My Ashtanga journey began in 1993 when, in the traditional western manner, my partner Genevieve suggested I should go with her to a yoga class. I was very lucky our teacher was Gwendoline Hunt, an amazing woman who helped bring Ashtanga to New Zealand and taught around the world with John Scott, Lino Miele and others.
To begin with I found the practice daunting, and experienced my share of sore knees, tight backs and the fear of Marichyasana D. The practice remains a challenge to this day, but I better understand the wisdom that Guruji built into the Ashtanga practice; the gradual progression of asana that build strength and flexibility, ujjayi breathing to build energy and dristi to focus the mind.
Over the years I’ve tried other forms of yoga, but in 2007 came back to Ashtanga for good through Mike Berghan at Te Aro Yoga. In 2008 Genevieve and I travelled to Mysore and practised for a month under the guidance of Sri Pattahbi Jois (Guruji) and R Sharath Jois. Guruji told us to ‘be happy with our practice’, something I try and remember every day on the mat.
I’m grateful for the knowledge and guidance of many teachers including John Scott, Tim Miller, Peter Sanson and now Stewart at Mysore Wellington. I’m now starting another journey – learning to assist and support other students in their practice and share what I’ve learned with others.