I was born and raised in London, England, with a keen interest on sport, particularly the game of rugby. I suffered many sports injuries over the years, but at the age of 21, a blown out knee was the final straw. I hung up my boots, retired my mouthguard, completed a degree in Sports Science and commenced my professional career as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist.
In 1997, I discovered the ultra alignment based Iyengar yoga, which cured my lingering rugby aches and pains. Several years later, Ashtanga yoga appealed to my need for athletic, sweaty, mindful exercise, whilst Vinyasa Flow Yoga inspired my passion for innovative movement and curated music selections. In 2003, I enrolled in a three year British Wheel of Yoga diploma and became a yoga teacher.
My first trip to India in 2001, I stumbled across a guru who gazed at me from across the room and transmitted his “shaktipat” (spiritual life force energy). It’s hard to describe, but for the next three days and nights, I was immersed in what felt like a fire of bliss. I was not able to fully surrender to his feet, as his disciples encouraged me to do and for unknown reasons, he never gave me the bliss experience again.
Years later and after much research, I began to understand it was a form of kundalini awakening, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse. Naively, I kept trying to replicate the experience through meditation where I would shake uncontrollably, which was both pleasurable but highly distracting.
Subsequently, in a youthful “invincible” quest, I explored all types of drugs / plant medicines, out of body experiences, tantric breath work, fasting, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, cold/heat immersions, chanting, bondage, contortion and other more dubious sadomasochistic rituals.
On the outside, I gave an appearance of being strong, flexible and happy - the eternal optimist. Yet even after this powerful and beautiful guru experience, my inner world was fraught with cycles of depression, anxiety and insecurity.
What I thought was chasing my bliss, actually turned out to be “spiritual by-passing”. An ex girlfriend, in the most non blaming way, suggested I had intimacy issues and that therapy had helped her with similar issues. When she mentioned that it was Reichian Psychotherapy, my ears perked up, as I recalled Wilhelm Reich’s name mentioned several times in high regard at Osho’s ashram in India (where many eyebrow raising experiences happened. That’s another story for later).
Committing to this form of therapy was the most challenging experience of my life. I realized I could no longer run away and through weekly talk, breath and body work sessions my armor started to melt. I had numerous breakdowns and breakthroughs.
I got to share and release shameful secrets I had never told anyone in my life. I realized the effects of being bullied and the devastating consequences of the emotional (subconscious) vow I made at age eleven to never cry or show my vulnerability again. I also gained forgiveness and compassion for the part of me that spiritual bypassed.
Over time, I got to feel and understand the difference between surrendering and submitting. Not to someone (like a guru or authority figure), but to the deepest, most intimate aspect of my Self. Simply being witnessed in this excruciatingly raw state, by someone you trust, is in my view a large part of the healing that can take place.
After countless insights and experiences, I discovered a deep sense of self acceptance and the unpleasant symptoms of anxiety and depression slipped away. My interest in teaching conventional yoga dramatically wained, while my passion for somatic therapy blossomed. In 2010, I commenced a 6 year mentorship of Reichian Psychotherapy with Dr. Patricia Frisch in Mill Valley, CA. In 2013, I gained my Master's Degree in "Integral Counseling Psychology" at the Californian Institute for Integral Studies and in 2017, became a fully licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).