I had already embarked upon my journey to be a fitness instructor (whilst juggling the demands of my marketing day job) when I met a remarkable Yoga teacher. His name was Michael French and he held lessons at dawn and evenings in a pavilion overlooking Grand Anse Beach in Grenada.
He didn’t subscribe to a specific style of Yoga but mixed elements of pure Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa. His teaching style was calm but motivational, with very clear instructional cues. There was also something quite spiritual about him, even though there was little spiritual emphasis to his teaching. He just had a presence.
Those classes on that holiday sowed some seeds. I nurtured a desire to become a Yoga teacher in the months and years that followed. And later as I qualified to be a Group Fitness instructor, the desire grew stronger.
I investigated the different Yoga disciplines. Unfortunately I encountered as much snobbery from some as I experienced help from others. As I went to more Yoga classes, and then later as I qualified as a Body Balance instructor, I realised that I did not want to be tied to one style. I wanted the freedom to explore, to experiment and to grow in myself but ultimately to reflect this freedom with my ultimate customers.
Eventually I found The Level 3 Yoga course through Group X Training – a modern NVQ course that lets you learn and teach as you develop. It more than fitted the bill and what’s more it is recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS). It gave me advanced anatomy and physiology knowledge, advanced instruction techniques, and a general Yoga framework upon which I could develop a style that suited me and my customers.
As a result of this I am now offering a general Hatha Yoga class and a more challenging Power Yoga session based upon Ashtanga principles but not constrained by that repetitive format. But I have successfully taken Ashtanga classes and received appreciation from that ultimately challenging clientele.
The journey has only really just begun, but I often think about Michael French and I set out to find him.
The internet only revealed an old email address and one photo from a speech about Yoga he once made in Skegness. I wrote to the organisers of the speech (not knowing when the event had actually taken place) and waited.
Michael got in touch recently. He left Grenada after the hurricane and came back to the UK and carried on teaching Yoga. Unfortunately he almost died from a serious heart condition and his doctors thinks that it was only the fitness that came from his Yoga practice that got him through the treatment.
Although he lives at the other end of the UK – we will teach together one day.