Welcome to Yogannie, I am so happy to invite you to hear my story and how I began my Yoga journey, as a student and a teacher.
In 2016, aged 21, I moved to London. Since I was a kid, I had dreamed of being a professional dancer. I attended dance classes since the age of 4, and when I left school at 17, I went on to 4 years of professional dance training in ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop. To survive in London, I was working a multitude of jobs and hustling hard to make sure I could get to classes/auditions and pay my rent. I think like many people that age I underestimated the sheer mass of London and how easily it was to get totally swallowed up.
I found solace in the hot yoga studios down the back alleys in central London. I think I managed to sign up to every 30-day intro course that I could find before finally getting a job at Third Space making protein shakes. (Thanks Heather- free gym membership included). This is where I truly found my love & passion for the practice in Jess Baylys’ classes. She brought together my passion for dance and mindfulness in her silky fluid vinyasa classes. She is now someone I can now call a very close friend. After long days spent in audition halls, late nights working in Bars all over London and taking dance classes with friends I always seemed to feel most content in the Yoga studio.
It was here I felt safe from judgement, I could truly escape my negative thought patterns and lose myself in the beauty of my breath, body and movement. Nothing else mattered in the studio, I could lock away my phone, and be free from the constant comparison to others. It was in the studio that I felt accepted just as I was.
After saving up for a long time to fly to LA and take part in a 3-month intensive dance course with Dana Foglia, I remember being in the studio with Jess the day before my flight, getting in that last yoga fix. As I was leaving, I remember her saying “Annie you should think about doing your yoga teacher training”. I recall feeling flattered but didn’t really take her suggestion seriously. Little did she know she had planted a seed.
Cut to 24 hours later, I’m stuck in border control in the USA, the subject of a random border selection check. They weren’t going to let me in the country. My dream was shattered. What I thought was my final chance at excelling, growing and becoming the professional dancer I had dreamed of was coming to an abrupt end.
I remember being in the holding room with other people struggling with visa issues, feeling anxious and denied any contact with my family. I did the only thing that I knew would calm me down. I started to practice Yoga. Starting with the sun salutations, inhale, exhale, closing my eyes as I found a steady rhythm. Breathing deeply into my body I remember crying. The fear of what was going to happen to me here bubbling up inside. Feeling like a failure. In those moments I think it really dawned on me that this is where I felt safe, supported and happy. I felt free.
On that forced return flight home, I was navigating my emotions and really trying to unpack why this had happened and what it meant for my future. There would be more courses, I could continue to dance, but did I want too? It all just felt too raw, too painful.
After a lot of tears and a little nudge, I decided to embark on my yoga teacher training.