My background

"Ta Ke" [tah-kay] is Japanese for bamboo
- symbol of strength in flexibility.

I began studying yoga aged 20 in Australia, where my first teacher showed me the wonderful power that belongs to all of us, just for the fact that we are alive, whatever state our body may be in.

I was actually a computer programmer working with free software on Linux, and a writer, when I decided to study Shiatsu Therapy at the Shiatsu School of W.A. in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1999. My core tutors were Michelle Locke and Casey Terry, and we had many other dedicated teachers from a broad range of disciplines.

Learning shiatsu was profoundly life changing for me, as I opened my mind to an Eastern perspective on philosophy and health. In the years since, I have developed shiatsu techniques to manage my own health, including hayfever, menstrual issues and rehabilitation for a broken wrist and a running injury.

shiatsu hands

At the same time as studying shiatsu massage, I trained in foot reflexology with Casey Terry. This training was truly enlightening and the extraordinary experiences I had while receiving reflexology helped me realise the powerful relaxation and healing that this massage can bring, how instantly and completely a tense or tired person can relax with pressure on certain areas of the feet. I practise reflexology on myself if I have put a lot of strain on my feet and to invigorate myself generally.

I fulfilled a long-held desire to become a yoga teacher at the Arhanta Yoga Ashram in Madhya Pradesh, India. This training was in the classical style which places great emphasis on choosing the relaxation response over the stress response, and is particularly strengthening for the back, as movement into the poses is slow and carefully controlled and poses are held for at least one minute.

cat circles

A natural inclination towards pregnancy yoga and yoga for women's health, including mum and baby yoga and menopause led me to take part in specialist training with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli author of Yoni Shakti, Mother's Breath and Teach Yourself Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth. Uma's creation Womb Yoga has had an empowering and liberating influence on my understanding of the energy of yoga and supporting the needs of both women and men. I feel tremendous gratitude for having studied with Uma.

At the same time as studying Womb Yoga, I also studied with Suzanne Yates, creator of Wellmother, to deepen my knowledge of shiatsu for women's and infant's health, including pregnancy and menopause. Suzanne guided my shiatsu practice and understanding of life through the study of Yin, childbirth and the cyclical nature of health... I am hugely indebted to her.

Between the influences of Uma and Suzanne I developed a practice of self-care which I share in all of my classes and treatments... and which is enriched by Essex Red Tents, a practice of femininity which I have been so fortunate to build with Em Tivey, Keziah Osborne and Emma Turnbull.

andie white artwork

Meeting Matthew Sanford has been utterly transformative for me... as a paraplegic yoga teacher, his understanding of how prana (energy) moves through the body, the physicality of his yoga and his poetic spirit have been a great inspiration to me. Matthew's teachings about trauma and how yoga can help have also been invaluable.

I have been practising meditation for more than 17 years and began meditating formally while studying shiatsu massage, where meditation was an integral part of my training. I have had the privilege of taking part in meditation classes and retreats with teachers from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, including compassionate mindfulness, visualisation, pranic healing and yoga.

For me, mindful meditation is a way of life that helps me to be courageous, open-minded and fully alive. My mindfulness practices have been informed and influenced by the Triatna Buddhist Centres in the UK, Kristen Neff's self-compassion research and Karla McLaren's studies in empathy and many others, especially my students and life itself.

I began teaching yoga full-time in Colchester, UK in 2011 with Ta Ke Shiatsu timetabled classes four days per week, as well as weekend workshops and retreats.

sicily retreats

Following a visit to Sicily in 2013, I started running regular retreats in the north-east tip of Sicily with yoga, meditation, music and mindful eating with the help of many Sicilian friends, musicians, therapists, cooks and teachers.

I initiated a mindful eating program and private sessions when I realised that I wasn't alone in being a little too careful over choosing and preparing healthy foods. Sicily has taught me a great deal about cooking and eating with compassion, and my students have helped me understand what drives us to obsessiveness with food, especially addictive foods, and body image.

In 2015, I began a teacher training program so that my Colchester classes could be covered while I was in Sicily. It has been an immensely rewarding experience to support new and existing teachers in their work and has enabled me to pass on my studies and discoveries in combining the extra-ordinary vessels of shiatsu to prepare for, prevent and treat injury in yoga and to increase body awareness for compassionate mindfulness meditation.

Barefoot running came to me around the same time I started studying yoga, in my early 20s, when I ran barefoot on the beaches in Italy and Australia. But it wasn't until I took a running lesson at the Vivo Barefoot Shop in Covent Garden that I really understood the enormous benefits of always walking and running barefoot. Since then I have not worn heeled or stiff-soled shoes, and I cannot imagine going back to them. I now include barefoot running techniques in my yoga retreats and private sessions.

I am a member of Shiatsu International

This video was made by my friend and superb musician and filmmaker Cherchen Man

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