Skoti Pepper. Born 1987. Movement coach.
When and how did you start yoga?
I went to one of those hot yoga places, it was pretty cool. That was back in 2009, when I was still raving, so the superficial day-to-day version of me was little a distracted for me to take up the regular practice. However, I definitely anchored to it in some way because over time it became gradually more ingrained the more I discovered the different types and different teachers. I'd definitely encourage folk folk to find different teachers to find the one that resonates.
What style of yoga do you practice?
To be honest, I don't particularly have one style that I keep myself too. I generally lean towards Ashtanga, Prana and Yin, but I like to throw in a bit of calisthenics as well. To me yoga is truly practiced when you are being with what comes around on the mat, sometimes I spice up with inversions but other times I'm doing some deep long stretching, then other times I utilise to spiritually connect in my own personal interpretation of that.
How has it changed your life?
It is one of the few forms of movement that continuously teaches you to just breathe through all that you do. Weaving that in to every other way I move, both physically and mentally has been subtly profound. Whether I need to mentally take something on or scale something gnarly, I just check in with my breath, it shows me what I need to see and process.
What is your most memorable yoga moment?
The first time I experienced what is was like to be being the physical object that was consciously experiencing the centrifugal and centripetal systems moving through my body. That moment of pure balance, stillness and observation of that whole experience, along with the simplicity of all that will probably stay with me. Maybe that's why I came to love inversions.
What makes a great yoga teacher?
I see teaching as facilitating a space for people to explore what they are there to understand. Work with structures, but don't be bound. To find a way of sharing your teaching in a way where the student pulls the teaching from within their own self. Teachers, when they force the situation, can end up banging their head against brick walls. All you can do is provide the space for people to tuck in to what is on offer, guide them, but ultimately we have to be comfortable with the idea the lessons are things that the students come to by their own way of conducively ascertaining the information up for grabs.
What is your favourite pose and why?
Scorpion pose (Vrschikasana), I'll be honest, it plays to my strengths and I really enjoy how the body goes into it and out of it. I also dig the various ways you can move when you are hanging up there.
What do you do when not doing yoga?
Work keeps me pretty busy, you know. But if not that, I'm working on animal movement, gymnastics, calisthenics, meditation or whatever. Also, I'm pretty big on nature, so that gets thrown into the mix too. Also, there is a volunteer aspect to my business, so we are tucking into some pretty chunky projects at the moment.
I also have a bit of a mistress on the side too; TED Talks.
What are you listening to?
Anything Nahko Bear or Trevor Hall touch, apparently. Some of the most thought provoking, uplifting, moving and nurturing lyrics I've come across.
What are you reading?
I've got three books on the go: two are on hormones and how our body functions in that respect and another is Tao Te Ching, I have small stoic practise with that book. I'll read a page after meditating in the morning, just to give my brain something to muse as I go about my day.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Taller. Tarzan. Filthy rich, so I can do some really cool stuff and bring about some healing to the world around me in the way I understand through co-creation, education, personal development and looking after those critters living amongst the trees.
If you could be any animal in the world, what would you choose?
I'd love to be a red deer, though I feel I'm more cut out to be a chimpanzee or bonobo. Bonobos have got it going on.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Probably Shia Labeouf, he is a bit weird, but my kind of weird.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Cacao brownies, UH! Feed me. South Park...yeah, I like South Park.
When are you happiest?
When I am out in nature with no agenda other than just being there, with food, maybe a fire. Also, when I'm around folk who are coming from a place of passion, authenticity, love and integrity... You can't blag that stuff, and it does stuff to my happy hormones when I am around it.
What is your greatest fear?
Running out of food. I'm sad thinking about it now. Thanks for this question.
Where would you go if you could time travel?
Probably that amazon rainforest - imagine being able to apply yourself to that environment. I think my sensory side would be most challenged and pleased. And, I kinda like trees (I'm all the stereotypes).
Why should people do yoga?
If they find the right teacher, they will soon find out for themselves, assuming they are willing to surrender themselves to it. I'm not one to use the word 'should', but you know, as we get older, we have to call upon what is going to serve us in the long run. But what do I know?! I just like to crawl around, smell of incense and plan my next meal.
Tell us something we don't know.
I like to spin fire around and bounce/beat it off my body. Don't worry, it's not part of some bizarre cult that I may or may not be attached to. It is just pretty cool and mesmerising - I like cool and mesmerising. My people call this Fire Poi, my 'cool' mates call it stupid, but they like a lot of reality TV so I'd say we are even.
You can check out Skoti's teaching schedule at www.wearefera.com or @wearefera on Instagram.