What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
My first experience of yoga was an Ashtanga class at my local gym in 1997. I loved the physical practice of yoga but it wasn’t until 1999 when I met my teacher Sasha Markovic that yoga became part of my everyday life.
What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
I wanted to learn more about yoga so it seemed the best way was to train to be a teacher. It’s hard with 3 children to find time to be able to study but my husband found a flyer promoting a teacher training course happening in Fulham so I applied as it was right on my doorstep and seemed meant to be.
What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
Be Kind and Compassionate. You are your best teacher. Learn to know what it feels like to be in your body, to be aware and to accept and not judge. I know through my various injuries over the years that my physical body feels different every time I get onto my mat and that I can’t compare myself to others or to how I was the day before.
I try to bring that into my classes. To make yoga to accessible to everyone but to allow people to be responsible and to practice in a way that is safe for them.
What does your own self-practice involve?
My self practice is really dependent on time and how I am feeling that day. some days my practice is very restorative and I lie on my back and the whole practice will be on my back with a long savasana or maybe for a treat a Yoga Nidra with Rod Stryker. Other days if I feel full of energy I play around with my vinyasa flow (based around sun salutations) to open up the areas that feel like they need opening and to practice what I want to teach. I will then do some seated pranayama. My new years resolution was to make sure I had time for a daily meditation practice, which I find hard to do at home with all the distractions and noises around me!
If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
Again this depends on how I am feeling. For a more restorative 10min practice I would lie on my back and take a supine twist, figure of 4 (to open up my hips), supine gomukhasana legs, extended big toe pose (to stretch out my hamstrings), keeping my knees bent I would windscreen wiper my knees to one side and then the other, hug knees into chest and come onto all fours. Cat/Cow. Sunbird (to strengthen lower back and transverse abdominals) Downdog, lunge on both sides with a side bend over to side of the front foot (opening hip flexors), child’s pose (stretching to the left and then over to the right (to open up Quadratus Lumborum). I might then take a dynamic bridge and a supine baddakonasana then savasana.
Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
That is the hardest question to answer as I have studied with many amazing teachers through YogaCampus and I write pages and pages of notes whenever I am on courses. Every day I pick up one of my notebooks and re-read some of my notes and am inspired again to teach the things I have learnt. I have a love of anatomy so probably Doug Keller or Julie Gudmestaad inspire me to be to teach healing sequences to help prevent injuries and heal injuries.
However my daily inspiration is Zephyr Wildman who has been my teacher over the last 6 years. She has had a strong influence on the way I teach. Zephyr has a wealth of knowledge, teaches in a fun and loving way that make her classes accessible to everyone and she humbles me with her life experiences and how she deals with life.
What role does yoga play in the way you live?
Yoga is very empowering. It makes you realise that you have the power to change how your react to things. You can choose the path of suffering or that of happiness. It is that awareness that you have a choice in life. I try to pass this onto my children and I hope it makes me a better mum.
My yoga helps me be more patient. To slow down and not always push for results. I think this opens ourselves up to new possibilities and allows things to develop. Sometimes by relaxing and slowing down I can see a new or different perspective on things.
What do you hope your students to experience when they practice with you?
Depends on what class they are taking. For my Yoga for those living with Cancer I would like them to experience a safe haven to come and practice yoga. When we are anxious are sympathetic nervous system is dominant and the breath is typically shorter and more shallow. In the class we use the breath to soothe the nervous system and induce the relaxation response. I hope that they will experience a greater emotional and physical well being.
Describe the meaning of yoga in 10 words or less.
Yoga is the process of making the unconscious, conscious.
Vicky Teaches a Yoga affected with cancer class on Mondays at 15.30–16.45 and a Vinyasa yoga class on Tuesdays at 9.00–10.15 at our Notting Hill Centre.
View Vicky’s teaching schedule.
Read more about Yoga for Those Affected by Cancer.