Teresa Gane

Picture of Teresa Gane
Teresa Gane

When a friend persuaded me to try yoga for the first time, I went up to him at the end of the session and asked: “I don’t get it, who wins?!” I came from a background where competitive sport (sailing and tennis) was part of family and school life, it took me years to realise that some non-striving is okay.

I think this moment slowly set me on a mindful path and I ended up doing an MBCT course at the Brighton Buddhist centre, for myself for low mood. I loved the course and knew that it was what I wanted to teach – I had been a trainer for years and loved my work but had never loved the subject. Now I’d found it. I did the TTO1 at Trigonos in 2008 and the memories of that special week are still very clear. I eventually gave up my job teaching IT to visually impaired people, to fulfil my aim of being a freelance mindfulness trainer.

That’s where I feel at home somehow, sitting in different circles, learning from everyone – teachers, participants, fellow trainees – and being held by the group. This is also how it feels at The Mindfulness Network – although we all work remotely there is this strong camaraderie which perhaps stems from working for something bigger than oneself with the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness practice underpinning it.

Teaching has always been around for me: my mum (a widow from when I was three-years old) was a secondary school French teacher, worked very hard and gave us everything she could. I was born and brought up in Zimbabwe until we emigrated to England when I was six, so in the long holidays we would go back to visit family. I thought this was totally normal at the time – camping safaris or horse-riding with zebras milling around. I always felt Zimbabwe was my home and found it so hard to come back to the UK each time. This returning back to Africa is something I have continued to do, having taught in Uganda and Nigeria and plans are always on the table to go back in some capacity.

Travelling has been a significant part of my life and I worked on luxury yachts for most of my twenties, doing three trans-Atlantic crossings, working in the Caribbean and then sailing across the Pacific to New Zealand. There is nothing like being at sea for weeks, the rhythm of natural time, having dolphins and whales around the board. In New Zealand, I ended up doing a TEFL course as someone said I’d make a good teacher, so I taught in Auckland before moving to Queensland, Australia for a year.

And now, back in the UK since 1999, I’m happy to have put roots down here, on the edge of the South Downs, as a single mum with my daughter. The practice as always is there for the joyful, the difficult, the sad times but stepping into these moments is rich and humbling and filled with gratitude because of the kindness of so many.