Years Practising/Teaching: 22/15
'There is a field beyond wrong doing and right doing; meet me there,’ Rumi. Oh hang on. Maybe ‘You have a right to be here, no less than the trees and the stars.’
I started practicing yoga when I was 16 with my mum and a friend from school in a little class in Hereford. I hated competitive team sports, I was utterly unsporty and ashamed of my body. Yoga classes offered a whole different world - I loved the warm, dimly lit room where my mat was my space, I didn’t have to talk to anyone and I could wear baggy trousers. Over the years I came to practice Ashtanga yoga and developed a daily practice. This has helped develop strength, confidence - and stubbornness.
I headed to India in 2007 to practice with Pattabhi Jois for the first time. Before getting on the plane I’d given up by job in political consultancy, accepted a yoga teaching job to start when I got back, and injured my back so I could barely walk. The trip ignited a commitment to daily practice: get up early, do your practice, then the rest of the day unfolds (– and go to bed early).
I remember my teacher encouraging a guy to do something strength related he had not suggested to me, I presumed because I was a woman. That was the best motivation in the world to enable me to do it.
Keep practicing (whether it’s yoga, a sitting practice, Sanskrit) little by little with commitment and open eyes – it’s amazing what can happen.
Ruth's yoga secret:
Breathe. One teacher used to say ‘breathing not correct’ when students were struggling. That often pops into my head, then effort drops away and the moment/pose manifests.
2015 Authorization, K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Instutute, Level Two: Full Intermediate Series
2010 MA Indian Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies, Distinction
2009 Richard Freeman 200 Hour Teaching Training
2008 Life Centre Education 200 Hour Teacher Training