my roots and ethos

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by

me as a child

I have always been intrigued and awe-struck by the big picture.. why are we here? what’s our purpose? Is there a god? Who and what am I?! What’s the point of mosquitos?  These sort of questions have inspired and guided me my whole life. (not so much the question about mosquitos, tho). 

I think actually, the roots of self-enquiry run deep. My mother is Iranian and descended from a family of Sufis. Sufism is a spiritual path that shares many parallels with Yoga and so in a way, yoga has always been part of who I am.

my real first name is Tork-Tam, apparently it means spiritual water and it’s a Mongolian tribal name (my great grandma was a nomadic Mongol). I was taught to meditate and initiated into Trancendental Meditation aged 7 years old. I was first introduced to yoga asana (physical posture) aged 14 years old when my mother gave me an instructional yoga video featuring the teacher Erich Schiffman.  Something in that 45-minute VHS captivated me and that’s was when I began my regular practice. 

but really all that stuff about my name and my heritage used to embarrass me when I was young. I’m not that exotic at all, on the other side, I’m as English as they come. Born and bred in Margate, my Dad’s a builder and I grew up eating chips and drinking cheap cider on the beach with my mates.

with the maiden name Jones, that sat rather awkwardly after Tork-tam, I always found myself in this juxtaposition of trying to work out who I am. 

after a brief spell of being a teenager, partying, skateboarding and boys, I was drawn fully back into yoga when I trained as a teacher at aged 23 years old, following a very random encounter in the park with a stranger whom reminded me that I liked yoga.  Re-connecting to yoga at 23 was a turning point. I felt like something in me really clicked and all of the threads kind of came together and I realised that yoga is my path. 

somewhere along the line, I’ve realised that the two sides of who I am don’t need to be contradictory. Indeed the principle of hatha yoga is to bring together polar opposites so it’s quite fitting. I can be somewhat exotic and also as common as muck both at the same time. Because that’s who I am. Sometimes I talk from a place within my heart where the mystic stirs and other times I’m a straight talker with a Margate-twang.

this is where I’m at with my practice. It’s about keeping it real and always getting to the heart of matters. Through years of trial and error, mistakes and heart-ache through the trials of life, I’ve come to learn that Honesty, Integrity and Love are the only things that matter.

it’s with honesty, integrity and love that the transformative potential of yoga practices can be unlocked. This is how I strive to connect with others.

it is from the utmost respect that I have for my students and for the practice of yoga, that allows me to share the teachings.