PARACHUTE MAN . SOULFUL SURFER . MODERN GURU . YOGI.
Name: DUNCAN PEAK
Hometown: COUNTRY NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA
Current town: BYRON BAY / SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Yoga practice style: ALL OF IT (CURRENT FAVOURITE: STRONG & SLOW VINYASA & SEATED MEDITATION)
What’s your story? Wow, the never ending story of Duncan! In short, I was taught yoga by my second family as a teenager to deal with grief after losing many close friends from a crazy life. I got into physical asana as a recovery from a life-threatening injury (ruptured duodenal ulcer) suffered serving as an officer in the parachute regiment of the Australian Army. I opened up my first yoga studio - Australia's first contemporary vinyasa studio - in 1994. Since, with nine of my friends/students, I have opened or joined up to create 9 Power Living Australia Yoga studios, also branching out into New Zealand. About 14,000 people grace our studio floors each week… I feel blessed to be able to run a business with my friends, headline festivals and other cool events and be a vessel to deliver my craft in a powerful way.
We have over 120 employees now, and it heals and supports so many people. I feel blessed to have the karma that allowed me to do this and so stoked to have done this with many of my students and good friends. I want the business to be shared by the people who have worked hard to get us here, and run in a way that truly serves the community, and its awesome to see our teachers and employees finding prosperity with their dharma - their calling! We give back about 10% of our profits each year to many charity projects, including mental health, prison liberation and supporting people who work with indigenous cultures.
I’ve been training teachers about 10 years and practicing myself for 20. I meditate most days and focus on living my Yoga in all my relationships and dealing with mother nature. Asana is a tool for me to sit longer, sort my mind out and recover from long surfing sessions. We have 200hr and 500hr teachers training courses and we have graduated over 1000 people, from all over the globe thus far. We focus heavily on understanding the mind to reduce suffering and improve spiritual progress, breaking down karmic seeds that have holds on us (vasana).
I am a passionate surfer, travelling the globe looking for that illusive experience of getting barrelled in mother natures wrath. I love acoustic guitar and harmonica and play a bit. Turn my hand to a few martial arts, love gardening with my beautiful partner in our amazing beach backyard. I love design, renovating houses, being creative and helping people wake up to their potential. I’ve spent a lot of years working really hard, serving students and business partners as best I can, and now I am enjoying taking breath, balancing lifestyle with progress and allowing another stage of my life to unfold and practice deepen. I feel blessed and deserving, free and committed and content with all I am
What did you want to be growing up? A rockstar… why not!
How would you describe yourself? I try not to; I let others do that. I just simply am… Although i get tangled in identity at times...
How would others describe you? Loyal, honest, hardworking, maybe serious! Big hearted and funny, too… and a bit of an entertainer.
How would your mother describe you? Amazing, she just loves me… We have so much love for each other..
What do you most value in others? Loyalty, honesty, creativity and a good dose of prana that lights up a room! I like characters that know themselves; people who can be trusted and real.
When did you last cry? What was it over? Three days ago, in a deep conversation with my partner, as we both cleared heaps of stuff from our psyches…
Is there anything you preach but don’t practice? Not really, I know I get stereotyped but I don’t mind what others do. I want people to be happy; it’s their path so I don’t tend to preach dos and don’ts. I do my best to be a good person and do my best to always practice what I preach, but it’s all a practice so I go easy on myself - I find I have the energy to do more that way. I’m a big work in progress, like anybody else, but I am ok with that. I have a good heart.
We’ve all done a few things we aren’t too proud of, care to share one? I spent many years being hard on myself, abusing drugs and not honouring my potential inside me… I’ve let good relationships go because of pride getting in the way.
Favourite meal? Fresh veggies! Vibrance in all its forms!
Favourite drink? Green smoothie- and then maybe a cold beer at the right time… Ahh after a 5-hour surf session in the sun… I know, a bit of a contradiction from above ahh!
Favourite book? ‘Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. This book changed my life 11 years ago, and it’s good to see that it has so much impact on others, too… we are not our thoughts!
Ok, let’s talk about yoga, how’d you get into it? As I mentioned above, it was primarily to deal with stress, grief and being a young, ego-driven male. I had to do something; I was one screwed up kid!
What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing? Being consistent - like any practice - any meditation - you have to keep coming back, and I know that was a challenge for me at first.
Interviewed: May 20th, 2016
Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA LLC