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Bath @ work: Simona Hernandez – Yoga teacher

Our series of photographic portraits by Neill Menneer shows Bath people at work

I was born in the Canary Islands but when I was very young the family had to be evacuated to Morocco to escape Franco’s regime.

My parents returned to the UK and from when I was eight we lived in Godstone near Guildford. My mum told me I had bumble bees in my bum because I was so hyperactive. I especially loved to dance and went to the Clarice Chater School of Dance in Carshalton Beeches.

I wanted to take it further and was offered a dance place at university in Guildford. However, my parents wouldn’t fund a non-academic subject so I ended up doing the next best thing I could think of. This turned out to be psychology at London Guildhall University.

It was an amazing place as the college was near Brick Lane and this was before it became trendy. I went out with the drummer from Skin so they were crazy, happy days. I worked in St Thomas’ Hospital for a while, but after a serious car crash my life changed – in a good way. As part of the recovery a friend, Mora kept nagging me to do some yoga. I duly went along to Tooting Leisure Centre and rediscovered my love of movement. I absolutely took to it and in a very short while found myself in Rishkikesh, India learning more about the Yoga Sutras.

When I came home I easily found work teaching yoga and one class lead to another. Soon I was teaching all over the place. TriYoga, The Light Centre, Belgrave Dance Works and Dolphin Square are all places I’ve taught. This still didn’t impress my parents. My mum used to say: “You’ve done all this training to stand on your head.”

But yoga is more than this and similar to my original passion for dance as the positions and poses are reflective or expressive of feelings. The yoga pose comes from an intention of the heart. That’s what brings it to life. We can all live too much in our head and yoga allows feelings outward expression.

I met my husband, Simon through a yoga class. When our daughter, Poppy was born we decided to leave London as it was too expensive. Cambridge, Brighton or Bath, where should we go? Fortunately we chose the latter and we have been very happy here. I did miss a few things at first though, like Wagamama and TriYoga. There was no holistic yoga centre in Bath so I very quickly realised there was an important gap in the market and intended to remedy it. Finding the space in Bartlett Street (upstairs in the old Antique Centre) was fortunate as it is perfect and we are now expanding to create more studio space.

We have about 350 clients and teach a range of different yoga specialisms, including Amusara, Ashtanga Vimyasa, Bhavana, restorative, Mum and baby, post-natal and core fusion. We have also initiated a teacher training programme.

Bath is the perfect place to live and work. I’m always bumping into people I know and the walks around are really special. I particularly love mooching around in the countryside around Ford, finishing off with a meal in the White Hart.