My Yoga Experience
I have been practicing yoga for over 28 years. Since 2003, I have been teaching many weekly public & private yoga classes, in numerous West London locations. In recent years I decided to reduce my public teaching schedule to focus more on running my overseas yoga retreats & one day & weekend workshops. However I still teach my long running community classes in Portobello Road in Notting Hill, & I continue to teach once a week at The Lifecentre, Notting Hill & at the Porchester Centre in Queensway.
Mostly I teach clients privately in their West London homes or workplaces, notably in Notting Hill, Kensington, Holland Park, Shepherds Bush, Bayswater, Chelsea, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Hammersmith, Fulham, Belgravia & Chiswick.
For the past 10 years, my husband Dominic & I have been running several overseas yoga retreats each year. I take the greatest care in finding the locations for our retreats. I always look for beautiful ‘off the beaten track’ locations, genuinely warm hospitality, a pleasant climate & excellent food.
We have always been blessed by the wonderful people that have joined us on our retreats, each group creating their own unique alchemy. These yoga breaks around the world have become a fantastic, extended opportunity to explore yoga with others, both on & off the mat & watch our extended family of yogis grow & forming lifelong friendships & a supportive community.
My oldest student started practicing yoga with me in his mid 80’s – so it’s really never too late to start!
My adaptable non dogmatic yoga style has meant that my students do not come from any particular demographic. They come from all backgrounds, ages & abilities. Over the many years that I’ve been teaching, my yoga classes have included teenage & family groups, ‘forever forties’, pregnant women, corporate clients & work colleagues & those requiring a more restorative & gentle yoga practice at any time in their lives.
I originally qualified to teach yoga with The LifeCentre in West London (later to be rebranded as Yogacampus). This 18 month, 200hr course gave me a broad canvas upon which to paint my interpretation of yoga. I highly recommend it to any of my students interested in training to teach yoga.
I am the mother of five, now grown up children & a one-time, long-term sufferer of chronic back pain. These personal experiences of pregnancy & childbirth & looking after a young family while managing chronic pain gave me plenty of opportunity to develop my yoga practice both on & off my yoga mat.
Through them, I certainly now feel qualified to appreciate & understand how to adapt my yoga teaching for pregnancy, postpartum, for times of sickness & times of good health. Through yoga I managed to help heal my own back problems & improve & maintain my mental state of health.
My Teaching Style
I don’t think there is a name or particular style that describes my yoga teaching, no two yoga classes are ever quite the same. I often prefer to teach yoga spontaneously, rather than impose a set-in-stone class plan on my students. A bit like a birth plan, we teachers have to be prepared to tear it up & cater to what’s in front of us on the mats!
Sometimes in my yoga classes I may teach a more free form, flowing movement led yoga linking yoga poses to the breath. Other yoga classes are more restorative, yin based or gentle & meditative. In all my yoga classes it is my intention to create a safe space for students to find their own path towards inner stillness & self-knowledge. To take stewardship of their own wellbeing & good health.
I continue to study yoga with some of the leading international & UK based Yoga teachers from Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, Structural Yoga Therapy, Yin, Restorative & Mindfulness backgrounds
I now have well in excess of 500 hours of formal training under my belt in many different forms of yoga. However the lion’s share of the credit for my professional development goes to the wide variety of students that I have had the pleasure to teach & do my best to help over the years.
On the job training is second to none.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity that I have had to learn alongside my students & share my yoga journey with them.
You know that feeling – when you just don’t want to leave!
I am happy to teach private yoga retreats for family groups and friends
Not all classrooms have four walls
How I hope I can help you
I believe my life experiences have helped me to nurture & encourage my students with patience, empathy & sensitivity. Many years ago I spent months assisting & covering for the wonderful Louise Grimes in her ‘Yoga Gently’ classes at The Life Centre in Notting Hill. Gentle yoga, restorative & yin yoga are definitey three styles of yoga that I have grown to love more & more over the years.
I have taught students with terminal illnesses, suffering depression, post traumatic stress & anxiety, & long term illnesses including ME, fibromyalgia, MS & Parkinsons. Mums both during & after their pregnancies. Dad’s to be when they are feeling stressed or exhausted! In doing so, I came to truly understand that yoga is for everyone at every stage in our lives. Whatever our state of health, whether we’re young or old, strong or weak, bendy or very definitely not – there is a style of yoga for all of us.
My yoga philosophy
By nature I dislike dogma. I hope in my yoga teaching that I can help people to realise that there is no right or wrong in yoga. As long as their yoga practice is safe & enjoyable, yoga should feel very free & liberating. For me yoga is not be about perfecting a complicated pose, obsessing about precision or how our body looks superficially in an asana. Frankly I prefer to leave that to the ‘ashtangees’ , the ‘Instagram yoga addicts’ & the gymnasts.
We can never cease to be amazed at what our own unique body can do when we treat it with patience & kindness at any stage in our lives.
Yoga is about remaining true to who we are, about learning humility, compassion & keeping our egos firmly to one side. It’s about creating balance in our lives. I always place a strong emphasis on the importance of our breath to cope with what life throws us (both on & off the yoga mat). To work in collaboration with ourselves & our bodies not in conflict. Heaven knows, there’s already enough conflict in the world, without bringing it into our own lives or yoga practice.
My classes are less about chanting & omming & more about finding a space to feel healthy, happy & safe. They’re about having fun, they’re occasionally challenging & always about not taking yoga, ourselves or life too seriously. Above all they’re about being a small part of the global community & all the many limbs of yoga.
I don’t consider myself to be a fully-fledged yoga teacher & I’m not sure I ever will be. I prefer to acknowledge that like my students I am also an apprentice of yoga & that I will never have learned everything there is to know in my lifetime. I am just happy to have the opportunity to share my uncomplicated interpretation of yoga with others & get to know some lovely like-minded people on the way.
Surely all of us are seeking inner, contentment, stillness & strength, moments to rest & digest, to be at peace with the world & with ourselves?
This to me is the essence of yoga in its simplest form & we don’t need to be wise old sages, international yoga gurus or have bendy, superhuman bodies to enjoy it.
Elisa and husband Dominic who co-hosts her yoga retreats