I first encountered Yoga at drama school a few years ago. After I graduated and starting working as an actress, I found I had something of a Goldilocks complex when it came to my practice. I was always trying different styles and disciplines, that is, until I walked into a Power Yoga class whilst on holiday in Sydney. When I returned to London, I discovered The Power Yoga Company just down the road and that sealed the deal. I loved it so much I decided to train as a teacher here in 2011.
How does teaching Yoga interweave with your work as an actress?
Practicing Power Yoga has been the ultimate stabiliser in what can be a very volatile vocation. The physical and emotional grounding it gives me are invaluable. But then, I’m sure that’s true for people of all trades. The acting world can be brutal at times, so it’s great to be part of something which embraces and nurtures.
I love teaching because I love seeing people explore their potential. Not some bronzed, pretzel-limbed Hollywood poster for potential, but what yoga really means for each individual. Somewhere within this process there are moments of true presence, and I find these moments the most precious of all, especially in a world obsessed with past and future.
Why did you start Yoga?
I had an incredible American movement teacher at drama school called Ed Clarke. He had crazy Willem Dafoe eyes and a body like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Yoga was that thing we had to do in movement classes before we were allowed to act. Having never seen myself as a particularly physically gifted person (always last to be picked for the school sports team) I dreaded it! But then, somewhere along the line I discovered the golden ticket: Pranayama. It was the breath of Yoga that really made things click for me. It helped me connect with my body and start playing with the idea of a moving meditation.
What is your favourite pose and why?
I love Halasana – Plough pose. Maybe it’s the relative privacy of it, or perhaps it’s because we’re so completely opposite to our upright adult selves in Plough. I’m also a sucker for hip-openers. Pigeons and frogs. And twists. I tend to gravitate towards backbends and twists before a performance. They give me energy and a feeling of openness. But perhaps our least favourite poses say more about us than our favourites? For example, I find Trikonasana- Triangle – a daily challenge. But I think I probably find my Yoga inside that Trikonasana.
What do you feel makes a good Yoga teacher?
I’ve met so many great teachers, all wildly different from each other. The Power Yoga Company has some of the best of them. I think a good teacher can lead you into your Yoga flow, but also recognises how enriching it is to challenge that and go back to the foundations of a pose. I also adore the way great teachers have that uncanny knack of saying just the right thing at the right time in your practice. For example, when you’re battling with your ego and need a mental shift to take you deeper. I often wish I had a notepad next to my mat to write them all down!
What other passions / hobbies to you have?
I get very excited about food. My favourite nights are spent cooking for the people I love. My prize possession is an enormous Californian juicer called Champion. It looks a bit like Darth Vader’s dog and is impossible to clean, but it makes the best juices. One of them and you’re set for the rest of the day. I’m also borderline obsessive about collecting and playing music. Blues, Funk, Reggae, 70’s rock, Classical. I think there’s so much richness to be found in music. However, music for yoga has different demands to the daily stuff. Since I started teaching I’ve had to re-tune my ears a bit. I heard a great piece in Itsu the other day and practically leaped on the manager so I could find its title and add it to a class playlist.