About me

Jump to: Yoga Being LGBTQ+ Inclusivity More about me


My first class, which I undertook in expectations of it being the only one, was a revelation in what Yoga actually wasn’t. On the one hand I had visions of candles, soft annoying music and sitting around relaxing. This was opposed by thoughts of slim young women pulling themselves into all sorts of pretzel type poses. At the tender age of 42 and the sort of physique that could be described as “wobbly”, these thoughts were enough to put me off. The reality of that first class was very different. There were 20 of us that could only be described as a quite “normal” cross-section of society, not that normal is a word I ever use to describe myself. No candles, no music, no pretzels and no sitting around relaxing, although there was a relax at the end. It was hard work but satisfying in a way that no other physical activity had ever achieved in me.

I discovered Yoga, completely by accident. A dare to myself to attend a Yoga class at a local gym, led to an overturning of how I thought about myself in a physical way. I had struggled for most of my life to feel comfortable in my own body and the practice of Yoga led to an acceptance of myself. Soon to follow was a deeper emotional connection with better understandings of how to deal with my anxieties. Ultimately, the concept of my spiritual being started to enter my thoughts.

I was hooked instantly! I found it hard work, but it is one of those activities where you are in control of what you put in. Furthermore, I also admired how Tanya, the teacher, looked after me and also the other 19 people in that class. I never felt ignored or left out, and most importantly, I felt safe. I moved from that class to one of Tanya’s longer classes at a local village hall. I bought some props and started practising at home. My understanding moved to the concept of sequencing; bringing poses together to compliment each other and improve the practice. I really liked this as it started to get me to think about my areas where I was not so good.

After a few years of practice, I wondered about the idea of teaching. I was not any kind of natural teacher, but on reflection, I found many situations where I have taken the role of leader, often without prompt or request. I asked Tanya about this, and she smiled at me. “You would make a great teacher,” she remarked. Knowing she had confidence in me was enough and we made steps to get it started.

When I did start, it seemed insurmountable; there was so much to learn. I also had my anxiety, and standing up in a class to teach a single pose as part of my training was the stuff of nightmares. I faced up to it though and I even started to enjoy that aspect. Four years later, which included a return to full-time work, and with a global pandemic thrown in for good measure, I attended a weekend of assessment in Birmingham and qualified. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, with transitioning being the hardest. Ultimately, both have been the most rewarding experiences of my life.

I wanted to teach Yoga so as to be able to pass that on to others, especially those groups who might find the whole prospect of attending class to be challenging. I know what it feels like to be nervous ahead of a class and want to create safe spaces for everyone to be able to experience Yoga. A wise teacher once said in class, that our thoughts are reflections of our past and our future. We tend to dwell on the past and think only of the future. “Think of the present,” she advised, “be in the here and now.” This was the gift that Yoga gave to me. To be in the moment and not stuck in the past or dreaming of the future.

Return to top

Being LGBTQ+

For the purposes of education, this stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. The plus denotes that it is an umbrella term and there are other identities in this umbrella.

I have a number of letters that I could attach to myself, and they should be seen as attachments and not my whole identity. I do not have to disclose any of this information, but it is important as it is relevant to my Yoga teaching. By far the most important of the letters is the “T”; meaning Transgender and sometimes shortened to Trans.

I am transgender and it is likely if you are in the UK that you may have heard a lot about transgender people recently. There is currently a lot of debate about transgender and there is an unhealthy obsession about transgender people by politicians and the media. Maybe you have thoughts and opinions about transgender people, and I can tell you many stories about the people who have wanted to express those opinions to me; sometimes in a more than verbal sense. I’d like to put it in simple terms that I am still a human being and not a political argument or threat to be countered.

The likelihood is that you have encountered many transgender people and not known. It is thought that at least 1% of the population are transgender and it is possible that number is higher. Do the maths, and you’ll soon realise that you will probably be somewhere near a transgender person at least once a week. If you meet me, you may have some awareness that I have transitioned. One of the realities for transgender women, is that it is very difficult to change our voices once they have been changed by our original puberty. Undertaking transitioning and the treatments available do not revert the voice back. There are exercise you can undertake to modify the voice, but as a teacher, I need to project that voice, and this renders those exercises pointless. My deep voice is the part that makes me different.

I have had many internal debates in the years since transitioning about whether I should be open about being transgender or not. I have a right to not disclose this, but why should I? Despite the risks that being open brings, I am not ashamed of who I am and the journey I have undertaken. I spent nearly forty years being ashamed of who I was inside. I’m kinda done with that and I am proud of the human being I have become. Remember in all of this, I am still a human being.

Return to top


Being inclusive at the core of my identity. This is because of my own life’s journey that I have undertaken and the discrimination that I have faced, and still do. I have also seen the discrimination of others; some similar to my own and others in a different fashion. I trained to teach Yoga because of the challenges I faced in even going to a Yoga class. Because I have an anxiety condition, one of the areas I often find myself struggling is that of social anxiety. I remember deciding to attend a class outside the gym environment, and it took 3 months to pluck up the courage to do that. Even now, attending a Yoga class or workshop in a new place is still anxiety inducing but I am able to overcome that with the strategies I have developed.

I can’t completely remove those anxieties for others, but I can do my best to provide a safe and inclusive space for people to come to class. I understand how to provide inclusivity for my own areas of expertise, such as for LGBTQ+ people. Being LGBTQ+ doesn’t mean that I am an expert in inclusivity for everyone. I have worked hard to broaden my understanding of other areas, such as neurodiversity, ethnicity, disability, etc. I am involved in staff networks for the NHS trust that I work for and am on the Equity Committee for Iyengar Yoga UK. This brings me into contact with people from other areas and we share our experiences to improve equality.

I commit to being as inclusive as I possibly can be. I don’t profess to be perfect and I welcome feedback to improve in areas where I get it wrong.

Return to top

More about me

I live in a quiet village in Somerset, near the town of Taunton with my wife Mandy and our two noisy Siamese cats Suriya and Chandra. (Suriya and Chandra are Sanskrit words that mean Sun and Moon, and you may hear them spoken in my Yoga classes!)

I work as a Peer Support Worker for an NHS trust and my interests include walking, writing, cooking, video gaming and sometimes I do a little bit of Yoga!

Return to top