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James Russell MA, Dip DSY

I'm a yoga teacher based in the UK. I've been practising yoga in one shape or form for over 23 years, and I've been teaching yoga since 2007. I'm a tutor for the Devon School of Yoga and teach on the school's 500-hour, two-year teaching diploma.

My yoga journey.

I first became interested in yoga while backpacking in India, Thailand and Laos in the winter of 1999/2000. After returning home, I began experimenting with yoga, Tai Chi and meditation. I shared a house with a friend who is a Hare Krishna devotee. He sparked my interest in bhaktiyoga and encouraged me to attend my first haṭhayoga class. By the end of the class, I knew that I'd found what I'd been searching for. I discovered a profound experience of peace in the simple act of breathing deeply in a yoga posture. I also found that a chronic injury in my leg felt considerably eased after just one class. So I kept on going back to class each week and began practising each day on my own. I tried many different yoga classes at this time before meeting Duncan Hulin, with whom I would regularly study for the next 22 years.

In 2001, I moved to Plymouth to study Art and design at The College of St Mark & St John (MARJON). I was fortunate to attend weekly haṭhayoga classes with Mikel Burley, who was teaching near the university. In this way, I sustained an interest in and practice of haṭhayoga. After completing my degree, I secured a job in further education and, in the holidays, began making regular trips to India to study yoga more deeply.

In 2007, I completed a British Wheel of Yoga Foundation course taught by the wonderful Sonya Armstrong. I travelled to India the same year and completed a yoga teacher training diploma at Yoga Vidya Gurukul near Nasik. When I returned to the UK, I was offered a class at a local yoga studio, and I began teaching. I enjoyed teaching a lot and soon began taking on other classes. I found that teaching yoga was far more fulfilling than my day job and that I could also earn a modest income in this way. So, in 2008, I left my job to become a full-time yoga teacher. I initially spent two months in India and Nepal practising yoga intensely. When I returned, I started teaching more classes and also completed the Devon School of Yoga two-year teacher training diploma.

I've been teaching yoga full-time since 2008. During this time, I've returned to India many times and also completed continued professional development in the UK. I've been fortunate to learn yoga from some incredible teachers in the UK and India. I've also studied yoga academically with world-renowned yoga scholars and, in 2023, completed a Masters's Degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation at SOAS, University of London.

I am currently pursuing further studies in Sanskrit at SOAS as an associate student.


2021-2023: MA: Traditions of Yoga and Meditation (Distinction)
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

2017: Yoga Therapy Diploma
Devon School of Yoga (250 hrs)

2013: Vinyasa Krama Diploma
Srivatsa Ramaswami

2009: Advanced Yoga Studies
Yoga Vidya Gurukul (India) (200 hrs)

2008-2010: Yoga Teaching Diploma
Devon School of Yoga (500 hrs)

2007: Yoga Teaching Diploma
Yoga Vidya Gurukul (India) (200 hrs)

2007: Foundation Diploma
British Wheel of Yoga (60hrs)

2006: Certificate in Further Education Teaching (7407)
City & Guilds, Exeter College

2001-2004: BA Hons Degree: Art, Design and Media Studies (1st Class) MARJON, University of Exeter

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Devon School of Yoga Teacher Training Logo
Devon School of Yoga Therapy Logo
Independent Yoga Network

About James

James is a yoga teacher & researcher who's practised yoga for 24 years. He holds an MA in Traditions of Yoga & Meditation from SOAS, University of London, where he specialised in premodern yoga.

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© 2024 James Dylan Russell