Briefly tell us about what inspired you to pursue a Yoga Instructor role and eventually open up your own yoga studio?
I have always been interested in keeping my body as fit as possible and tried most exercise forms and fads of the 80’s. Later in my 20’s Pablo bought me a book about yoga as a birthday present and I started to practice and got very inspired. Since then, I have practiced yoga to not only keep myself physically fit but also to deal with the normal physical and mental stresses of working life. Later on in my 30’s, I chose to follow several yoga teacher training education programs and started to teach groups of friends to practice my teaching. My small group soon grew into a thriving yoga school with several groups, teaching two different styles of yoga, both the dynamic and the meditative.
I came into contact with yoga through my mother who started practicing when I was a teenager. I once picked up one of her books “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan” and decided to try it out. I was impressed, especially learning to stretch my back and learning the different breathing techniques that had an amazing effect on my state of mind. I didn’t keep it up, but I did show Inge the same book and I think she also tried it out later when I bought her another book as a birthday present: “The Book of Yoga –the complete step-by-step- guide”. She really got inspired and dived into it. I followed Inge’s yoga classes,too, when she started to teach, but only really got serious about yoga in my mid 40’s after having suffered a herniated disc and needing to do something about my deteriorating physical state… the usual ‘40-something-spare-tyre and-general-unfitness-caused-by-the-normal-sedentary-working-life’ syndrome. Then came the financial crisis in 2008. In retrospect a blessing in disguise since my ‘financial consultancy’ projects took a nose dive! Luckily I followed Inge’s advice to get out of that rat race. I decided to throw myself into a yoga teacher training intensive, to deepen my own practice, not really with the intention to teach but to deal with my physical ailments and find some equanimity in my mind. This was perhaps the best decision I have made so far. Now I also teach yoga. I have my own groups and have focused on teaching the dynamic styles of yoga (Power and Vinyasa Flow).
Since 2012, we have combined our yoga groups and have opened up our own yoga studio. Our studio is situated right in the middle of our ‘village’ central business district, so we are lucky to have a very central location. We rent out our yoga studio to other local yoga teachers who offer yoga for kids and other yoga styles that complement what we already offer.
What role did Waterford play in your career path choice?
The fact that we met as and became a couple in Waterford has had its obvious effects on our career paths choices thereafter. After all, whatever choices we did make, we made sure we made them in order to stay and grow together. The only most important role Waterford played in our career path choice was for both of us to go to South Africa to study in the 80’s smack in the middle of P.W.Botha’s Apartheid Regime! The experiences we had there, as well as the friendships we made (also ex-Waterfordians) have remained strong and inspiring. For us it is very important to keep our relationships with our yoga students as personal as possible to remain authentic. These values are what we experienced and took for granted in Waterford, an environment where you get to know each other intimately and intensely. It is after all the quality of one’s relationships with one’s self and with those close to us that determine how we affect our very own microcosms, and that multiples itself further outwards.
Do you have any fond memories of Waterford? Please share.
Man! They are too many to share here. We could even write a book about that! If we can pick but a few:
School assemblies when we would all sing the Swazi National Anthem together and on some special assemblies when we would also sing nkosi sikelel’ iafrika (original Version!) together.
Of course we had Sports Days and special events such as the fundraising 24 hour run and the 50 km walks. We loved sitting on the steps of the old (now destroyed) pavilion, looking out onto the playing fields, watching soccer and other sporting activities.
Swimming gala’s and rugby matches we had against visiting South Africans teams. I remember us walking hand in hand (mixed couples!) and kissing in full view of these white South Africans from an all-boys school showing them how it’s done in a normal ‘non-apartheid ‘ world! ;)
When Prince Charles paid a visit to Waterford in ’82; unfortunately, he left his young bride at home!
What advice would you have for aspiring students who want to be involved in Yoga and running a studio?
Practicing yoga is a way of living. If you are inspired by Yoga and you want to get deeper into it our advice would be to experience a yoga retreat and, if that really grabs you, you can always treat yourself to a teacher training intensive where you will get the opportunity to explore your own practice and learn to bring it across to others, learn to develop your very own personal ‘voice’. Of course you don’t necessarily have to end up teaching yoga, but if you do, it should emanate you’re your own personal practice and experience so that your teaching remains authentic and true to what you have to offer, not from some theoretical book that you might have learned by rote. To open and run a yoga studio is like any small business enterprise/service. One has to remain with both feet firmly planted on the ground and remain true to common business sense so that one may thrive and grow, yet maintaining the humanistic qualities that a yoga studio can engender within a community. Small is beautiful, less is more!