About me

Lesley Durke, Yoga Teacher & Sports Coach

Enjoyment of movement has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As the daughter of a gymnast-turned-coach, I had my first leotard before I was born and started attending gymnastics classes aged 3. I trained and competed in gymnastics for over 20 years and have also enjoyed other sports and activities including various forms of dance, 100m sprint training, karate, badminton and various keep fit classes as well as having a go at canoeing, rock climbing and golf.

Yoga has helped me physically, emotionally and mentally…

Yoga was something that came into and went out of my life periodically for many years until, having just gone through the traumatic break-up of a relationship, I realized that my Yoga class was not only keeping me strong and flexible but was also benefitting me mentally and emotionally. This realization gave me the desire to learn more and was later the catalyst to my studying to teach Yoga (Yoga Alliance 200 hour) and more recently to qualify as a Yoga Sports Coach™ with Yoga Sports Science ®.

A medical background has given me empathy and compassion…

Professionally, I have had two main careers. More recently in horticulture but prior to that, 12 years as a Hospital-based Clinical Pharmacist specializing in Trauma and Surgical Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Chest Diseases. My Pharmacy degree and Post Graduate Clinical Diploma gave me a good understanding of Human Physiology which provided a strong basis for learning anatomy during my Yoga qualifications and being able to apply that knowledge in a practical way. My career in the NHS has also given me empathy and compassion as well as a passion to do something positive for others.

Yoga’s application and benefit in top level sport…

As someone trained in Western Medicine, Yoga constantly astounds me in the ways that it can physically and emotionally benefit the health and well-being of an individual. Yoga’s application and benefit in sport has only recently been recognized and studied however it is now widely used at professional level, for example the All Blacks Rugby Team, German and Dutch National Football Teams and some Premiership Clubs and footballers. Some of our Olympians and Paralympians are also keen advocates of Yoga, such as UK Diving Team, Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Looking back, I often wish I had known about Yoga during my gymnastic career as I feel sure that it could have helped me develop better endurance and better strength, flexibility and balance as well as prevent injuries that have had a long-term effect on my body.