We wander to a space that blends luxury and dream, We find the breath, we move the body and touch love. Find the still waters off the mind, unveiling the mask and we journey home.
You’ve taken a lot of people away under your guidance, is that something that happens easily, or are you glowing on the outside and raging under the skin, rocking back and forth in your villa at Night?
I have completed so many training courses and workshops and retreats as a student, so for me I wanted to piece together the best of those to give guests an incredible experience in my own tone and flavour. I always keep the number of students in line with what I can hold emotionally and physically and whilst commercially this isn’t the smartest move for me, I know my limits. And I want to be present and available with my students. I didn’t want to just bring students to a space and introduce them to a venue (that is the job of a travel agent) I want to be part of their journey / experience for a week and guide them through a program that they can incorporate at home.
As a teacher, it is a delicate thread. You want to support students through healing, movement and transformation but you also need to know when to give space. So throughout the weeks, I always balance the space and respond accordingly, not planned but feeling our way through it whilst in motion.
Can you give us some stories about the trips you’ve led, some favourite moments, and maybe some secrets even?
One thing is for sure, people never look the same after even just 6 nights / 7 days of sleeping well, eating well and doing 4 to 5 hours a day of breathing, mediating and supportive movement. Every student looks clearer, more rested and much calmer than on our meeting day. Perhaps their bodies have opened more than they knew or perhaps they found clarity around a situation. Whatever gift is offered during the week its one to celebrate. I wish I could give these gifts to everyone on this planet. A chance to jump off the Ferris wheel and find a window of space to simply be. To roll out the mat and simply begin. What-ever that looks like.
Have you got a wild location, a dream spot that you’d like to take a group to?
I have some beautiful spaces in Bali that are my home. In 2021 though, I would love to build out my domestic offering and have always dreamt of an experience at Lord Howe Island …. or even north Queensland, Hayman Island.
OK, let’s bring it back to home, like right back to home. We’re all in lockdown right now, has your Yoga supported you during this weird time in history?
I am blessed to have a daily practice and one that I can easily tap into with minimal equipment, a little space and a window of time. I roll out the mat early most mornings, beginning with a seated practice and then followed by my Asana practice. This sets me up for the day and supports my mind to stay focused. Taylah gets on the mat some days with me, we lay down and ground or move our bodies in little stretches. My practice encourages me to let go, to surrender.
I think all these tools are so valuable right now, when we are navigating a ‘new- norm’. Spending extended time at home and being extra patient to those around us. No matter what’s spinning or going on, Yoga represents the anchor. It reminds me that ultimately all we can control is our own energy, our own inner worlds, and accordingly our relationships.
Well, we’ve really enjoyed talking to you today, “the divine in us bows to the divine in you”; or, we could be less yoga nerdy and just say “Namaste”, or not be yoga nerdy at all and just say cheers? How would you prefer we finish this wonderful chat off?
With folded hands to heart I humbly bow to the practice, the teachers that seek the knowledge and hold the sacred space. Sending ripples off love to those near and far and to those that have kept company along the way.