Yoga Interview, Geneva, Switzerland
Jennie was the first person who accepted my request for yogis to model for me in Geneva, she didn't had much time to spare but we did get the most out of it, do read her answers to my questions, so many places to relate and be inspired by her path and beautiful yoga!
Q: How did you find out about yoga?
Yoga kept coming into my life.
I remember a distant fascination with it, a friend’s mum taught yoga in the UK and it seemed so exotic and mysterious.
I think my first session was at secondary school, a taster lesson. I remember thinking what bliss to have a section at the end to just lie there (Savasana). It felt so rare to be allowed to just lie on your back, and be, and not have anything asked of you…
When I spent a year abroad in Rome, I sought out a yoga class. My Italian was not great at that point so I didn’t understand much of what was going on. In retrospect I think it was Kundalini, and I would come out of session almost unable to walk! But there was an element of philosophy and life perspective at the end which I understood and enjoyed.
And so it goes on, fits and bursts of random yoga experiences with stretches of regularity. I remember doing Nadi Shodani before exams in my final year of uni at Leeds, learnt from a small Indian man who would teach in a hotel chain on Tuesday evenings. A couple of friends knew about him. I discovered the fun of “roaring lions” there!
It was when I was living in London that I found a teacher that I enjoyed particularly, and that my previous yoga experiences started coming together for me… I started incorporating yoga further into my life and feeling more fully the possible depth of self, as well as a profound effect on my wellbeing. And lots of fun too! Handstands and arms balances were a revelation! Yoga was fundamental presence in a particularly difficult and transformative stage in my life.
Q: How long have you been practising yoga?
First contact was about 18 years ago, and more present in my life for the last 10 years.
Q: Why did you decide to start teaching yoga?
I trained in an alternative therapy for about 4 years, which taught me some magical things about the body and its natural intelligence.
I am fascinated by the body’s natural capacity to heal given the right time, space and circumstances. Yoga has the capacity to create these circumstances, and has useful tools for closing down the chatter of the mind in order to let an individual be and connect with the deep and authentic essence of their self. I decided that Yoga was a better vessel for teaching and sharing access to body intelligence, because it relies so strongly on each yogi or yogini’s active participation.
In general, I have been learning it is beneficial to be able switch off our mind when necessary, so that when we need its rationale, judgment, perception, planning capacity, capacity to visualize and structure projects etc, that we can switch it back on an be fully effective. It’s about choosing when to use the mind as the tool that it is, rather than letting the mind dictate all.
Everyone, who wants to, can benefit from this! In a time when information is moving faster and faster, and it seems more and more is demanded of us with shorter deadlines, many don’t take the time to process this information and these busy daily experiences. I reckon yoga in its philosophy and practice can bring about great healing by teaching us how to take time aside and by implementing simple lessons, with breathing and focus for example. The playful and light-hearted fun aspect is another useful tool which I enjoy using and sharing.
Teaching is a way to share the experience if Yoga with whoever fancies it. I also think that everyone can find their “yoga”, and to some this may mean throwing themselves into cooking, or going for walks, or finding release in their sport.
Q: Where did you study teaching yoga?
I studied with Yogalife, in Nyon, Switzerland with Sanjeev Bhanot and Anne MacNabb.
Q: how long have you been teaching?
I created a Relaxation class in 2012 loosely based on Yoga which I did leading up to and during my TTC this year. Since getting my diploma, I have been teaching regularly.
Q: Was there anything that was hard for you with your own personal practice? How did you overcome it?
The discipline of personal practice is a subject I find challenging. I enjoy attending regular classes and being guided. I enjoy my moments of meditation. Having experienced excessive discipline, I am in a phase where I am resistant to it. So I would say that I have overcome the gap between what I do and what I feel I should do, by having faith that my practice is right for me now. And that when the time feels right, I will make the necessary changes.
Q: Personal motto?
I have several…!
Stay curious, keep learning with a broad and open mind.
Be generous and creative in your teaching.
Let yourself stop, be still and breathe in the present.
Find ways and means to bring yourself into the present, the now, as often as possible.
Q: how did yoga improve your life?
Yoga in asana practice has allowed me to assimilate qualities, for example finding balance between strength & softness, anchoring & space, determination & playfulness all in one posture. It also reminds me that while the flow of life is in continuous movement, that I am allowed to take time to stop and contemplate. Yoga is the breath of fresh air that teaches me that I am free to just be.