Davy Jones has been teaching yoga for ten years and practising for eighteen. He is chair of the Brighton Yoga Foundation / Festival and was the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown in the last two elections. Here is his story…..
There is a famous Zen Buddhist saying:
‘When the student is ready, the master appears’. How true for me!
If you had told me 25 years ago that I would be a yoga teacher from 2007, I would have simply laughed. Back then I was working at a senior level at the Audit Commission in London, living in Hackney in a long-term relationship with two daughters. But as that relationship broke up in 1999, miraculously and with no prior warning, I found Yoga – or it found me. And, as with so many other people, my life changed forever.
I recall reading in the Guardian about Ashtanga Yoga – described as ‘Eastern mysticism mixed up with a good workout’. That sounded what I needed. I remember my first class – I was around 20 years older and a different sex from almost everyone else in the room. I couldn’t touch my toes and felt hopelessly inadequate. But as my private life fell apart, Yoga kept me grounded – literally. And I was hooked – and remain so.
Within a couple of years, I felt that I wanted to teach. But I was tied into mortgages, well-paid jobs, responsibilities for my daughters and my ageing parents and it all seemed a very remote prospect. So I gradually reorganised my life to make teaching Yoga possible, though (as with so many others) it has never been my sole source of income.
Why do I teach ? Because I have seen and felt the immense benefits of yoga for myself and I want to pass that knowledge on to as many people as possible. I didn’t start practising yoga till my late 40s. And now at the grand old age of 65 (I can scarcely believe I am that old !) I am as fit as I have ever been. And I feel more balanced (pardon the pun) than ever too. There are many wonderful yoga teachers around, including here in Brighton & Hove, but not that many older men. Perhaps my teaching can help break down the stereotypes and give men who are curious about trying yoga a bit more confidence. Personally, I still regularly practise Ashtanga Yoga and it is the main style of yoga that I teach. But I teach Ashtanga in a rather unorthodox way to ensure that it is accessible more widely. I recognise it may not suit everyone and increasingly now I teach other Yoga styles too. I really enjoy teaching in a workshop style – passing on what I have learned and answering the many questions people have about yoga. But I am not a yoga ‘guru’. I am serious about my yoga but I also believe it should be fun and inclusive. With my partner Janaki (and yes we met through yoga – in a roundabout way*) I have been teaching yoga holidays abroad now for ten years.
My passion for spreading the benefits of yoga beyond the existing yoga community led me to co-found the Brighton Yoga Festival in 2014. We held our very first organising meeting in the room at Studio iO, and the studio was our main sponsor in the first year. Since then the Festival has got bigger and more successful each year and is now a registered charity committed to yoga outreach work in the communities of the city. I chair the trust and it is a wonderful way to ‘give back’, and to ‘give the gift of yoga to others’.
I have recently started
teaching at Studio iO: an Ashtanga class on Mondays 5.30-6.30. And I will be taking over Gemelle’s Hatha class from Thursday 19th October from 5.30 – 6.45. It would be lovely to see you there. I promise you will not regret it.
(* Janaki advertised on the Guardian Soulmates as ‘a yoga teacher who loved wine and chocolate’ and I thought that sounded perfect!)