Let’s start at the beginning because she has quite a story
How did you discover yoga and breathing?
I discovered the benefits of yoga as a teenager. I fell off my horse and injured my back. I saw numerous specialists, but nothing seemed to help. I decided to give yoga a try, and my back problem was a thing of the past. Would you believe it – I actually wanted to be a yoga teacher at 16. I decided that if it works me it must work for others. Although, I thought the spiritual side was way too daunting at that age so decided to finish my studies.
Then what did you decide to do?
After finishing my studies, I worked in event organisation, organising football matches for the UEFA Champions League. I loved my job and the travelling it involved, but I never abandoned my yoga practice. Then my husband’s career took us in a different direction on a trip around the globe. I quit my job, and decided that to survive expat life I had to do something I was really passionate about – so guess what? I decided to become a yoga teacher. By this time I had tried every yoga class I possibly could, but it was only when I took my first Ashtanga yoga class that I discovered the power of the breath – no other yoga class had focused on the breath in this way, and for me it was transformational.
How did you go about becoming a yoga teacher & therapist?
In 2003, we moved to the Philippines and everything fell into place. I took my first teacher training with Paul Dallaghan from Samahita retreat, and at that time was fortunate to also learn traditional yoga breathing (Pranayama) with Sri O.P. Tiwari from the Kaivalydham research center. I then went on to complete ryt 500 and 1100 hours at Samahita, and have continued to study Pranayama with Tiwari ever since. I did many other teacher trainings and courses, but one particularly wonderful teacher I studied with who deserves a mention is Dena Kingsberg. After a decade of teaching yoga, breath-work and pranayama I went back to study and became a C-IAYT certified yoga therapist.
Where did you go from there?
I am proud to be one of the co-founders of Yoga Manila which was a great experience. From Manila we continued our travels, and I continued teaching private and group lessons in Australia, Mexico and Japan, before settling in Switzerland in 2013. It was there that I co-founded Ashtanga Yoga Lausanne, and completed my yoga therapy training. I started to work in my own practice with private clients, and at the University Hospital of Lausanne. I found the breath to be the most powerful tool for healing.
So why breathheads, and why are you so interested in breathing?
We can can work therapeutically with the breath to improve our health, get out of our heads and slow down our busy thinking minds. Our thoughts and emotions can change our breathing – look what happens to the breath when you get a shock or are afraid. We can therefore use our breath work to influence our thoughts and emotions in a positive way. If that’s not interesting enough, I have watched people take their first real deep, slow breath and seen the look in their eyes – I can’t describe to you how amazing and fulfilling it is to watch and see the impact it can make.
Why is most of your work still online?
During the pandemic I embraced zoom, which has given me the opportunity to reconnect with students from around the world virtually, which has been wonderful. I am also really proud to be part of the faculty at The Yoga Therapy Institute, which is the one of the best yoga therapy trainings in the world! I love to travel between our home in Switzerland, our beach house in Portugal, visit my friends and family in other countries, and this offers me the possibility to do this.
There has never been a time where good breathing habits have been more important, and my purpose is to share that with you, your friends and colleagues, or your company. In short, I want to create a community of breathheads that discover the power of the breath and how transformational it is.
By the way, I have to mention I am also a really proud mum of 4 wonderful boys, and a black labrador called Duke!