Robin Watkins-Davis was the UK’s youngest yoga teacher when she qualified at age 16. As well as teaching privately and running classes in schools and prisons, Robin has just completed her second five-day yoga retreat at ACE Adventures.
“Yoga’s literally my whole life,” says Robin, “to be a really good instructor you have to embody the teaching as best you can but I don’t find it a challenge because I love it so much.” Robin even managed to incorporate her love of yoga into a project for art college: “I had giant pieces of Perspex and I covered myself in body paint and used the Perspex as a giant yoga mat to make this art.”
Robin also loves travelling and being in the outdoors and would like to run future yoga retreats around the world. “Last Christmas I lived by the River Franklin in Tasmania for 10 days. There were no people and we didn’t even have a tent, we were sleeping in caves or out under the stars. I was just completely attuned to nature.”
Robin was just 12 when she developed her passion for yoga and meditation while visiting her Dad in Scotland. She says: “I was a classic grumpy teenager and my Dad sent me down to the river to meditate every morning. It just transformed everything, including my ability to study well and get on with my family.”
Robin started doing yoga every day before school and trained as an instructor when she was 16. She’s particularly passionate about sharing yoga with young people and combining it with the outdoors. “The best part about my job is that it doesn’t really feel like work. By the end of teaching a yoga class I feel better than I did when I came in and there aren’t many jobs that give you that,” she says.
As an experienced yoga teacher with a 200-hour Shivananda Hatha Yoga qualification, Robin is used to teaching all abilities and has clients aged nine to over 60. She’s also completed specialist training with the Phoenix Prison Trust and runs classes at Eastwood Park Prison. Robin explains: “You have to be careful as lots of the prisoners have had quite challenging lives, lots of them are traumatised, so it’s a different type of yoga, more sensitive and specialised.”
Robin completed her second successful retreat at ACE Adventures this summer. “This retreat is back to basics,” she says “but I think there’s something quite beautiful about that because you’re not relying on all these extra comforts. The retreat really enables people to be still and find happiness without needing all of these extra things.”
“This year I want to focus on sharing yoga with young people while I’m still in that demographic,” says Robin, who’s planning to run another retreat at ACE next September and also hopes to do some travelling in Australia. As a passionate yoga advocate, Robin has also been invited to take part in a parliamentary group for Yoga and Society. “It’s only just formed but it’s exciting that the government is open minded to having more holistic therapies like yoga in hospitals, prisons, schools and businesses,” says Robin.