Hatha Yoga Teacher, CYF Dip 1998. BWY Dip 2003, BWY Pregnancy Cert 2004
Ann Simmonett – A Snapshot Of My Yogic Journey And Governing Concepts
Everyone has a story to tell – I have been fortunate to have ‘a glass half full’ for most of this incarnation, and this is my story…
I have had a passion for yoga since 1980 when at the age of 20 I began practicing at home from classical books. The fascination with all things yogic soon led me to various tutors where I settled into regular practice with the much revered yoga elders Pam & Gordon Smith of Faith House New Brighton, Wirral. They provided the firm foundation, values and grounding for what was to follow and I consequently began teaching yoga in 1996 at first voluntarily and then professionally in 1998 after completing the Comprehensive Yoga Fellowship Diploma (a Fellowship founded in part by Pam and Gordon Smith) .
By 2003 I had also completed a 3-year British Wheel of Yoga Diploma under the expert guidance of Richard Adamo. I will always recall one of the first things Richard advised: Not to just accept the ancient and modern yoga teachings and texts verbatim, or what he or any guru may say, but rather to really try to integrate as much of this ancient wisdom tradition into life so that there is an understanding, knowingness and truth in every cell of your being on a much deeper level. In order to adopt these ideas more fully, in 2004, after 24 enjoyable years working at the Land Registry, I decided that yoga had become more of a vocation in my life and so, with an absolute leap of faith, I decided to teach yoga for a living.
It has always struck me that, in the western world, there is often an out-of-kilter pre-occupation with making financial provisions for the future and old age at the cost of health and enjoyment of life whilst in the present. It’s my considered opinion that if proportionate investment is afforded to physical, emotional and mental well being, perhaps through an adjustment in approach and perception and gradually adopting the underpinning yoga principles, then the benefits will soon manifest. This encourages one to live a life that does not force or strain beyond the natural limits. As Pam & Gordon Smith say, “Helping to create harmonious relationships between every living thing, and guiding toward health and wholeness of being. The Yogi clear in heart and mind is attuned to the natural rhythms of life, with nothing to prove, their watchword is ‘ahimsa’ (non harm) and their guidance is directed towards developing the uniqueness that lies within each individual.” And they are both living proof of these concepts, and demonstrate unstinting energy and inspiration.
“Don’t follow the Guru, You are the Guru” is a yoga saying that reflects this approach to raising sensitivities, and developing Jnana and Vijnana (insight and wisdom) through yoga practice and letting that spill into life itself.
Over the years, I have trained extensively and undertaken continuous professional development courses with many specialist yoga tutors of various traditions and styles primarily in the UK, but also in India. I regularly attend yoga retreats hosted by Pam and Gordon where philosophy and yoga teachings, expounded by enlightened master Eugene Halliday, are brought to life at Tan y Garth Hall Meditation Centre in North Wales. And in 2004 I completed the BWY Pregnancy Module with Wendy Teasdill, and subsequently undertook additional training in holistic therapies allowing me to combine elements of each discipline within my yoga teaching, or vice versa, with very beneficial effects.
It’s at this point that I would like to acknowledge and give thanks for many other valued teachings gratefully received over the years from my friend and colleague Janet Irlam through the British Wheel of Yoga. In addition, I am grateful for the many In Service Training Days, Workshops and Intensives including those of Swami Shivapremanander, Deepak Chopra, Kausthub Desikachar, Maya Feinnes, Gill Edwards, Hein Bratt, Peter Blackerby, Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Simon Low to name but a few.
Many aspects of yoga pervade my focus in life – I am most passionate about the transformative and beneficial effects that yoga can bring to every level of being. I try to ensure that this is emphatically echoed in my work in the provision of sustainable, health giving and empowering yoga classes in the local community.
According to Swami Maheswaranander, “Social Health is one of the main goals of yoga – to nurture genuine contact and communication with other people, to assume responsibility within society and work for the community… Living ‘Yoga in Daily Life’ means to work for ourselves and for the benefit of others. To do valuable and constructive work for our neighbours and the community’.
Therefore by way Seva (or selfless service) I have spent time working as County Rep for the British Wheel of Yoga and as a Committee Member for the Comprehensive Yoga Fellowship, and for very many years raising thousands of pounds mainly for ‘Save The Children’ for whom I am a volunteer fund raiser. I have also organised several yoga holidays to the University of Cumbria in the Lake District for 40 people at a time, which have all been sell out successes – all profits from these events have been donated to Tan y Garth Hall and Meditation Centre.
I have also tutored several times for Merseyside Yoga Association, The Comprehensive Yoga Fellowship and represented the British Wheel of Yoga at the National Mind Body Spirit Exhibition at G Mew Manchester. And in 2003, after much demand from my students, I produced a relaxation CD entitled ‘Presence’, which I’m pleased to say has received excellent reviews in yoga circles.
Now, as I write this in October 2010, I am fulfilling a long term goal by opening this dedicated yoga and wellbeing centre for the Greater Good of All. I’m devoted to yoga and my students, and am honoured to be able to do this nurturing work, where I hope my passion for yoga is evident and shines through. I’m so excited and grateful that I will be joined by various other therapists and teachers at Yoga You Sanctuary, most notably Pam & Gordon Smith.
So, to all those kind souls who have assisted me in this project I send my sincere thanks especially to David, Shaun, dear parents Betty & Lenny, special friends Sandy & June, Pam & Gordon… words cannot express my depth of gratitude.
Comprehensive Yoga Fellowship Teaching Diploma 1998
British Wheel of Yoga (Governing Body for Yoga UK) General Teaching Diploma 2003
British Wheel of Yoga Module Certificate in Yoga for Pregnancy 2004
BWY Yoga Teaching Practice Observation Certificate 2005
Current First Aid Certificate
Public Liability Insured
City & Guilds 7303 Adult Teaching Certificate
4 x British School of Yoga Diplomas in Aromatherapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Hot Stone Therapy.
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