Jos is a yoga teacher in London and contacted me earlier this year to be her photographer. After working with her twice now, (and soon to be a third time!!) I can confidently say that she is one of the loveliest people out there. I’ve worked with her privately in her home and publicly as she taught a group class. In both cases, you can really feel the energy of her teaching and of her practice. If you’re in London, particularly up in Crouch End, get to one of her classes! She also teaches pregnancy yoga, and I know a lot of my London mum-to-be’s would love her classes! She posts frequently about her classes on both her Facebook and her Instagram.
How did you get into yoga? :
I first got into yoga purely from a physical point of view. I was intrigued by why so many people practised yoga, and seem to stick to it for many years. The spiritual side of yoga also made me curious, but at first didn’t get it at all. Instead I loved the physical challenges yoga offered. I went through periods of attending classes regularly and periods when I went sporadically. When I was pregnant with my fist child, I went to yoga few times per week and I thinks something really shifted in my mindset than without me realising it. It made me feel calm and, I want to say in control – but it seems a wrong word to use. I just felt enormous trust that everything is going to be well, I felt very calm about birth and becoming a mum. I continued yoga with my new baby girl and for myself (when time allowed). Two years later I was pregnant with my second baby and and again attended the classes with the same teacher. I felt even more empowered and very happy.
What led you to want to become a teacher?:
When my son was nearly 1 years old, I suffered with anxiety. As a part of my recovery, working with my therapist, I realised I needed to take better care of myself. Self-care was the key to my recovery: a word I love communicating ever since and one that has such a deep meaning. I had to take care of myself so I could take care of others: my children. I had to give myself time and space to do so, so I started attending local yoga class twice per week, and soon 3 times per week. It wasn’t long before I felt I was starting to feel lighter in spirit, less mind chatter and more present. It was after about a year and feeling back to my old self, that I decided I would love to share this profound practise and its amazing benefits with others. I decided to enrol onto a year long teacher training with Yoga London, and the rest is, as they say, history!
What do you enjoy about teaching?:
I absolutely love everything about teaching! I love seeing each individual students progress, noticing those little ‘a-ha’ moments, watching students soft eyes and smiles after they rise up from Savasana. Seeing them get comfortable with their own self to feel all the happiness and sadness in equal measures. I feel massively honoured to be able to hold a safe space for them letting them evolve their own practise and yoga journey.
Where/when do you find space for yourself while spending time helping others?:
Whilst I was doing my yoga teacher training, I had a shoulder injury half way through . I had to let it heal. We were taught to practise what we aim to teach so we can really embody it, so when we teach it comes from the most authentic place. I remember feeling frustrated with myself and felt like I was letting myself down for not being able to practise asana ‘properly’. My teacher gently suggested to explore other limbs of yoga. Seated part, study, self reflection…
As a mum of two, it is very hard to carve out time just for my self. I like to think my practise is a good mix of all 8 limbs. Attending 1-2 classes per week, self practise other days, be it asana, self study and self reflection, seated practise. My favourite yoga is being with my children and not doing anything else but being with them whole, body and mind! Cooking is another love of mine, I easily get lost in it.
What aspects of yoga challenge you on or off the mat?:
I am a yoga teacher. That doesn’t mean I’m immune to stress that our busy life styles create. Most challenging thing for me is finding the balance between being on the go all the time and taking it easy. It’s such a fine balance. On the mat it’s the practise of ‘Sthira Sukham Asanam’ – finding strength and softness, steadiness and ease in equal measures in each pose. Finding balance on and off the mat!
What does yoga mean to you?:
I often find this question so hard to give an answer to. Yoga means a lot of different things. But for most part it means: union, community, equanimity, equality, LOVE.
What did you think about the photography? What was it like to work with me? :
I loved working with you Elle. You have such a gift! I have come across your profile on Instagram and loved the feel of your photos. Each photo felt as tho it was really speaking to me, telling me the story behind it. Of course I had a peep on your website too so finding out you are a yoga teacher and a photographer I was intrigued! I am not the one to pose for the photo, so finding out that you work/take photos around me teaching yoga, or having a little self practise really appealed to me. Not only you made me feel at ease being photographed, but I discovered I loved it too, lol!! I am already thinking about booking my third session with you 😉
Do you have any advice for any new teachers?:
Ohh I have so much advice to give, but I don’t. Each person has their own individual, unique journey, their own stories. Their own beautiful teaching style. But without sounding too wise (cos I’m not), my main bit of advise would be to teach from your heart. Teach from a place of authenticity, it’s going to resonate with your students. And have fun!