About Rebecca Ffrench
Rebecca is a dancer, yoga teacher, traveler, philosopher and cheese fanatic. Each of these attributes supplement the other aspects, even the cheese!
She grew up in a suburb of London, with an English father and a Spanish mother whom blessed her with a stable anchor from which to grow. From a young age, she was interested in philosophy, and would often make up her own theories. One of the profound thoughts she had as a seven year old: 'As long as we are happy individually, then the world is a happier place.'
She was introduced to dance at age of three. Whether it was ballet, contemporary, jazz or tap, she performed it. While dancing and performing took up most of her life, she found time to also participate in tennis, piano, and RAF cadets. And though she pondered becoming a bank manager when she was eight, and later a librarian because she liked the organization cards, and even a psychiatrist in her teens, when it was time to choose a university, she decided to commit herself to dance. She auditioned for one of the most prestigious dance academies in London and was accepted to the London Contemporary Dance School.
When she was in her late teens, she started working in a local gym. It just so happened that the gym had recently hired an Ashtanga teacher. The teacher was incredibly unique and for Rebecca, who took to yoga like a duck to water, she seemed to float. As a dancer, she'd been primed to use her body in a physical way, and yoga immediately made complete sense to her.
Throughout her years at university, she incorporated yoga into her life. She would use yoga as a warm-up before dance, which kept her body from being injured. And while dance was her focus, Rebecca was continuously drawn to philosophy. During those early years, she began acquiring the vast library she has now. Her first book was the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, as well as David Swenson's yoga manual, not to mention the staple "Light on Yoga" by B.K.S. Iyengar. Her library would grow from here...
Following graduation, Rebecca took off to South-East Asia and Australia with two friends and spent the next four months exploring that part of the world. It was her first time traveling extensively outside of Europe and it completely opened her eyes. Her curiosity and interest in other cultures had been a source of fascination to her when she was young, and now she was experiencing these cultures up close and personal. It was a turn-around moment for her, and travel would henceforth be a priority in her life.
When she returned to London to audition, she was immediately cast in a show in South Korea. She took off and lived abroad for eight months, learning how to live with a new language, new culture, new etiquette. Thus started a career working in dance whilst traveling and exploring a series of new countries and cultures.
During her dance career, yoga became a mainstay for Rebecca. She incorporated yoga into her warm-up for dance, thus limiting the injuries most dancers endure. She also used the down-time between shows to read the philosophical texts and learn what lay beyond the physical poses.
As she was nearing the end of her dance career, it was very clear to Rebecca that yoga would be her next big adventure. With travel and a keen interest in 'It's Yoga', founded by Larry Schultz, she flew to San Francisco to take the first of many teacher trainings. Like many YogaLondon trainees, she was scared before her training. Would she be good enough, did she have what it took to be a yoga teacher? She quickly discovered that with her interest in philosophy, her dancer's flexibility and discipline, coupled with her knowledge of anatomy, being a yoga teacher suited her perfectly. She moved back to London and began teaching straight away.
Once back in London, she taught all over the city. She worked in gyms, in studios. She set up her own classes and taught privates clients. She was employed at universities and at medical universities, teaching at UCL and London School of Economics. She also furthered her training. She studied Yoga Nidra with the Satyananda School, and did a pregnancy teacher training course with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. She traveled to Chennai, India to learn vedic mantra chanting, and completed a Rocket Yoga teacher training.
Given her depth of knowledge, her personality, and teaching experience, many of her students began to inquire about a teacher training. She directed them towards other programmes, but students kept asking why she couldn't teach them herself. During this time, she and Edward Serrano, an American friend of hers who had experience in starting new companies, began discussing how a teacher training would be possible. He had marketing know-how and she had teaching know-how. With their two skill sets and a keen interest in creating a more organic form of yoga teacher training, YogaLondon was born.
The first teacher training was a 3-month training with 16 students. She felt the euphoria of teaching, as well as the nervousness. When graduation came around, her students gifted with a package of Parisian cheese, knowing her fondness for cheese! That first group proved to her that she was home; training others how to teach yoga was her Dharma.
Rebecca has continued her trainings, completing a new training nearly every year. Paul Dallaghan is her sadhana and pranayama teacher. David Keil is her anatomy and asana teacher. For her philosophy teachings though, she's gone the extra mile. She's completed a Masters Degree at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in the Traditions of Yoga & Meditation. There, she studied Sanskrit with Jim Mallinson. She's delved into the development of yoga in ancient India, as well as the development of meditation in Buddhism, Taoism and Zen. The first time she walked into their library, she nearly cried. Perhaps her younger self who had longed to be a librarian was deeply touched.
These days, Rebecca is happily directing YogaLondon, developing well-rounded tutors, the best training courses and memorable experiences for students. During the winter breaks and summer holidays, she can be found absorbing other trainings, delving deeper still into yoga. She still teaches for YogaLondon on occasion, sharing with students her passions on the history of yoga, as well as the philosophy. When she's not teaching, you can be sure she'll happily discuss philosophy, whilst eating cheese, in some fantastically obscure country, exploring and learning to her heart's content.