‘Use all your power to free the senses from attachment and aversion alike,
and live in the wisdom of the self’ -Bhagavad Gita
How Yoga happened..
It's a common story... often we have to crash before we actually stop to think about how our habits and lifestyles affect our health and well being... Not knowing where she might fit in the world Leanne followed her heart, developed an array of both useful (and not so useful skills) and made many travels before discovering Yoga. After school she first spent years studying Fashion, then her passion for Spain paired with her love of horses and spirit for nature and adventure led her deep into Spain's heartland where some real life- changing adventures began! Always valuing her freedom and flexibility, Leanne came to work in the hospitality industry both here and abroad before she made the move to London after meeting a boy at a festival! That didn't work out, and in the beginning Leanne felt lost in the city but after leaving time to time for adventures, only to return again London became her home. Years later the unsociable hours and stressful environment of the restaurant meant that life had become dull and aches and fatigue were a daily battle. This is where the Yoga arrived; desperate for a body that didn't hurt she tried a little yoga and the result was miraculous! Who would have thought a little stretching could make so many changes ! Almost overnight her body felt lighter and stronger, and she was happier somehow, she wanted more...
Riding Africa, Sierra de Gredos, Avila, Spain
Leanne's home, Plymouth, Devon.
Becoming a yogi...
Yoga began as an almost obsessive Ashtanga practise in her parent's home in Plymouth, where there was only space in the bedroom for a bed and a yoga mat! Of course it was an exciting new discovery that felt amazing, she loved the thrill and the challenge, but it was not too long before she realised she needed to research and investigate what she was doing on that mat as things started to arise... sore this, sore that....
Then came a period of obsessive study, Leanne is not someone to do things by halves, and Ashtanga became a huge part of her life, perhaps it was taking over her life... Through the years she fell in and out of love with Ashtanga, they tested each other over and over, split up, then they came to a mutual agreement and everything changed. She says the practise still naturally waxes and wanes, and changes with her own growth and wisdom. Now, the early haste and zeal has disappeared and she is enjoying a wiser, more respectful approach to the yoga and her relationship with it.
She says when you slow down, you notice more, and that is essentially one of the greatest teachings, paying attention. To become aware is to observe and seek calm amongst the tides of the ups and downs of emotion, reaction and the outside world, instead of blindly being ruled by them. It is self control in the present moment. Yoga made a positive impact on her daily life as she gently slipped into the ways of living like a yogi and not just doing the yoga on the mat. Friends remark how she is like a different person to before. She says it is because yoga is a combination of health and purpose and that creates inner peace.... Taking better care of her time, her body and her world she was able to manage energy and emotions better, with more grace. She says her perspective on life is always new and exciting, for after thirty years of never really knowing what she was doing, despite having many interests and skills, she finally has something that she fully believes in and that thing is a passion, a lifestyle, a teaching, a purpose, a universal way of helping others and the world around her, and it is so vast that studying it is endless, inexhaustible! In the words of one of her favourite teachers 'Yoga is like waking up when you didn't realise you were asleep'.
Self Portrait in oils
One of Leanne's favourite places, Cawsands, Cornwall
The yoga city..
Leanne is not a city girl at heart, and certainly nomad- like, but has settled in a neighbourhood of North London where she has built solid relationships with studios and developed a loyal student following and feels a welcome part of the community of fellow yogis and teachers. She says she has to be in London, this is where the teachers are, this is where the yoga is taking root and becoming a part of people's lives. She says perhaps it is because people have such fast and full lives here, perhaps they seek an antidote and yoga is a part of this 'waking up' to a mindful revolution. London is exhilarating and exciting and many opportunities can be found here. She now has created a foundation on which to begin to teach her own independent workshops.