Being a professional yoga teacher can be quite lonely and by 2012 I had already been teaching full time for a decade and the solitude was setting in. Mine had been a teaching journey that had taken me to Vancouver, Hong Kong and then London where I was running around teaching hundreds of people a week at half a dozen studios, but I was isolated, a bit rootless.
Setting up YOTL was an opportunity to create a hub that focused on the things that matter to me; people. I wanted to create a space where people could truly be seen and teachers could flourish teaching simple, clean, mindful and compassionate yoga. Right from the start it was collaborative: once we found a space we needed to get support from the community to write to change the use of the building. The locals were keen as Shacklewell Lane and particularly our corner of it had been a poorly lit hub for night-time activity, YOTL was to be a wholesome relief. We roped in friends and family to help us renovate what was a damp and falling apart hair salon; my father in law did the drawings and David worked ‘head to head’ with my Dad to knock down walls, re-joist floors, build stairs and a whole heap of other things. So many people we love had a paintbrush in their hands at some point or another, and the love they put into it is something that I feel throughout the space to this day.
But the real collaboration has been the one that’s emerged since we opened the doors: the great web of relationships that make the YOTL community the thing that it is: a place that fights against the loneliness. We’re vey lucky to have a team that all care so deeply about the work they do, about each other and about their students. And are even luckier to have such an amazing students among whom great friendship groups have formed, not least the incredible bond that’s emerged among the sixteen teacher trainees on the course. They’ve taught us as much as we’ve taught them.