I first discovered yoga – or maybe it discovered me – in the mid 1990s, after over 15 years as a lawyer in the City of London and even longer playing competitive hockey and recreational cricket and running half marathons. Weekdays commuting and sitting behind a desk and weekends on a sports pitch had wreaked havoc on my body and on my state of mind… I well remember in my first yoga class the teacher suggesting that we might be able to touch our toes… when I had to struggle to reach my knees.

The magic of yoga quickly took effect, and I became a regular in class and a keen student of the yoga tradition. In 2000 I took a sabbatical to travel the world, spending three months in India and also studying in the United States with some of the west’s leading teachers, notably Erich Schiffmann and Richard Freeman. During this year I also did my initial yoga teacher training at White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California.

Back in London in January 2001, I began teaching regular classes as well as resuming my legal career and continuing to study with leading yoga teachers from around the world. Shortly after this, I studied for the first time with Rod Stryker, who subsequently became my main teacher. I was also fortunate enough to be offered regular classes at London’s top two yoga centres, The Life Centre in Notting Hill and Triyoga, then in Primrose Hill. In January 2004 I left the City after almost 23 years to make studying and teaching yoga my life.

I now teach regular public classes in Notting Hill, Camden, Islington and Clapham. I also teach yoga history, Sanskrit and meditation on the Yogacampus yoga teacher training programme, as well as acting as a student mentor on that programme, and a board member for the Yogacampus trainings in the north of England. I teach occasional sessions on other teacher trainings, workshops around the UK, and yoga weekends and holidays in the UK and overseas.

In 2008, I went back to school to study for a Master of Arts in Religions at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), specialising in ancient Indian religions, with a dissertation on the historical development of the hatha yoga theory of prana. I received my MA with distinction in 2010, and then embarked on research on the Upanisads which I hope will lead to a PhD in a couple of years. I have also lectured on the SOAS post-graduate degree course on Traditions of Yoga and Meditation.

My yoga teaching is non-dogmatic and reflects the many styles which I have encountered over the years. My earliest teachers included well known UK teachers Simon Low and Liz Lark, and my relaxed, flowing asana style draws extensively both on their influence and on my studies of the Astanga Vinyasa tradition with Richard Freeman and other leading teachers. I honour and thank them, and all of the other teachers with whom I have studied over the years. It is hard to single out individuals, but, as well as those already mentioned, I must also mention Erich Schiffmann, Shiva Rea, Tias Little, Doug Keller and Aadil Palkhivala, who have all had a big impact on my practice and teaching. Ultimately, though, my main ongoing teachers are my own body, breath and mind and those of my students.

I try to keep classes creatively and imaginatively sequenced, with an eye on their energetic as well as physical effects. Pranayama (breathing) and meditation are integral parts of my yoga practice and my classes include these as well as asana (postures). I am also an experienced teacher of gentle yoga and have been recognised by the London Evening Standard as a top teacher of yoga nidra (a deep guided relaxation practice).

Originally from the north-west of England (which explains my bizarre footballing loyalties and willingness to eat black pudding), I have lived in London since 1980 and now live in Primrose Hill in north-west London.

You can reach me on 07818 040113 or grahamyoga@hotmail.com.