04 Mar Surf Coast Yogini & Extant Mermaid – Patchula Thompson
MSCL Talks Asana and the Ocean with Yoga Teacher – and Water Baby – Patch Thompson
I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living. ― Anaïs Nin – The Four-Chambered Heart
MSCL – Namaste Patch! It is so lovely to meet you – and thank you for your time. We’re thinking you’d far sooner be on the mat – or in the water?
PATCHULA – Oh, I could never choose between the two! But given that I can practise yoga every day, if the surf is good, I’ll prioritise being in the ocean. The feeling you get when looking down the line on a glassy wave is hard to beat.
MSCL – My Surf Coast Life would love to hear about Your Surf Coast Life!
PATCHULA – A day in the life of!? Haha! I teach yoga, and study Chinese medicine; so my days are pretty jam-packed. But I will always try to squeeze in a lovely beach walk with my dog – or a surf.
MSCL – Have you always lived on the Surf Coast?
PATCHULA – I grew up on Phillip Island. My dad owned a surf shop there. So I was brought up in the surf industry, surrounded by really inspiring people. We would often take trips to the Surf Coast for Dad’s business. And I used to compete – so we were always in between the two coasts. I moved over here permanently about five years ago, when I met my husband, Campbell – who is locally grown…☺
MSCL – And such a beautiful name – We’ve not heard it before.
PATCHULA – It is unique, for sure. And I’ve never heard it anywhere else either! My mum is Thai, so it’s an English version of a Thai name.
MSCL – Tell us about your day – your commitment to your practice, and the time that entails – and teaching? Do you practise a daily Sadhana?
PATCHULA – I do practise most days, in the studio or at home. We are so lucky at Yoke to have some of the best teachers in Australia, so it’s hard to resist a solid studio practice.
I teach 7-8 classes a week, which uses a lot of energy. So sometimes I opt for a really nourishing yin practice instead of a dynamic vinyasa – or a meditation.
MSCL – When did your love affair with yoga first begin? And who inspires you to continue?
It’s one thing to have the desire to follow the disciplined life demanded of the ‘authentic’ yogi; but another to actually walk the walk, and to talk the talk.
PATCHULA – Six years ago I was working in the corporate world in PR. Unknowingly, I suffered from anxiety. And I couldn’t work out why I was so unhappy. I was very insecure, and felt as if I was constantly trying to make others happy – but would never achieve this.
Things got to a point where my husband encouraged me to quit my job, and to focus on yoga. I’d been practising on and off for years. But for the first time in a long time, I suddenly had space. I dived into a teacher training course, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, as it lead me to where I am today.
MSCL – What are the foods that you feel enhance your lifestyle? Do you follow any particular dietary regime? What makes you glow so!
PATCHULA – Well, I love food! I feel great when I eat good, nourishing meals; and these change according to the season. In Chinese medicine, we believe a change in food choice and preparation is absolutely essential. In winter, I love porridge, soups, roasts. In summer, I love tropical fruits, mangos, papayas and salads. I eat lots of seafood. I guess my favourite meal would be a big bowl of mussels. My husband makes the best ones!
MSCL – Favourite place on earth? Or place you would like to visit in the future?
PATCHULA – In my early 20s, I lived in and travelled around Europe for two years. So whenever I get the chance to sneak in another trip, then that is my number one destination. I love the culture, the food, the history, and the languages.
Australia is such a young country, so walking down thousand-year-old cobblestone streets in Paris is jaw-dropping.
MSCL – Are you interested in furthering your teaching qualifications in the future – if you have the time, that is? If so, in what area?
PATCHULA – Yes, absolutely. As a teacher, you definitely become a little attached to learning more, training more, travelling more.
At the moment, I’m just focused on my Chinese medicine. I love being able to interweave this knowledge through my classes. In the future, I would love to run trainings and retreats that combine these two healing modalities.
MSCL – How do you spend your downtime? Any retreats coming up that you would like to attend – or are facilitating?
PATCHULA – Yes, actually! Aleisha – who also teaches at Yoke – and I are running our very first retreat – on 16 March – on Phillip Island. It’s structured around the Three Treasures of TCM – mind, essence and energy.
We will be staying in a stunning house on one of my favourite beaches. It will be such a beautiful weekend of yoga, meditation, Chinese and Indian philosophy – and delicious food. You should come along!
MSCL – Sounds divine. We won’t be ruling it out, that’s for sure! And such a great time to hold a retreat – between seasons. And love autumn – such a fresh-start, brave-new-world feeling comes with it. Time to turn a new leaf – or two – perhaps!
So what’s your take on the Westernisation of yoga?
PATCHULA – This is quite a tricky question, as I understand many yogis have different views on this.
I guess my view on it is that I truly respect the traditional teachings, and am fascinated by the teachings of different lineages. But I do believe that through thousands of years of Western research and science, we now know so much more about the physical body and the mind. And I do love seeing yoga evolve with this.
I think that in terms of alignment, we now know that some cues just don’t work for people, due to the structure of their bones – and that the teaching of ‘awareness’ should be more of a priority in class.
MSCL – Favourite question – We ask everybody this! What are you listening to right now? And reading? And watching?
PATCHULA – I wish I had more time to read! At the moment, I’m face deep in my anatomy text book. I have, however, just downloaded quite a few podcasts, including Sivana and Dave Asprey. They interview people in the yoga, wellness, nutrition and science industry, so I’m loving listening to those.
MSCL – If you could meet one yoga master only of your choosing, who would it be? He or she does not have to be living. And why?
PATCHULA – Well, if I could choose anyone, it would be Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga. He was a scholar and a healer. And I guess the original inspiration for the yoga I teach and practise – vinyasa yoga.
MSCL – On that – We’re pretty sure Krishnamacharya would have loved to have met you, too!
Thanks so much, Patch. It’s been a treat to talk with you. Your dedication to your art and lifestyle is an inspiration.
Surf Coast yogis are fortunate indeed to have access to such a highly motivated, internationally trained – and light-filled – teacher…
Follow Patch’s yoga journey –
@divine_journeys – Patch & Aleisha’s Yoga Retreat Page
Patch teaches at Yoke Yoga – Yoga of the Heart – Baines Crescent – Torquay