I grew up in Tasmania, on a small permaculture farm just out of Hobart. I had three brothers and lived a very healthy outdoor creative life. My parents were academics and inspiring teachers of teachers. They were very spiritual people. Despite this, I found that the spirituality and the ‘new-age stuff’ I was interested in was never supported nor explored.
So I followed the academic path. I loved the study of psychology and pursued many interesting multidisciplinary courses. This included weaving a spirituality thread into my PhD thesis in educational studies!
My mum took me to my first yoga class at 15, to deal with the stress I felt in the school system. I feel so grateful to have been introduced to yoga by her at a time when yoga was relatively unknown. Mum was a successful, independent women. She suffered from acute anxiety for most of her life. She had discovered the benefits of yoga in relieving these stresses in her mid-life. She took me to her yoga classes and retreats, where I was first introduced to pranayama, asana and meditation.
While yoga became an important part of my life, at that time I saw it as an activity that could support my wellbeing to support my academic and career ambitions.
I travelled a lot in my twenties. I lived in the UK for twelve years, which is where I met my husband, Glenn, and where we had our twin boys. We returned to Melbourne in 2004. I started working in leadership roles in not-for-profit and socially conscious organisations. I was deeply passionate and committed to social change. I continued to practice yoga, ritually attending my weekly classes, and intermittently following a home practice of my own. My intention was to keep my busy life in balance and to seek out some calm and relaxation.
When I turned 40 my whole life began to unravel. You could say I had the classic mid-life crisis. My work was no longer meaningful…
I changed careers many times, tinkering at the edges, moving from Social Health Research roles into Organisational Change Management.
Little did I know that my adrenal glands, after many years of prolonged stress, were heading for a crash.
The stress of my job hit a peak with a change of government. At a stroke, three years of work had turned into a political hot potato. This was difficult for me as a researcher with my ethics and principles.
The sleepless nights were becoming more common, and turned into chronic insomnia. If I did have time off, I was so exhausted that all I could do was sleep. I thought I was going mad.
And then my naturopath, who was holding me upright with endless supplements, suggested I go to a tantric feminine yoga class…
It was unlike any other yoga I had done. It was deeply nourishing. It was an energetic practice that helped release tensions, awaken pleasure and (what I now realize) the Divine Feminine Shakti.
It was exactly what I needed to heal deep patterns in my family lineage and a powerful antidote for the many years of working too hard and fast in the ‘patriarchy’.
I was hooked!
I left my job, as I needed time to heal my adrenals. I was diagnosed with PTSD from the repeated stressors of the change management role.
I knew in my heart of hearts that I could not go back… not to this job… nor this sort of career and working.
We decided to move our young family to Central Victoria, with a vision to live a more sustainable simple life.
I embarked on a series of yoga teacher trainings, to deepen my practice and healing. I also developed a passion to share these sacred teachings with other women, many of whom find themselves in similar big mid-life transitions, be that in their health, relationships, or career. I do this by weaving together many yoga traditions and teachings designed for the woman’s changing body, and that nourish and awaken the divine feminine.
More recently I opened some of my workshops for men and women to awaken and embody the divine feminine and divine masculine within themselves through yoga.
I now live on a small permaculture smallholding in Central Victoria Australia. Taradale is a beautiful quite tiny hamlet, just over an hour out of Melbourne. Here in my beloved garden we grow food (and flowers) to share with our family and friends, as well as the volunteer travellers who help us on the farm.
We are currently converting our family home in Taradale into Tara Springs, a lifestyle, healing and retreat centre. We will be opening our doors to the public in late 2020. Glenn and I plan to share our professional offerings from the teaching studio (my yoga teaching and Glenn’s Shiatsu practice) as well as collaborating with other educators to provide authentic opportunities for holistic living and learning through permaculture gardening and food and a wide range of healing modalities.