As a child, I struggled to fit in. I was plain and socially awkward and struggled to learn at school. At 16, I left, armed with a CSE in cooking (my shepherd’s pie had proved everyone wrong). But I had a dream up my sleeve.
At aged 8 my mum had enrolled me in ballet and tap classes. It was one of her many desperate attempts ‘bring me out of myself’ and help me make friends who weren’t imaginary. It was during those Saturday mornings bumbling my way through barre work and shuffle hop steps that I decided I was going to be a dancer and travel the world!
It wasn’t’ quite as straightforward as that, of course. Being from a working class family, expectations were that I would get a ‘proper’ job’. So I went to college to get qualifications that would give me ‘something to fall back on’. A stroke of pure luck (and a touch of bloody-minded determination) found me, aged 19, on a plane to Italy for my first contract as a professional dancer.
"Today I love sharing that which has enriched my life in ways that I could never have dreamed possible.
I spent over ten years travelling around the world as a dancer and choreographer, working in theatres, television and cabaret. I loved the physical demands of the job, travelling, meeting new people who didn’t think I was odd and exploring different cultures and their attitudes to life.
Although I had taken a different path from the one expected and succeeded to a degree, the beliefs and attitudes I had formed came with me. Feelings of low self-worth stayed with me like a low-grade buzz and I was forever pushing myself to work harder to secure my identity as a dancer and prove my worth. As my thirties approached I became ill with chronic asthma and constant chest infections. Anxiety and depression became familiar companions.
My primary concern wasn’t my health but about being well enough to achieve the fame and fortune I knew would bring me happiness. Whatever the motivation, though, it led me to experiment with the worlds of natural health and self-development. This wasn’t a straightforward journey either, the myriad of choices meant the joys and pitfalls were endless and equal in measure.
My aspirations and career path changed as I began to find a deeper sense of strength, vitality and peace. Yoga, Energy Medicine, Meditation and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) became an intrinsic part of my private and professional life and I feel eternally grateful for these disciplines along with the healers, practitioners and teachers that have led me to the point I am at now.
My journey so far has led me to travel, work as a dancer, choreographer, workshop facilitator, yoga, movement and meditation, teacher, performer and life and well-being coach in various settings including retreats, schools, corporate, stadiums and theatres. It also led me to becoming a mother, setting up an un-schooling community, writing a book 'Lessons from Leela' a memoir, and creating & performing a one woman show.
Today I love sharing that which has enriched my life in ways that I could never have dreamed possible. I believe that we are only bound by our beliefs and expectations and good health is so much more than the absence of disease. With commitment, curiosity and a sense of adventure we can create habits and behaviours that cultivate more joy, vitality and possibility. This, in turn, allows us, as individuals, to contribute to creating a fair, kind and more compassionate world.
I live with my partner Jyotish, our daughter Anousha, dog Leela, two pet rats Whiff & Niff & very soon Pippin the pony will be joining the clan! I love nature, travel, music, reading, and exploring human potentential.