Heather Elton

Heather Elton

I’ve taught Astanga and Vinyasa Flow yoga, as well as traditional forms of Hatha yoga, restorative yoga, pranayama and meditation in London since 2002. I consider Sri T Krishnamacharya to be the Grandfather of Modern Postural Yoga. The two main teachers in his lineage are BKS Iyengar and Sri K Pattabhi Jois. I’ve studied both BKS Iyengar methodology and Astanga Vinyasa Yoga. My own practice and teaching style is inspired by these lineages.

I’m interested in the historic roots of traditional Hatha Yoga. I endeavor to teach all 8 limbs of ‘classical’ Astanga in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras on the mat, and integrate ancient wisdom traditions with contemporary psychology in a mindful practice designed to diminish suffering in our lives.

My approach is a deep physical and psychological practice that moves beyond a mere physical experience to make the yogic inquiry authentic and relevant to real life. My idea of an ‘advanced’ practice is to work with more subtle awareness; a movement inwards towards Dharana and the inner limbs of yoga. I aspire to unshakeable equanimity. A true test that the yogic skills are working is if I can remain calm in challenging situations.

What does this feel like? A ‘slow mindful flow’ with an emphasis on breath and alignment techniques, rather than mindless flailing about in space. An embodied movement meditation. Moving towards stillness.

I’m interested in the historic roots of traditional Hatha Yoga and integrate ancient wisdom traditions with contemporary psychology into a mindful practice designed to diminish suffering in our lives.

I aim to reveal the ‘authentic’ spiritual path underlying the practice and the technology to stabilize the mind, shed the veils of Maya perpetuated by the ego, glimpse at our true nature, find purpose and meaning in life, and liberate ourselves from suffering.

The ultimate aim of yoga is love, liberation and freedom. Moksha.

I began studying Modern Postural Yoga in Canada in 1986. At that time, the only style of yoga was BKS Iyengar technique and I was extremely lucky to have Dona Holleman as my first teacher. I was magnetised by her presence. Since then, my yoga path has involved extensive studies with brilliant teachers around the world, many who have had a profound influence of my unique style.

I practiced Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for 12 years, during which time I studied with Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore and some of his senior students – Manju Jois, John Scott, David Swenson, Matthew Sweeney and Rolf Naujokat. Nancy Gilgoff was my first Ashtanga teacher and I attended many of her ‘Adjustment Clinics’ to learn how to safely assist people in the Primary and Intermediate Series. I completed a 200-level Yoga Teacher Training with Richard Freeman (2004) and attend his annual yoga intensives in London. I also completed a 200+ level training focusing on the traditional Krishnamacharya method of Asana, Pranayama and Kundalini Metaphysics with Sri BNS lyengar at the Patanajala Yoga Shala in Mysore (2008). And later his course on full body Mudras (2011).

On the Vinyasa Flow side of yoga, I completed the Tripsichore Yoga Theatre Teacher Training with Edward Clark (2002).

David Life and Sharon Gannon (Jivamukti Studios) and Emil Wendel (Beyond the Asana) are also inspirational people and teachers.

For the past decade, my yogic path has returned to its roots and I feel as if I’ve come ‘home’ in the precise alignment techniques of BKS Iyengar. My main teacher is Alaric Newcombe and I study with him on a regular basis in London. I’ve also taken many workshops with Glenn Ceresoli. I attended classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) in February 2020.

I love the practice of asana and view it as extremely important on the spiritual path, but it alone will not take me to enlightenment. Hence, I shifted my gaze to Tantric practices. Tibetans have turned out enlightened beings on a treadmill since 8 C.E. I’m now a Buddhist practitioner and am blessed to be a student of Dzongsar Khentsye Rinpoche.

As a result of my extensive sadhana in Asia, I met my guru. In 2017, I was initiated into the Nath Sampradaya as an Aghori Nath yogini at Pashupati in Nepal. Throughout my yogic journey, I keep an open mind about the practice and try not to succumb to dogma.

I’m qualified as a Senior Yoga Teacher with both the Yoga Alliance USA and Yoga Alliance Professionals UK.

At Avata, I will be teaching HATHA VINYASA FLOW. Breath and alignment. My approach is a deep physical and psychological practice that moves beyond a mere physical experience to make the yogic inquiry authentic and relevant to real life.