Since retiring as a ballet dancer and hanging up my pointe shoes, I’ve been teaching yoga full-time since 2002. In 2012 I set up my East London yoga studio, Yoga on the Lane. Back then, it was the first of its kind: small, boutique, family-run. Over the years it has become a Hackney institution where yoga practitioners of all stripes come together to connect, learn and grow together.
As well as teaching classes, we host a yoga teacher training program. Which along with everything else, has gone online for the foreseeable future. We’re running twenty-six classes a week from our website and it’s amazing how people have reacted.
My teaching style is very simple and my classes are quiet and meditative with no distractions. So, when I’m not teaching yoga, I seek colour, noise and play, and I try to weave art into my life whenever I can. During my downtime I would normally take my kids to galleries. My daughter is an incredible maker, at just five-years-old she blows my mind with her innovative style and appetite to keep creating. When anyone asks me what inspires my class, I always answer the same: my biggest teachers are my kids.
My morning routine at the moment (as we have more time) is to get up, make tea, I make the kids breakfast and then leave them with my partner whilst meditating. Having twenty-minutes uninterrupted first thing sets me up for the day. I sit with my thoughts, notice sounds, tune into my breath and then after twenty minutes I write a few things that came up for me. I’ve been finding it the perfect way to unstick any tension or stress and to start each day afresh.
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My husband and I always wait for the kids to go to bed before we eat. I adore this adult time. When I’m not teaching, we have long dinners, listen to music and drink natural wine. I always put my legs up against the wall (viparita karani) and do a little breathing, writing and then we both read in bed before we start the day all over again.
I’m obsessed with Max Richter’s score: Sleep. When the kids have gone down and David is cooking downstairs, I sneak up into my loft and I dance. I really feel this music so keenly and it makes me feel like I can still dance. It’s quite healing actually, and I love gathering ideas for a dance piece that I want to make one of these days soon.
My Mum is a fantastic knitter. For my birthday I received some tutoring and wool. I’m very much a beginner but loving having a go. My other new hobby is visible darning. Celia Pym, a thoughtful and talented maker came to YOTL to host a darning workshop pre-lockdown. I am so grateful for the timing of this. I’ve been mending my favourite socks, David’s slippers and blankets too.
My neighbour popped an incredible sourdough loaf on my doorstep in week 3 of lock down. It was the most wonderful gift to receive as not only was it the most delicious loaf of bread but it also inspired me to get baking. Rachel (@littleveggieeats) shared her starter and her fantastic baking tips and now my daily ritual is bread-making. I love it and it’s something I share with my kids who love the mess, the dough, the theatre of it.
Naomi's book, "Yoga : a Manual for Life" is the perfect way to keep your inner zen at home!