Kate Oppel at work sculpting

Kate Oppel, Vani Devi Autobiography

I was born in Berkshire in 1944 and studied singing, drama and guitar at the Guildhall School of Music in London during the 60s. I taught the guitar in schools, part-time, until I was 72. I still have a few private pupils, teach group singing with adults with special needs and do the occasional live performance.

In my early 40s I returned to my "first love", the visual arts. I started to make models out of clay, make moulds of them in latex and silicon rubber and re-produce them in plaster. I also took up Yoga, following the advice of a Harley Street speech therapist. I had a consultation with her about my speech hesitation which worsened while I was going through a divorce. She said "I can't do anything for you but I suggest you take up Yoga".

When both my children left home I started working part-time with adults with special needs. By this time I was involved with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Fulham, London. I took my Yoga Teachers Training Course in the Bahamas in 1998. I started teaching at Cannons Health Club, now Nuffield Health, in the same year and am still teaching there. I also taught in village halls around Newbury and Yoga and Meditation at Inglewood Health Farm until it closed down in 2004. I now teach six classes a week in the Newbury area.

My work with special needs clients led me into the field of Mental Health. I started teaching at Resource in Reading in 2001. This is a drop in centre for supporting people whose lives have been disrupted by mental health problems. I also taught at Prospect Park Hospital and Reading Prison.

While I have been teaching I have continued my training. I took my advanced Yoga Teacher training course in Canada in 2001 and Sadana Intensive (working through the Pranayama of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika) in the Himalayas in 2004 and in France in 2005 and 2007.

Nowadays I am more "broad based" and feel I have a vast yogic world on my doorstep. We are very blessed in the south of England to have access to wonderful teachers of philosophy and different styles of posture work, including Dru, Iyengar, Astanga and the workshops organised by the British Wheel of Yoga. There are many opportunities that we are spoilt for choice. All these influences have found their ways into my Yoga sequences.

This website is a result of my continuing juggling with my music, art and yoga.