After years of traveling and living abroad, I feel like I have lived many lives, and they have all lead me to this place right here.
A highly experienced Teacher, Mentor, and Women's Coach.
I was born and bred in Hamilton, New Zealand where I later graduated from Waikato University with a Social Sciences Degree, majoring in Psychology, supported with papers in Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, and Counselling. For as long as I can remember I was interested in people and culture, and had a deep but quiet desire to support people in recognising their potential.
Straight out of University I took a position as a respite care worker. Supporting at risk youth in a respite home, teaching them skills, protecting them, and inspiring them to live a less worrisome and more joy-filled life. I stepped into it naively, was faced with some harsh realities, and stepped away from it with a new level of awareness, new tools, and a desire to do more of that work.
The move to Hong Kong
Quite impulsively, 2 months before my 23rd birthday, I moved to Hong Kong. I will never forget that first night, jet lagged, and sitting up in the wee hours of the morning staring out of perhaps the 17th floor of Chung King Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon side. The flashing neon signs and constant hum of the city was a stark contrast to the sprawling green pastures and dinky little towns in New Zealand. I started out teaching English to people of all ages, and went on to lead the International Service for an NGO, counselling and delivering Drug Education programmes in International and Government funded schools.
During that time I found refuge in a regular yoga practice and classical Indian dancing. It brought internal balance to a rather hectic life. I felt inspired to fuse my love of yoga, experience teaching, and passion for working with people.
In 2007 I took the leap and completed my first 200 hr Teacher Training
in Hong Kong, in the method of Anusara Yoga with Patrick Creelman.
I loved the attention to detail and physical focus of an alignment based
practice. I was employed as a full-time yoga teacher by PURE Yoga,
and initiated by taking the classes that the more experienced teachers
no longer wanted, which meant taking on the dregs of Bikram classes.
I didn't enjoy the sequence or the repetition but I learned a lot.
That repetition, teaching 20 odd classes a week, helped me understand and communicate the intricacies of poses and the practice.
I had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest and most respected yoga teachers around the world. I was trained to teach Baptiste Power Yoga, Yin Yoga, Hot classes, Pre-Natal Yoga, even Acro Yoga. I taught on average 20 classes a week, literally thousands of classes over the four years I taught there.
It turned out that full-time yoga teachers were not immune to burn out. My life wasn't any less hectic as a Yoga Teacher. I was practicing Hot Flow Yoga vigorously and regularly alongside my already very heavy physical teaching schedule, and along side that worked out at the gym daily, either doing spinning, boxing or body pump. Not to mention my social life.
I crashed and burned.
That's when I discovered Ana Forrest and Forrest Yoga. I wasn't attracted to Ana when I first met her years prior but she crossed my path again. This time I was broken, physically and emotionally, and I was ready to make a change. Her teaching spoke to me.
I stepped into the Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training in 2010, which was a huge turning point for me. A huge nudge in the right direction. I became acutely aware of how I had been living a life, burning the candle at both ends. A pattern that had been woven into everything for longer than I could remember.
For the first time since embarking on my Yoga journey I was instructed to breathe and was supported in speaking my truth.
In 2011 I travelled to Houston, Texas to complete the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training (200 hr) and the year following engaged in a year long mentorship programme with Sinhee Yee in Seoul, Korea to become a fully certified Forrest Yoga Teacher.
It was a process I went into with the intention to become certified but it eventuated in meaning so much more than that. It was an experience that not only shifted the way I taught and communicated, it shifted the way I lived my life.
I moved to London and began teaching in some of the biggest and most reputable Yoga studios in the city, namely Triyoga and Indaba, to spread the magic of Forrest Yoga. I assisted Ana Forrest in workshops and Teacher Trainings around the world, mostly in Europe and taught workshops in Europe too. I laid the foundation for the Forrest Yoga community in London which expanded as I inspired my students to train and teach themselves.
Yoga and teaching was my life. I lived and breathed it.
I handed over the reins in 2017 as I stepped into mothering my first daughter, Anna. I had stepped into maternity leave with the intention of taking a year away from teaching but after 6 months I found myself sitting within a circle of women at The Yoga Shed in Hitchin, where I live, leading a yoga and written meditation workshop. Prior to that day, I had whispered to myself that I wanted to work with women.
Fast forward to the birth of my second baby girl Giorgia, 2 weeks into the first lockdown here in the UK, and this is really when motherhood ripped the rug from under my feet. The midwife walked in through our front door just in time to catch Giorgia as she arrived earth side, and walked out just as quickly. Leaving me to heal, look after a new born and manage a very emotional 2 year old who was now at home full time because of the pandemic.
The Turning Point
4 months in and I was struggling in a way I never had done. Full of guilt, anxious, and tired of being tired.
I got up at 5am to put Giorgia back into her cot after a feed and my legs went from underneath me. I crawled out of the room on my hands and knees. My back had relapsed. By morning time I was crouched on the living room floor simultaneously sobbing, pumping milk (that would later be poured into the sink after a heavy dose of painkillers), and talking my husband through the motions of getting Anna off to nursery school which was open for a short time. In my physical state I had no choice but to lay on my back for the days following.
Life always has a beautiful, yet sometimes shocking way of slowing the wheels in motion.
I prescribed myself early nights, and focused my attention on activities that fed my spirit. A good friend of mine created an interview series with women talking about their purpose in life. So, every night I tucked myself up in bed to watch an interview and then settled to sleep with a recorded Yoga Nidra session. Over those days, and weeks, I started to feel parts of myself wake up again.
Feeling my fire begin to light up again propelled me to sign up for a 3 month coaching programme called Courage to Create with my incredible friend Claudia Whitney. This offered me a space to feel seen, heard and acknowledged, and within that I started to heal feelings I had internalised. The programme also helped me clarify how I wanted to step back into the world, and my work, in the early stages of motherhood. I knew I wanted to continue my teaching. I also knew I wanted to further weave my counselling and mentoring experience into my work of supporting and coaching women and mothers.
That's where I came across the Mama Rising training and Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. I moved through a Redefine Programme with Amy, and completed the Mama Rising training two years in a row. Even though I stepped into the training rearing to work with others, in all honesty that first round of the training was for me. It took me on a journey towards more deeply understanding and being able to articulate the great shifts I experienced transitioning into and through motherhood. It also supported me in redefining my values in this season of my life which has been hugely enlightening.
It was through this second round of the training that everything landed, and I moved through a process of remembering. I gathered back the parts of myself that I used to know so well, and would meet regularly through daily rituals and practices which deviated for a time as I navigated this huge change in my life. Returning to my rituals and spiritual practices has given me new inspiration, and has reminded me that I have everything I need living inside of me to step towards my vision.
Fully equipped with the skills and fire to share this work with others, I am here to help other women find clarity, redefine their own values, and reconnect with their own spiritual practices.
I wasn't able to articulate it at the time, but the passage into motherhood hugely impacted my identity. It felt lonely and hard. It was a constant dance between following my intuition and then being influenced and pulled away from my centre. Without family around for support I was exhausted. I found it difficult really connecting to other mothers that I bumped into through baby groups. Within the endless conversations about feeding and sleeping, I craved deeper and more meaningful conversations with like-minded women. It felt like everything I had pinned my identity on was no longer a reality. I felt like I had been thrown in to the depths of a forest without a compass.
I began going to a postnatal pilates class locally where I could take Anna with me.
Some days I couldn't get a lot of the exercises in because Anna demanded a feed or a cuddle but it felt so good to connect with my body again, regain some strength in my core, and learn something new. These classes inspired my practice and also my teaching and from there, the way I taught began to evolve. I also began to feel a strength that I hadn't before. I felt more graceful in my movements somehow.
A little more formal
I am a psychology graduate, Accredited ICF Coach, Mentor, Senior Yoga Teacher and Mamma to two girls. I create spaces, through yoga and coaching, for women and mothers to reconnect with themselves, find clarity, and develop the practical skills to create daily rituals that support and inspire them.
1:1 Coaching Sessions.
1:1 Yoga Sessions.
1:1 Yoga and Coaching sessions.
Move. Nourish. Rise. Yoga and Group Coaching Programmes for Mothers,
and Women's Circles.
My life experience and spiritual practices guide my knowledgeable and intuitive approach to working with women.
Training Programmes and Qualifications
365 Days of Morning Meditations with Marianne Williamson on A Course In Miracles
12 month Mama Rising Coaching Programme with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz -ICF Accredited Coach
12 month Mama Rising Coaching Programme with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz -Mama Rising Facilitator
Redefine 8 week Coaching programme with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
Courage to Create 3 month Coaching Programme with Claudia Whitney
Your Core Matters 6 week Pelvic Floor Course with Centred Mum Pilates
Chakra Yoga and Psychotherapy with Anodea Judith
Forrest Yoga 12 month Mentorship Programme with Shinhee Yee
Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training with Ana Forrest/200 Hours
Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training with Ana Forrest/90 Hours
Acro-Yoga Teacher Training with Jason Nemer/40 Hours
Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Sarah Avant Stover/40 Hours
Anusara Seat of the Teacher Training with Patrick Creelman/ 40 Hours
Anusara Yoga Teacher Training with Patrick Creelman/200 Hours
Bachelor of Social Sciences, Major in Psychology with Waikato University