I called this yoga ‘barefoot’, because it revels in feeling everything that happens underneath our feet, every step of the way. I am increasingly aware of the fulsomeness and joy that is made available when we walk our own landscape with curiousity and grace. When we light a willing awareness on the fluid congruity of breath and movement which happens through our own bodies, we find ourselves closer to all of life. We start to be lovingly disencumbered of a sense of self that rejects any of this landscape as not being ourselves. Our yoga ceases to be about physical achievement, but more about a rewarding service to a deep sense of being which we can yield to. The image of the foot contains all of this. It shapes itself to the ground on which it walks. When it yields without resistance it opens to the soft current that moves us. And this current is the medium for a flow of great kindness. This is compassionate yoga, where everything we experience has the potential to be lit up with grace when explored. And this is my kind of yoga. We cease to measure practice by any idea of what we should achieve. There is no success or failure. The yoga provides an intelligent structure through which we develop the taste to explore ourselves with love and respect.  It also includes all the functional benefits that accrue from this beautiful practice.

As a teacher I do not consider myself to be the authority. This is an old paradigm. What I wish for, is to nurture an environment in which people learn how to be their own best teachers. It is not my job to determine how your body should be or how you should feel. But I do my best to creatively offer structure and what help I am capable of. If I was to say anything about the way I teach, it would include maintaining and improving the health of the person. But the deep potential I want to encourage in myself and others is that of aligning perception to our embodied being. The more intimately we follow our breath and movement, then the more layer after layer of ourselves starts to be revealed. There is nothing more truly healthy than this. And this is available to all of us, at whatever level of practice. It isn’t about physical proficiency in the end but about listening to the willingness of the heart to be opened.

People like to have an idea of a yoga teacher’s credentials. I come from a contemplative background, long before I became involved in yoga. My physical practices before yoga were Karate and then Tai Chi, which still has an influence. On my yoga journey many good people have helped me and trained me.  Among them i want to mention John Scott who originally trained me as an Astanga teacher. I was then trained as an alignment based teacher at Triyoga with Anna Ashby and Joey Miles. I continue working with Anna, who also trained me as a restorative teacher. I want to also give thanks to Mariella de Martine, with whom i first started to practice and who encouraged my role as a teacher. I have also been trained to lead Kirtan by Nicky Slade. I am an active figure in the Modern British Furniture Movement and have a busy workshop in the Cotswolds. I correlate courses and gatherings in Oxford to explore the Unity of Being. Warranted or not, I think myself as something of a  poet and I love my garden by the river on which I live. My current accreditation comes from the Yoga Alliance.

Derek Elliott

'Be strong then, and enter
into your body;
there you have a solid
place for your feet,
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off
somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just
throw away all thoughts
of imaginary things,
and stand firm in
that which you are'.

Kabir