Antigone‘s yoga students call her Tiggy. With an Indonesian mother and an international upbringing, it makes sense that Tiggy incorporates both Eastern and Western traditions into her yoga classes at Navutu Dreams’ Yoga studio. Growing up in Dubai before studying in Sydney and becoming a tour guide in New Zealand and Southeast Asia, Tiggy has combined her love for travel and yoga in such a unique way, she is the only person who can do justice to her outlook on yoga – not as exercise, but rather, as a way of life.
We sat down with Tiggy last week before she jetted off to Turkey for a month. Don’t fret, Tiggy fans: she will be back to teaching yoga at Navutu in a month!
Q: With all your traveling, how did you come to Siem Reap, Cambodia?
“I taught ESL in Bangkok 15 years ago. In 2008 I had a beautiful apartment in Australia and I sold it all to work in Afghanistan. After that, I began leading tours in Luang Prabang, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam. I came out to Cambodia to visit a friend who leads tours in Siem Reap. The longest I’ve stayed in town before is five days.”
“I don’t have a five year plan because I wouldn’t be open to what’s in front of me.”
Q: What is your Yoga background?
“Well I started practicing yoga 20 years ago. I’ve got the piece of Yoga Alliance certificate paper, but real training for yoga comes through practice – and being taught by very good teachers. Simon is my most revered teacher. He has a Masters degree in physiology, so he knows bodies and has studied Chinese meridian work.”
Q: So how does that affect the actual practice of yoga?
“Well what we so often call yoga is actually asana, and it’s been passed down from Indian male to Indian male for hundreds of years. Growing up as a westerner, we sit more than Indians. Our leg and pelvis muscles are different from Indian bodies, so asana needs to be augmented to suit our Western bodies.”
Q: So is it possible to define what kind of yoga you teach?
Q: That sounds like a pretty unique yoga class. How do you incorporate Buddhist themes into your classes?
“Last week the theme was suffering: How to deal with suffering, and understanding that it is always there. Suffering leads you to compassion and wisdom. I asked my students to contemplate whether you can be in harmony with your suffering.“
Q: What do you want your students to get out of your class?
“I just hope they leave the room feeling better than when they walked in. It was scary when I first started teaching because I wanted to give as much to my students as my teacher gave to me.”
“The point of asana is so you can sit and meditate. My meditation practice over the last five years has been very transformational. I hope to start a Sangha – a Buddhist word for community – when I come back to Siem Reap next month. We meet for 30 minutes of sitting and meditating, and 30 minutes reading from text, taking turns. I’m a dharma talk junkie, so I’d like to find an English-speaking monk to join us.”
“I want to visit every country in Asia. I’ve probably been to… 10 to 12 out of 48 so far.”
Q: What is the best part of teaching yoga at Navutu Dreams and here in Siem Reap?
“The grounds, the yoga studio. It’s gorgeous…peaceful. Just getting to the studio gets you in the mood. Most of us are missing intimacy with nature, and it is thrust upon you while you walk to class past the gardens.”
Q: What is your favorite free time activity?
“Swimming at Navutu. And some food afterwards. Probably the stir fried rice noodles with chicken.”
Q: What should I do in Siem Reap if I am visiting for the first time?
For more information on Tiggy, you can come join her for a yoga class at our wellness retreat in Southeast Asia.