Having spent ten years in Rome exploring her Italian roots, and childhood summers in Germany with her mother’s family, Sandra seems to have taken the best bits from every culture and combined them into the enviable character traits of a vibrant and determined yogi blessed with insatiable curiousity.
When Sandra was quite young, she found her calling as an actress. She pursued this dream with every ounce of her being, acting in school and in local productions and pursuing her dream of drama school. As a testament to her unfailing tenacity, it took her five years of applying and re-applying until she was rewarded with a spot in her school of choice, even as other schools continuously offered her placement. Her training and time at drama school broadened her skills, shaped her and allowed her to continue her theatre pursuit with vigor.
While at drama school, she had an engaging movement teacher who began every warm-up with Surya Namaskar, instructing the students to observe the brilliance of this simple sequence. It reminded her of her German grandmother who started yoga in her 60’s and was doing standing splits well into her 70’s. She kept up a yoga practice outside of school and distinctly remembers an Iyengar class that left her on a higher plane, seeing new colours and experiencing otherworldly feelings.
Her father was a famous Italian journalist and TV personality. And while she was raised speaking Italian with her father and German with her mother, she didn’t feel fully connected to one culture or the other. After her father’s passing in 2000, she decided to take three months and live life as an Italian, certain she’d hate it. She ended up living in Rome for ten years.
While in Italy, she continued her yoga practice, trying several studios and maintaining a home practice as well. A yoga teacher she respected set up her own studio and while she was a student there, she indirectly learned about the business of yoga and how to run a successful studio. She continued to follow her acting, landing roles in various productions and a Ridley Scott film, in addition to setting up her own theatre company. But after ten years in Rome and with her life partner ready to move back to London, she returned to her mother city.
Over the course of the next years, pursuing her acting career in London, she slowly determined that the industry as a whole and the nature of the business no longer served her. Deciding a new direction for her life meant letting go of her identity as an actress and listening closely to her innermost voice.
She took a six-month foundation course with the British Wheel of Yoga, but found that she needed more. She embarked on an intensive 200-hour course with YogaLondon and found her home and her calling. Though she began the course absolutely certain that she didn’t want to teach yoga, within short order of graduating, she was teaching and was incredibly successful. Combining her genuine nature with years of well-practiced technique meant that her teaching resonated with students and allowed her to prosper. After short order, the School Director at YogaLondon was asking her to teach on a 200-hour course.
Sandra has been teaching at YogaLondon for a few years now. While she has many wonderful characteristics, it’s her love of learning and willingness to say “I don’t know” that inspires students most. In the yoga community and especially for students, it’s easy to fall into thinking that a guru knows everything and can solve all problems. Sandra’s joy in discovering aspects of yoga that she doesn’t know communicates to students that first and foremost, everyone is learning and everyone has the power to change.