Isabel Carter works with HIV clients and asylum seekers, PTSD sufferers and has her own centre for Dru Yoga, Wellbeing and Creativity.
How long have you been practicing Dru Yoga? 18 years.
What is it about Dru Yoga that you particularly love?
Its accessibility, I’ve never met a student yet who can’t do something & benefit! Before finding Dru I must have tried every style going, but from the very first session of Dru I knew this was the one for me, I still got my good stretch, all my favourite classic postures and plenty of new favourites, but now they all came with added mojo. Also, I never ever get bored of Dru, there is always something to learn, a deeper layer to experience, Dru truly is a practice for life.
When did you qualify as a Dru Yoga Teacher? 1998
Tell us about yourself and about your classes, workshops, retreats and special client groups you may have.
I love teaching Dru and it is my full time job. I teach a wide range of classes – busy general classes of around 200 students a week, with a great mix of ages, the oldest being 92. Students range from keen sports people and those looking to relax, with over 25% of my students being male. I work with NHS funded patient groups including HIV patients for over 10 years which is probably the most rewarding work I do. In addition, I work for a mental health group, Parkinson’s Disease and I work closely with a local physiotherapist.
I’ve just opened my own studio / centre for Dru Yoga, Wellbeing & Creativity. I was struggling to find good venues so decided to take action and create my own amazing venue! It’s been a lot of work, but it is worth it. I powered out to the universe what I wanted and within a month I was in my new studio. All my existing courses are still running. As this is in a new area for me, I am offering the space out to other teachers who can come under my umbrella and I support them with marketing, lesson planning, general class management tips and pay a guaranteed minimum rate, with the flexibility to earn much more. I also want this space to be used for all manner of wellbeing and creative activities. So far, we’ve had Dru Dance, Bio mechanics coaching, art and photography courses, nutritional workshops & a social media course. I want people to find their sparkle!
I teach workshops and am part of the DYTT Leeds teaching team, and just about to start teaching CPD sessions - watch out for details in future DPN newsletters and the CPD events page on the DPN website.
Please share an inspiring story from your teaching of Dru Yoga
There are so many to choose from, every week I hear inspiring stories from my students! It’s what makes my job so wonderful.
I love seeing the transformation in people, one of your previous newsletter contributors, Maria Rockett is one of my students. I see people come in nervous, hardly moving, in pain, then they blossom and many have gone onto do the Dru Teacher Training themselves.
I get great results at the HIV clinic particularly. All our work is monitored, so I know that the yoga is contributing to people staying well or recovering from illness quicker. When one student visited her oncologist about her long term bone cancer, he was so shocked at the improvement in her bone cells that he asked what she’d been doing differently. The only thing different was joining my classes. He told her not to stop!
I work with asylum seekers, some of who are suffering from PTSD. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to welcome someone to yoga who is clearly frightened, with little English, unable to relax, where we have to leave doors open & plan exit strategies and then see them over time, settle, feel safe & be able to rest with the door closed & even have a laugh with other students. I feel very privileged to be part of this, and get amazing support from the health care professionals who are making this happen.
The story that has never left me though, was in my first year of teaching I gave all my students a peace flame, told them all about it and then let it rest. Nearly 15 years later, one of those original students passed away. At her funeral, we were all given a tea light & told about the peace flame, and how important it was to her & how she had never let it go out. In all the years this lady never mentioned this to me, so to hear the story at her funeral was amazing. You just never know what lands where, we have such a responsibility!
Do run workshops or retreats?
I love to run my Saturday afternoon workshops, which are always themed, and aimed at those with some Dru Yoga experience. We’ve covered all sorts of topics from aging well to back care, boosting energy to getting a good night’s sleep, and everything in between.
Are your classes open for everyone or do you run some specific classes for a client group
There’s a class for everyone! One thing I love about Dru is that you can progress everything, and my students are empowered to work within their comfort zone but know they will be supported if they want to ease into the next stage. All my classes are mixed ages, gender and ability. I do run one class which is only open to students with at least 1 year’s Dru Yoga experience, so that we can go deeper and practice things I would not teach in a beginners group, I like to reward loyalty.
To give you a feel for my students – the youngest is 18, the eldest 92. I have 4 triathletes, and many golfers, cyclists and runners. I also teach body builders so that they can improve their core stability, along with retired ladies and gentleman who want to keep moving. My only request is that students come with a willingness to learn and participate. Classes are very friendly supportive. I have the best students.
To contact Isabel:
M 07951 691302