Hi Catherine, could you please tell us a few words about you, where you’re from and where you're now?
I grew up in the East End of London, and after leaving school I trained as a hairstylist. I travelled, had lots of holidays and was really into the rave scene, house music still being my favourite. I have three children (though all grown up now) and two of them have a daughter each of their own who I spend tons of time with and absolutely adore.
How and when did you discover yoga?
I got into yoga unintentionally. I was late getting to a dance class and a yoga class was my only option, so I thought why not. My first class was a Vinyasa full of fluid movement and graceful connection. My love of dance has always kept me moving so this was the perfect set up for me and the teacher Emma was great, she really got me, she was encouraging when I was holding back and grounded me kindly when I needed it most.
How and when did you realise you wanted to teach yoga?
I didn’t plan to be a yoga teacher. I went on a retreat in Ibiza after reaching a big crossroads in my life with umpteen life experiences running through me all at odds with each other. There was a life coach there who practised with us every morning. We did an exercise with her relating to cup half full/half empty and she said “why is it that you don’t teach yoga?” Not even would you like to, it’s the way she put it to me. Just kinda made me stop in my tracks and reflect. Through my working life with some lovely hair and make up brands I’d taught hair stuff, skin stuff, well-being, business stuff. I’d gained a qualification teaching aerobics and fitness classes although never followed that up with anything. Without really realising, I’d pretty much been teaching something for most of my life. My children came along, I was a working Mum and part of that a single Mum, I was teaching my children (and they teaching me) ...... I decided to do a 200 hour teacher training and explore. I gave up my job with a brand I’d not been enjoying and immersed myself fully in that first training.
For how long have you been teaching yoga?
I’ve now been teaching for almost 6 years
Where do you teach?
I teach in studios across London and host my own retreats.
How would you describe your classes? What type(s) of yoga do you teach?
My classes are graceful yet strong, fluid with careful attention to alignment in a non dogmatic way. I think of the inner body as being connected by lots of dots and linking those dots together through soft internal lines in all directions to create a balanced sensory experience that lights up the body and calms, focuses the mind. I teach Vinyasa Flow, Hatha. Restorative, Hot Yoga Flow and YogaPilates Fusion; Pre and Postnatal and Workshops.
What influences you?
I’m influenced by dance, drawing, colour, my children, my teachers and life stuff.
What is your spirit animal?
Spirit Animal - not really sure on this. Though when I’m not feeling myself I visualise a strong Greek goddess on top of a mountain with the world at her feet (strange visual) which is a vision I had during a very deep meditation a couple of years ago that comforted me and gave me balance and focus.
What's your favourite mantra?
My mantra is Be Present, Be Real, Be Me
What's your own yoga routine?
My personal practise looks something like this :- Every morning before even getting out of bed I stretch my arms and legs in the air, lengthening and bending, circling hands and feet, supine twist or two, forward fold as I sit round on my bed and peel up through my spine couple of times, stand up and side stretch a few times repeatedly, standing back bend and shake everything out. I have a mentor I see twice a month and attend his classes every week. I do a dharma class every week. I move and flow slowly linking shapes/postures together for 30 mins everyday and these sessions quite often inspire my class sequences.
How do you practice yoga off the mat?
I try to be present. do my best not to judge others, take a step back before reacting or making rash decisions. Constantly working on staying true to myself.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you in a yoga class and how did it impact your practice on and off the mat?
To draw on my life experiences when teaching and sharing. Those experiences sit deep, they’re what have nourished and steered me, they’re the lessons I’ve learned and decisions I’ve made and are what makes me - Me, the person on and off the mat.
Do you have any advice for a wannabe yogi(ni) who wishes to try yoga but doesn't know where to start?
Try out a mix of yoga classes, different studios and teachers and feel what resonates most.