All Doshas
What Ayurveda Brought to My Yoga Practice

Roanna Rose (known as Ro) has been qualified as a yoga teacher since 2016 and teaches full-time all over London. We ask her more about her story and philosophy.

What does yoga mean to you?

For me yoga is self-inquiry. It is an intelligent, mindful practice of science where the experiment is with my body and mind. Every time I step on the mat, I am giving myself time to tune in and reset. So, no matter what I am going through in my life at that moment in time, whether that is a physical or an emotional challenge, I can return to my true self, true essence and true power.

Can you tell us a little about your journey to yoga?

At the age of 17 I travelled from the UK to volunteer at The Rosie May Home, an orphanage in Sri Lanka. While there I stayed at a yoga retreat centre nearby – I chose it because it was in walking distance of the orphanage. I had a little free time in the mornings, so I made the most of it and woke up early to start practicing yoga with the resident teacher. By the end of my trip I had fallen in love with the beautiful country, the wonderful girls in the orphanage and the practice of yoga.

What brought you to teaching?

Fast forward a few years and I was in Liverpool training to be a dancer at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. By this point I had started attending regular Hatha yoga (physical yoga) classes and had found Kundalini yoga (a mix of spiritual and physical practices to awaken kundalini energy at the base of the spine). This eventually led me to writing my dissertation on yoga and the spiritual and mental benefits it can have for professional and trainee dancers.

From Liverpool, I moved to London and started dancing in a small dance company. I was practicing yoga regularly and found comfort in coming to my mat, moving my body without having to perform or look a certain way. Then in 2016 I had the opportunity to go to India and do my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I planned to teach part-time alongside dancing professionally but when I came back to London and started teaching, I knew that this was what I needed to be doing full-time. Everything felt aligned.

What are you up to at the moment?

I now teach full-time all-over London. You can find me at Move Your Frame King’s Cross, The Yoga Edge in Crystal Palace, the Sky Garden in the city as well as a community class at Synchronicity in Clapham North. I also teach one-on-one private sessions and weekly classes at a big publishing company and a recruitment consultancy. In 2017 I did my 300-hour teacher training (this time actually in Sri Lanka). I fell back in love with the country and later that year I held my first ever Yoga Ro retreat on the south coast of Sri Lanka. I have now taught retreats in Cornwall, India, Wiltshire, Morocco, Oxfordshire and Sicily.

What is your approach to Ayurveda?

To me, Ayurveda is about finding harmony and balance within the body and mind, letting go of the idea that everybody fits one wellness model and realising that everyone is born with their own individual nature. This has helped deepen the level of self-awareness I am trying to cultivate through yoga. My personal nature or prakriti is Pitta, the fire element. I am ambitious, fiery, active, overly goal-focused, I like to push myself in hard workouts, enjoy extreme sports and can sometimes be hot headed!

What have you learned from Ayurveda?

Ayurveda has taught me that as humans, we are drawn to the things we enjoy and the activities which suit our true nature. This is great, but it can also be too much of a good thing! For example, as I am Pitta-dominant in my nature, I like to create fast and challenging flows. I love to get upside down and push my body into difficult Asanas (postures). What I have realised from this discovery is that if I want to optimise my health and use yoga to its full advantage I need to moderate some of these Pitta desires. To balance my true nature perhaps what is needed is a more cooling, soothing and balancing flow. Now every time I practice yoga I tune into how I am feeling emotionally, mentally and how my body physically feels. I increase my level of consciousness by tapping into my knowledge of Ayurveda and I set a clear positive intention. This creates a powerful, healing and sacred practice. When I roll my mat away I feel healthy, happy and inspired.

How do you apply this to others?

In my private classes I apply this exact same method for my students. In a public class of course, there is no way everyone is going to have the same nature! So, with group classes I tune into the mood of the class, I ask how everyone is feeling and also take note of what is going on politically and environmentally (seasons, weather etc.) and then allow my class to emerge from that.

Any tips for a yoga novice?

My advice for someone wanting to start yoga is to find a teacher who inspires you – try out different classes until you find the one. Yoga works, the hardest part is showing up.

Find Balance

Are you living as your true self?

Integrate Ayurvedic wisdom into your life and start a lifelong journey of beauty and wellbeing.

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