Nicci Cloete Annette

Mother of two, yoga instructor, wife, infant massage teacher, sister, daughter, friend, quasi-vegetarian, animal lover, wanna-be domestic goddess and work in progress. Learning how to be kind to myself and saying ‘yes’ to life despite everything (thanks Victor Frankl). Counting my blessings on a daily basis, and loving the way that yoga strengthens my body and my spirit. My yoga journey started in 1997 with Johan Kotze in my home town, Stellenbosch, South Africa. I was at university, in a relationship that was (sadly) going nowhere, and to my delight, found that this space – both physically, in terms of the studio, and within my own head – was precisely what I needed to bring myself into the moment, to get a clearer look at who I was, and gain perspective on what I wanted from my life.  At a time in my life when I was eagerly seeking clarity and a glimpse of how to move forward, I found yoga. It calmed me down, helped me to start believing in myself, made me trust that there was a power far greater than myself, and to ultimately make some decisions that changed the course of my life. It also gave me abs of steel, but that was just an added bonus. I left South Africa to see a bit of the world and, over the course of the next ten years or so, practiced on and off. Whilst working fulltime in London, sneaking off during my lunch hour for one 45 minute yoga class a week was sometimes the most I got to do, but it was when I moved to Southern California in 2006 that I really fell head over heels (literally and physically) with the practice. Living in Laguna Beach, with access to literally dozens of studios, styles and levels of classes to choose from, I embraced it. When I attended an intensive Teachers’ Training Immersion course in Santa Monica in 2007 with Patti Quintero and Billy Asad, I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life, and after returning to South Africa and having my two beautiful children, I had the opportunity to finally do what I had been dreaming of for so long: train as a yoga teacher. My YTT (200 hours) training was with Anne and Martin Combrinck at Ananda Sanga in Somerset West, and it has truly been the life-transforming experience that they predicted it would be. I met some wonderful people who I hope to keep in my life as I get older and wiser, and it allowed me to deepen my practice and take my knowledge of this ancient discipline to a level far deeper than I’d known before. In November 2011, I achieved my certification for specialised prenatal (pregnancy) yoga teachers’ training, and I am so excited about tapping into the ever-so-special world of pregnancy from a yoga perspective: from trying to fall pregnant, to working throughout the pregnancy (preparing the body and the mind for the whole pregnancy experience as well as what lies ahead), the birth process and beyond (coming back to class after the birth). As an internationally certified infant massage instructor, this dovetails perfectly with the space that I am already in: being entrusted by mums to work closely with them and their babies during what tends to be a fairly emotional and vulnerable, yet euphoric, time of life. The wonderful thing is that the more I learn, the more I realise how much I still have to learn. Long may the journey continue. Website: Facebook: Yoga With Nicci Twitter: @YogaWithNicci

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