Practising yoga since the 70s! As a child I learned with my Mum from a book... Richard Hittleman’s Yoga For Health. Over the years, squirming around on the floor came naturally to me, I only had to see a yoga pose and I was in it. I usually sit on the floor in preference to a chair. As an antidote to the IT job I found myself in for 10 years, I practised Hatha yoga in Priddis, Kundalini yoga in Calgary, Multi-faceted Iyengar-influenced yoga in Bragg Creek... and began to build my Thai Massage practice.
Once I abandoned the corporate world for my own practice I began to feel more closely the fundamental link of Yoga and Thai Massage (Nuad Boran) - “Union” with “Ancient Healing Touch”...
Balance, Breath, Pressure, Release. Having a good treatment of Thai Massage is like “having yoga done to you”. I was fielding more and more questions from clients such as “what else can I do to support the effects of Thai Massage, ‘cause this is great!?” Yoga was often my first answer, but at that time there were only two other yoga teachers in the area. I decided to begin classes for my clients. They were very successful, I got so much positive feedback I was asked to take over the Priddis Community Yoga classes, increasing attendance by over 100% and adding a second weekly session. I hosted community classes in Redwood Meadows and a couple in Bragg Creek long before the delightful yoga studio opened its doors.
My yoga teaching studies at Yandara deepened the meditative aspect of my practice and formed the foundation for my departure to Thailand in 2010. The spiritual life in Chiang Mai seeped through me with the familiarity of home. I lived across a narrow street (soi) from a temple (wat) – the tiny bells on the upward-spiralling ornamentation at each peak and corner tinkled with magical voices. The temple dogs howled at the moon, the monks chanted and practiced instruments and I, one day, was so warmly welcomed into the midst of a funeral ceremony I unwittingly stumbled across. My experiences in Thailand have always, without fail, been inspiring and mind-expanding, so much to learn and do!
I practiced yoga on the top floor of a building opposite the south gate of the old city. It was all in Thai language. I understand breathe in/out, right/left and front/back, the rest consisted of my beady eyes absorbing each move or gesture the wiry Thai teacher made. I twisted and balanced on one leg like never before, gazing out at the setting sun’s golden rays reflected off the golden Chedi at Wat Doi Suthep atop the mountain just outside the city. What a beautiful way to end a day.
Magical Yoga. Union.
Out Of The Rut - From Canada to Chiang Mai and Beyond
I had a great practice of Thai Massage, Table Massage and Yoga in Bragg Creek, Priddis and Millarville. Life was good... except there were things that had to change, I had to pack up my existence here and move to Asia:
Over the past decade, having abandoned a comfortable life in the Alberta Foothills to live and work in Thailand, I took an abrupt detour to travel the world with my amazing partner Fantuzzi. I met Fantuzzi on Christmas Day 2010 in Chiang Mai (Thailand) as he walked toward me alongside of the building in which I was living. This fortuitous meeting lead not only to great adventures, learning and experiencing so much, but to opportunities to share my craft(s) in a few obscure places on this planet.
I had the privilege of being smuggled at night across military-patrolled borders beween Jerusalem and Bethlehem to teach yoga to an international group of women in Bethlehem. With great excitement I hustled from one small car to a large black SUV under cover of darkness, to emerge a few minutes later in the bright lights of a perfectly normal-looking fiteness centre with some very enthusiastic ladies awaiting me.
I taught in Dar El Salaam, Tanzania - for what I discovered to be a group of fairly intense Ashtanga practitioners and teachers. I was a little intimidated by that! I taught in Manilla, Phillipines, and in Munich, Germany, but my favourite experience must be the time I was asked to teach Thai Yoga Massage to a crowd of over 250 spilling out all sides of the great tent we over-filled at the fantastical Woodford Festival outside Brisbane, Australia.
In each of these places I also joined classes, studied, listened and learned. I got to plunge into Hot Yoga in Aspen, Colorado, Reggae Yoga at a class at the Bali Spirit Festival (in between managing a stage and performing myself), I've dropped in with Danny Paradise in several of his workshops - always full of fun and humour along with a lifetime's knowledge and insight. I discovered connections around the world to the place of my first Yoga Teacher Training - Yandara Yoga in Baja, California. I've rocked out to some brilliant drumming while in Downward Dog in a class in Munich, I've cruised through Sun Salutations on the Spanish Sierras and burnt my feet practicing on the beaches of Goa, India.
Coming home to the Foothills each and every year of my travels sustains and drains me. I would return to work twice as hard here as on the road. People in each place assumed I was on holiday when I went away! It was astoundingly varied, challenging, inspiring and glorious to travel. Eventually I burnt through all my reserves and came to a crashing halt. A couple of years later, as I was hoping the road to recovery was shortening, Covid came along to bring another "great pause". The silver lining for me was that my body needed another year of rest.
Now I've been home several years, the energy is returning and with luck, balance is regained. Now is the time. I can feel the energy bubble in me, the need to get out and share the things I love, what makes me happy, healthy, amazed, pleased, challenged, changed! Ten years on... I'm back to sharing in my rural community of the Foothills, hoping there are many roads yet to travel with new friends, old friends, passing friends and more.