We met in Ibiza on a work conference back in 2001 when we were both working for the Internet company Yahoo! After many years of too many late nights and living an unhealthy lifestyle, we discovered yoga in 2009 at a time when we were looking for a new direction. Within a year we had been introduced to Ashtanga yoga and soon cultivated a daily practice which has changed our lives forever.
Over time, as our practice evolved, we wanted to put a plan in place which would allow us to integrate yoga more into our lives and connect us closer to nature. in 2016 we began our search and our very first trip led us to Apulia, Italy . We knew immediately the location and property would help us to realise our vision of creating a shared space for learning and practice.
We have since completed an extensive renovation of the property and Mark and our dog Marvin are now based full time in Italy to manage our retreats.
More About Mark
From an early age I remember being interested in spirituality and eastern type practices. During my time at university I learn't transcendental meditation and then when I started working in London in my mid 20's I would attend a Buddhist centre for weekly meditation and philosophy talks.
My first experience of yoga came much later on a winter's evening in December 2009, a hatha yoga class in our local church hall. It was cold and my body was stiff from many years of running and sitting at a desk, I can't say it was a particularly enjoyable experience! I decided to give it a few weeks and see if it could help with my tight calf muscles which had been giving me problems in my running for the past few years.
Something was drawing me to the yoga and I was soon adding more weekly classes. My first experience of Ashtanga yoga was on a holiday to India in 2011 and over the next 12 months I found myself committing to a 6 day weekly practice and the running had been relegated to a distant memory. Yoga has become such a large part of my life that touches almost everything I do in a truly wonderful and positive way.
I started building up a daily practice under the guidance of Scott Johnson at Stillpoint Yoga London and have spent the past seven or eight years studying with Adam Keen. I have also been very fortunate to attend a number of retreats and workshops with some truly inspiring teachers including, Gingi Lee, John Scott, Harmony Slater, Rolf Naujokat and David Garrigues.
My daily practice is the foundation for my life and I feel very fortunate to have met this practice which has totally changed my life on every level.
More About Nicola
I first encountered yoga in my mid-twenties, through a class at Kensington Holmes Place near where I worked at the time, and feeling really "alive" afterwards. Unfortunately other distractions in my life took over and it gradually slipped away, however the seed had been planted and always remained in the back of my mind.
It wasn’t until several years later that I came across a Thursday evening Hatha yoga class near where I was living. It was in a cold church hall and not particularly dynamic, but this time I was determined to stick with it. After a couple of months of going once a week, I found out that the teacher also did a Friday lunchtime Ashtanga class which I immediately signed up for, and which fitted nicely into my routine as I was working from home at the time. It was a small group of around 4 students above a health food shop, with lots of personal attention. Eventually the teacher recommended a place in London Bridge called “Stillpoint” which offered a Mysore program, and in November 2010 I turned up, slightly nervously, with my mat. This was the turning point for me, and when I properly committed to having a yoga practice as part of my life.
I cannot imagine my life without it now - the daily commitment of an asana practice has gone much beyond just the physical - it has taught me to pay attention to the detail, to better understand who I am and to take time to think about the choices and decisions that I make.