Copyright Camilla Mendes 2016
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In 2007,

while studying to be a Bachelor of Music in the UK Stefan's wise older brother gifted two inspirational books. First, "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hahn, on the beauty & simplicity of life with more awareness. From the first chapter the author encourages conscious breathing, a habit which remained with Stefan for the rest of the book and increasingly in life. The second was, of course a simple book on yoga and pranayama, a basic manual which he absorbed and passed on before remembering the title. Probably his first yoga instruction would then have been, "read this and then do it, it's great".

Initially the practice was serving well as a cure to muscular pain from playing Soccer, Squash, Surfing, Rocking Out and doing Judo. After some short time he realised that the practice was not just relieving bodily aches and pains, but emotional suffering too. In those fleeting moments on the mat he started to notice peculiar states in his body such as feeling outside himself, like he was experiencing himself for the first time and more and more often a relief from constant noise in the mind. 

 

He took classes for a while in Cardiff with his first Guru, Buddhist yoga instructor Padamasima, continually developing breath awareness and ridding himself of bad habits. In London taking a deeper interest in meditation alongside yoga and exploring the many talented teachers the capital had to offer, he began attending the Shambhala Centre.

Before moving to Australia in 2013 he was hit by a car whilst cycling and sustained a spinal injury. Thankfully he had an Indian doctor during his recovery who had also healed his own back pain with regular Surya Namaskar yoga practice. Stefan's own injury proved to be a blessing in disguise, bringing him into a necessary regular yoga practice and lifting his spirit all the while. 

After teaching everyone that requested on witnessing him practice, in 2014 Stefan became a Yoga Alliance qualified instructor in Melbourne taking regular classes of up to thirty students in Hot Mindful Yoga at Grassroots Richmond, St Kilda & the Mornington Peninsula.

 

His teaching style like his practice is strong, slow and methodical. He recognises his student's abilities and gives a challenge where necessary. Challenge often manifests through a desire to achieve physically, so this precise point is best to give the yogi gifts of meditative states. It's here we find pure awareness through gratitude and surrender. His main goal is creating an atmosphere of sharing and learning insights from study and practice of yoga and meditation. 

Since 2015 Stef has been teaching in Philipines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India whilst following another dream of surfing in exotic places. Remaining part nomad, he is based in Manchester, England teaching privates and travelling internationally hosting and participating in retreats and workshops.

 

In his other lives he worked in London assisting in soundtrack creation for movies like Chris Morris' Four Lions and Richard Ayoade's Submarine. He also worked as a professional composer for a number of UK years whilst based in Cardiff and London making music for theatre and television shows. This keenly trained ear guides him sometimes to mantra, singing bowls and other forms of sound delights when teaching meditation, sound healing.