In 2004, at the top of Ben Nevis as the sun was setting, I realised there was more to life than my job in financial services in the City. I was in the midst of my quarter life crisis. I wanted to commit to something ‘real’; a more caring and nurturing profession. So I began to set plans in motion – which took a while! – to move to the third sector, working with charities, social enterprises and local community groups. Via an amazing year travelling around South and Central America and a lot of volunteering back in London, I have since worked with a variety of organisations: from project management at Bright One, a volunteer led and run communications agency, to communications at Lumos, JK Rowling’s children’s charity, to managing the media and PR for the launch of the Brixton Pound, a Transition Towns initiative which encourages people to care about their local community, and for the Urban Green Fair in Brixton’s Brockwell Park and the London Green Fair in Regent’s Park, exploring the green heart of London.
I have been practising yoga since 1999, leading me into deeper studies with different forms of yoga over the years. In the beginning, I was not making time to practicing regularly, and when attending classes struggled to be focused – my head was all over the place! I remember how frustrated I felt at the end of one particular class, laying in shavasana being told by the teacher to clear my mind, without the tools to do so – “How the %*@# am I supposed to clear my mind?” is what I kept thinking, over and over again. Despite my frustration, whatever other commitments and pressures in my life, I kept going back to yoga, finding new classes and teachers to learn from and be inspired by (sometimes, not always!), as some part of me knew it was what I needed in my life.
In 2010 the pull of India finally became too much, and I made my first month-long yoga trip to India in January 2011. It has since become an annual, multidimensional journey of inspiration and learning – having so far visited the regions of Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for learning and sharing yoga and meditation. Committing to this new direction for work and life, I qualified as a yoga teacher in 2013 and a master of meditation in 2014, graduating from the SriMa International School of Transformational Yoga in Pondicherry, under the direct guidance of Sri Swami Vidyanand. I have continued to explore the science of Transformational Yoga with Swami Vidyanand and other masters in New Delhi, Auroville and Pondicherry, and have been sharing my experiences and learnings with students and teachers in the United Kingdom and across the world. I currently lead retreats, workshops and trainings in the UK and abroad, and am truly inspired, among many others, by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
I began teaching by offering Transformational Yoga classes in my shared house in Brixton, then in a bike shop up the road – with bikes, tools, murals, grease, a cat, a parrot and two iguanas accompanying us in our practice! I love finding unusual places for yoga; creating a multi-use space; invigorating the space as we invigorate ourselves.
I tailor each practice for different students and clients using a variety of techniques – encompassing physical postures (asanas), breathing practices (pranayama) and dhyana (mantra meditation), as well as meditation and deep relaxation (yoga nidra) – drawing on, or combining, different systems – including Hatha, Restorative, Scaravelli, Sivananda, Transformational, Vinyasa, Yin, and Yoga for Anxiety and Depression. I teach from the heart, and have been told my teaching style is warm and friendly. I blend traditional teachings with a contemporary approach relevant to the world we live in, helping you to let go of outside pressures and connect with your true self to find strength, focus and inner peace.
Applying an integral approach to both my yoga teaching and personal practice – connecting body, breath, heart, mind and soul – has brought an awareness and inner stillness I didn’t believe was possible before. Not only am I more focused and calm (and taller, with better posture!) now, I feel I am able to be more kind and loving – to myself, and to others. I love being in this space of teacher and eternal student, and hope we can share the magic of yoga too.
Katy is a yoga and meditation teacher (500 level), UK director for SriMa International School of Transformational Yoga. She is also a Reiki level 1 practitioner, a qualified swimming teacher, has gained a professional qualification in Tantra Massage with John Hawken and The Paths of Transformation and works with Gayatri Beegan with Tantra Massage Training.
Katy helps me to feel open, calm and focused with her inclusive, supportive and receptive teaching style. During her yoga classes I feel present, but I also go on a journey to deeper awareness which is amazing! She uses her deep spiritual understanding and yoga knowledge to connect you with you for the precious time that you are in the class, but more importantly her guidance stays with you long afterwards. Since taking Katy’s classes my mind is clear, my body is flexible and strong, and I have an awareness of my self and others that I didn’t think was possible. Her classes are the highlight of my week, but even more they have become part of my life. – Claire