Adversity comes to us all, and Kriya is no stranger to them. When these hardships came to call, she chose yoga and Ayurveda to support her and carry her through - using adversity as an opportunity for growth.
Growing up in Johannesburg in the early 60’s, one of Kriya’s earliest memories is her grandmother doing headstands on the living room floor. That memory parlayed for her an understanding that yoga is an integral part of life. In many ways, her life changed in her early 20’s when she met an Englishman visiting his father in South Africa. They fell in love and began building a life together in Johannesburg.
Kriya’s first occupation was in television and media. In Johannesburg, she created a successful and fast-paced career as a producer. While in NYC filming a documentary about Paul Simon, her husband, who was visiting family in London, declared that they should relocate to London and leave SA behind. She finished up her film work and life in SA and followed him to London, eager to resume her TV career. She struggled to find work initially, given apartheid sanctions and the larger London market. Eventually she made her way and after some years was offered a lucrative TV deal to produce a new type of show, something the network called “Reality Television.” She was pitched a job that would shoot in Poland, shooting four shows a day over the course of 20 days. At the time, she had a 2-year old daughter and a new baby girl she was still breastfeeding. On the phone with the executives, she looked down at her children; she knew she could have a wonderful career, but she would miss out on her children. She chose her children.
Kriya began a regular yoga practice when she was in London and pregnant with her first child. Through yoga, she found that her type-A personality could soften. She began to explore how yoga ignited the parasympathetic system and noticed how she responded to these changes. In the early 90’s, driven to learn what yoga was about, she began her first teacher training. She had no intention whatsoever to teach – in fact, she unknowingly began the teacher training whilst she was pregnant with her third and last child. She continued with her training and in this way, her son was with her throughout the training. He was 3-months old when she began teaching her first class. She would breastfeed, run off to teach, and find that she had 36 people in her class with a wild range of abilities. She remembered thinking “What am I doing here?!” and carried on nonetheless.
As her children grew she investigated their educational needs, which led her to the Rudolph Steiner Waldorf School in London. After three years the family relocated from London to a larger Steiner School in the countryside. Kriya worked at the school for over 10 years as an administrator, which allowed her children to grow up through the school, and for her to be a constant and stable figure.
After ten years, when her children were more or less launched, she opened her own yoga studio. The adversities began trickling in: the financial crisis happened, her marriage began falling apart, and her son was in trouble and had to leave school. She needed to make a change, so she decided to back to school. At the age of 47, she enrolled in a Masters Programme in Ayurveda. The course was an integrated Masters with 2.5 days commitment over four years. She rearranged her life, left her studio to her colleagues and committed herself to the training. The decision caused a sensation within her akin to stepping off a plank into an ocean.
In the middle of her training, she had a health crisis. She had been pushing herself too hard and had been taking on too much. In the environment of her school and through her training, she learned how to heal herself through Ayurveda. Five months of clinical training in India and the availability of specific Ayurvedic treatments helped her recover. She came back in January, ready to take on the world and begin her dissertation. It was then that her son was diagnosed with cancer. She put her dissertation on hold, and turned her care and attention to her son. Using her Ayurvedic training, alongside the guidance of her supervisor, her son utilised Ayurvedic healing and acupuncture, as well as conventional medicine. He is cancer-free and has been in remission for the last three years.
Throughout her own health crisis and then with her son’s cancer, Kriya’s learning deepened considerably. She began her own Ayurveda practice under the guidance and tutelage of her supervisor. Afterwards, he approached Kriya about co-running a Sussex clinic once a month. Her supervisor is none other than Dr Vijay Murthy, who runs the YogaLondon Ayurveda programme.
Kriya completed her yoga training with the British Wheel of Yoga, Satyananda Yoga UK and the Bihar School of Yoga is her spiritual home. She teaches 6 – 8 regular weekly classes and additional private classes. She practices Ayurveda two days a week from a clinic in Tonbridge, Kent, as well as running her own clinic in Forest Row, Sussex. She teaches Ayurveda, Yoga and Menopause workshops throughout the year. She is a source of light, inspiration and endless encouragement.