Hi – my name’s Brendan Murphy. I’m the Founder of Shanti Warrior Yoga. I thought you might like to know a little bit about my journey up until this point…
I started practising Yoga in 2006 (at the age of 25), as a way to prevent injuries that kept recurring in the gym. I had several football-related injuries when I was younger (I had to stop playing football at a competitive level when I was around 15), and the cartilage damage that I had done to my knees had a lasting effect. I’d heard that Yoga was good for injury prevention and rehabilitation, so I gave it a go. I haven’t looked back since!
When I first went into the Yoga class, I was lucky enough to have the amazing Ann-See Yeoh (Founder of the “My Kind of Yoga” school) as my first teacher. I can remember how self-conscious and silly I felt. As a young man, I felt a bit weird walking into a room of ladies who were possibly twice my age – yet who I couldn’t keep up with. I thought – “There’s definitely something in this…”
I stuck with it, on and off at first. I wasn't very happy in my personal life at this point, either. I’d heard that Yoga was good for stress-relief, too - so that was another reason to keep at it. I definitely felt calmer and more content after I’d done a Yoga class. I liked lifting weights – and I still do – but the feeling that I got through Yoga was different. Even though it was strenuous, and challenging, it felt less punishing, and more nourishing...
I carried on with various different teachers, more and more consistently, for around 7 years. I felt better within myself, and found that I couldn’t wait to get to out of work and go to the class. I was really stressed in my job (as a BBC broadcast journalist), and found that my Yoga class was one of the main things that stopped me from literally pulling my hair out…I’m not exaggerating - I’d sometimes wake myself up doing that…It was a high-pressured, cut-throat business, with very anti-social working hours – and I wasn’t really enjoying it any more…I found myself becoming more and more drawn to that feeling of being “in” Yoga…
One Saturday morning, in 2013, I turned up to my Yoga class and there was no teacher there. The regular teacher hadn’t turned-up - and this wasn't the first time that this had happened with this class. I went to complain to the reception desk. I was fuming, to be honest...I was feeling so exhausted and stressed, and I knew that I would feel better if I could just do some Yoga...
”Can’t you get someone else to cover the class?!” I asked…
”No, sorry...", came the reply. "Yoga teachers are like gold-dust around here.".
This was my lightbulb moment!
“I’ll become a Yoga teacher, then!”
(CONTINUED BELOW IMAGE)
and no real gentleness without strength...
- Brendan Murphy
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
I got in touch with Anne-Marie Newland at Sun Power Yoga, and decided to do my teacher training with her. I went on a 3-week intensive course in Turkey, submerging myself in the practise. There were tears, laughter, and a heck of a lot of sweat! We had to be in meditation from 05:45 in the morning, and we sometimes wouldn’t finish until 20:00 at night. It was really tough, but a great grounding in what it takes to be a Yoga teacher.
I returned to the UK, and after another 6 months of study and practise every night, I gained my Yoga teacher qualification.
I began teaching part-time, and built my business slowly. I decided to call the business Shanti Warrior Yoga. “Shanti” is Sanskrit for “Peace”. As I’m sure you’ll agree - it’s often a struggle to find inner peace (hence the “Warrior” element to the name). If there’s anything worth fighting for, it’s peace.
After a couple of years, I went full-time teaching Yoga, and went part-time at the BBC. I did my advanced (500 hour) Yoga Teacher training in 2016. Gradually, I was able to support myself solely by teaching Yoga.
I am a lucky man to have found Yoga. It’s not always easy – and, like anyone else in any job, there are days when I don’t feel like doing it. But it’s not just a job – it’s a way of life. The philosophy and poetry of it all, as well as the physical practise and discipline of it, guide me every day.
My Mum was a natural philosopher. She always seemed to have the perfect saying for every situation. She had little mantras that would give me something to cling to when I felt like I was going to be overwhelmed by whatever storm was around me. One of my favourite’s was her saying for our family – “Small, but powerful!”. Essentially, this encapsulated the idea that – even though there’s not a lot of our clan (and we’re not the tallest family either) – we are powerful when we pull together.
I believe this with all my heart. Small changes can make big differences.
If you become part of the Shanti Warrior Yoga family, you’ll find that out for yourself.