MY TEACHERS AND MY LINEAGE
One’s lineage is a lens that allows us to reflect on what we have learnt through the practice with our teacher(s).
In the recent years I have become most known for supporting spiritual seekers to returning to Wholeness and flow with the Tao, the way of Life, by aligning our cyclical nature through the ancient wisdom practices of Qigong, Taichi, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga.
I have studied with and owe my knowledge to many teachers who have influenced how and what I teach and my personal approach to life in profound ways.
Spirituality and Inner Growth
Though I have never met Erich Schiffmann, his work through Freedom Yoga, and particularly an interview of him with one of his students, Dr Jim Dreaver, has and continues to deeply inspire and influence my work. Here is an exploration, and here a meditation inspired by this interview.
Women’s Health & Menstruality
Dr. Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and her work around Women’s Health through the life cycle, Yoni Shakti, eco-feminism as well as her magical approach to rest, Total Yoga Nidra empowered me to reconnect with my intuition and cyclical nature as a woman. Through her work I also discovered and am deepening my knowledge of menstruality, seasonality and how to best support women through the life cycle with Alexandra, Sjane and Sophie of the Red School.
Qigong & Self-cultivation (Yang Sheng)
My approach to teaching Qi Gong comes through influences great masters I have had the fortune to study with, who include Master Wu Zhong Xian: his books, trainings, retreats and lectures are centered around the self-cultivation through the Taoist arts of Qigong, symbolism and shamanism; Dr. Roger Jahnke, who founded IIQTC to train hundreds to support thousands to heal themselves for free through Qigong and TaiChiEasy. For Qigong forms and technique I am deeply indebted to the teachings of Master Huang Ping (Taiji Quan Wu style, Baguazhang) and Mario Santoni (Taijiquan Yang style, Lohan Qigong).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):
Through Qigong and seasonality, I reconnected with TCM, something I had known through my aunt, a Chinese Medicine Physician, since I was little but knew little of. Dr Sabine Wilm’s work around making Classical Chinese accessible and her translation of ancient gynecological texts have been invaluable for me. Dr. Heiner Fruehof’s work around TCM, his research around the holomap connecting the TCM philosophy with Taoist texts and practical aspects of life have been transformational for me.
MY APPROACH (THE LONG STORY):
Going back to the very beginning, early on my path as a practitioner in 2016, I had been fortunate to study Hatha Yoga with Sucharita and Mike Jenkins, and through Sucharita I found the most valuable words that would influence my approach to life – ‘Never follow a (single) teacher’. If and when one embraces the mind of a student, beginner’s mind, the teacher(s) appears – through the physical presence of a teacher, through situations, words, actions of others, or even oneself. And therefore as a student of yoga, one should never simply (blindly) follow a single teacher, but instead learn to teach oneself as within ourselves we have the capacity to reflect the entire cosmos.
Through Bo and Shirley Srey and Anusara Yoga I realised the importance and value of curiosity, playfulness, and community. Through their teachings I realised how approaching life with curiosity, wonder and play changes the nature of the practices and inspires sustainable growth. Bo made me realise I could ‘melt my heart’ and ‘playfully lift my left leg up to the sky’. I have also been deeply inspired by how inclusive and connected Anusara practices are, often involving partner work. This is important because as humans we cannot go at it alone. Being in a community, actively supporting and being supported is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life.
Studying Anatomy with Trish Corley sparked my interest in the human body and made me realise there is no one size fits all solution. As she said, we all have ‘our true north’ and this may vary from person to person. Listening and following the lessons of Paul and Suzee Grilley and reading Your Body Your Yoga by Bernie Clark would further cement the importance of honouring each individual’s unique anatomy and the importance of guiding others and myself to cultivate proprioception and interoception (this interview with Bernie you must not miss!)
The study of Yin Yoga and Meditation with Sebastian and Murielle was my first proper introduction towards Yoga as the path towards introspection and Svadhyaya (self-study). This later led me to Bernie’s teachings, particularly his teaching on Questioning one’s Intention and Paying Attention, which heavily influence the way I teach and lead my own life.
An recurrent injury led me to search for more therapeutic modalities of movement, which led me to study Qigong with Mimi Kuo-Deemer, Aqua Yoga with Francoise Freedman, founder of Birthlight Institute and later, the Empowerment through Interoception with Mimi’s teacher, Donna Farhi. Through experiencing the healing properties of water, I have been reminded that true guidance comes from within. We are truly microcosms within the macrocosm, and the nourishing nature of energy-based Qigong taught me the importance of moving with intention. Through these, I reaffirmed by belief that one’s practice should nourish both the body, mind and soul.
I have been fortunate to study Contact Improvisation under Vangelis Legakis, and practice the act of listening to and through one’s body and another’s. I am thankful for the teachings of Boy, Dewi, Dew and other members of the teaching faculty at ITM who have shared the beauty of Nuad Boran Thai Massage with me, which taught me that movement can be meditation, and made me realise the necessity and power of touch. These later led to my interest in Somatics, and the Somatic approach to Yoga, from the lineage of Somatic Yoga and Hanna Somatics as taught by Dr. Eleanor Criswell Hanna of the Novato Institute (this interview with Dr. Eleanor is gold), which has deeply influenced my current approach which is from within. Through my previous study of Kendo with Peter Sensei as an undergraduate during university, I was fortunate to learn of Tapas – austerity, discipline, or commitment to the rigor of practice in the body and mind, and this is a daily reminder of my commitment to continual growth and learning not just as a teacher but most importantly as a student of Life.
Though I am a teacher, this is my calling, my life’s work, my purpose, I am first and foremost, always, a student. I teach to practice what I have learnt.
With great honor and respect, in gratitude, I bow to my teachers, and the teacher within me – the Source itself.
With great honor and respect, I share the teachings based on the knowledge and wisdom of these teachers, their teachers, and the teachers of their teachers.