Here is a bit of my story…
I arrived in London at the age of 18, 30 years ago. I lived in Brixton initially and I didn’t know anybody there and I also didn’t speak the language that well. I felt scared and alone and had no support.
As you might guess those first few years in London were very challenging. You can imagine – 18 year old introverted anxious girl, on her own, without any adult supervision or support… well, let’s say these were my wild days. I made quite a few mad decisions that seemed perfectly good at the time. This time of my life had a great impact on the direction of my life – especially working with trauma and mental health.
My love affair with yoga began shortly after my arrival in London and since my first class I have felt an intense urge to learn more. Over the years I practiced with many teachers and various styles: Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga – Mysore style, Viniyoga, Mindfulness.
In my early 20s I started working with drug users in substance misuse field and my journey led me to work with chaotic drug users at a unique crisis detox service – City Roads Crisis Intervention Centre in London. It was a deep soul-searching time for me. Seeing first-hand what chaotic lifestyle and drug use can do to individuals and families is very humbling. It also taught me about how we create our own reality on a daily basis and how our early attachment impacts our choices and decisions. Our thoughts, feelings and actions create the life we live but sometimes we don’t feel like we have any control.
I learned that anyone can create positive results in her/his life ONLY if they commit to it, learn how to practice self-kindness, and have the right support.
During my 16 years of working in Social Care including City Roads Crisis Intervention Centre I attended many trainings as part of my work. I also trained outside of my work with The School of Energy Healing and completed my Diploma as Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Teacher. I taught my first yoga classes there and I brought my new knowledge into groups and workshops I facilitated daily for our clients. I also worked closely with Buddhist community and run weekly Loving-Kindness for Self Meditation sessions. It was fascinating to see how positively our clients were responding to these teachings.
I’ve been learning all my life. I ‘officially’ started on my journey of self discovery in 1996 when I attended City University to study Existential Counselling Skills, followed by Person-Centred Individual and Group Counselling One year Certificate. Since then I studied many therapeutic approaches and Psychology, Mental Health and Mental Health First Aid, Trauma Sensitive and Trauma-Informed Yoga and Care, Somatic Self-compassion, Movingness and Somatic Movement, Health and Social Care, Addictions, Family Dynamics, MI, NLP, Life Coaching, Wellness and Resilience Coaching, Reiki and Energy Healing. I have always been fascinated with psychology and how our minds affect our behaviours and our sense of well-being.
My search for for inner peace and connection led me to learning about and practicing daily Focusing (Embodied Listening) and training as Focusing Practitioner – a way to listen deeply with kindness to your inner wisdom, your body wisdom. I currently assist on Focusing trainings with a wonderful teacher Fiona Parr.
In my private practice I work one-to-one with clients in an integrative and needs-led way. This allows us to focus on their needs and their goals, and make little accumulative changes that are right just for them.
This means a deep transformation on an identity and wellbeing levels – more inner connection and self-acceptance, deeper sense of self-trust, self-compassions and empowerment, followed with daily nourishing practices and aligned action.
In practical terms it means sleeping better, eating the right diet just for them, having less aches and pains in their body and lots more ease flow and joy, leaving behind overwhelm, confusion and burnout.
For some of my clients that meant changing their jobs, for others more connection in their relationships. And for all it meant less stress, more joy and better quality of life. It’s such a privilege to witness those changes taking place in somebody’s life when they connect with their embodied wisdom and take steps to create the life they want.
Alongside of working full time in Social Care I also run for over 6 years a yoga studio in the centre of our town Ramsgate, Kent. And after 6 years I decided that it was a time for a change. I realised I needed to work with more freedom and flexibility. I also realised that my teaching was taking me more into therapeutic aspect of yoga with focus on embodiment and somatic and functional movement.
It’s important to me to create a thriving community and supportive space that is not confined by a physical reality of a building. Social isolation, depression and ill health are so prevalent in our community and so many of us struggle with them daily. We can all contribute to creating a safe and healing spaces for us all – wherever we are.
I believe self-kindness and compassion are vital keys to a deep sense of well-being and both can be cultivated through our daily yoga, mindfulness and embodiment practices, as well as through our relationships and contributions we make to our communities.
It was because of those practices and practicing self-kindness that allowed me to make healthy changes in my life and follow my dreams.
During the last two decades I trained in various modalities including Mindfulness yoga and meditation, Mindfulness and Yoga for Pain, Slow Embodied yoga, Yin/Insight yoga, Psychology and Counselling, Master NLP and NLP for Health and Wellbeing, Life and Wellness Coaching, breathwork, Energy Healing and Reiki Master, Somatics, embodiment practices, bodywork and Thai Yoga Massage. My latest shift in teaching was towards greater sense of ease and integration with Embodiment practices and Somatic Movement.
I continue my training and recently trained with Embodiment Unlimited and attended FEC Foundations of Embodiment and Embodiement Coaching Certification, Embodied Yoga Principles and facilitated Embodiment Circles Online on Trauma: Connections and Boundaries. My learning and teaching seems to have a natural flow and forward movement and I teach practices that I found deeply nourishing myself.
I also trained with Deirdre Fay in her course Becoming Safely Embodied Professional Consultation and Certification Programme, which allowed me to take my understanding and skills further.
I believe in social justice and worked in the Social Care field for over 16 years, with individuals and families struggling with trauma, addiction, mental health and child protection issues. In February 2016 I took a step towards living my life in line with my passion – I left my social care job and committed fully to teaching yoga, mindfulness and wellness.
This was a huge step for me and a big difference to how I practice and how I show up in my work and in my life. It’s opened many unexpected and fascinating opportunities to me – one of them is teaching Mindfulness and Resilience to young Apprentices around UK and working with young people with Porchlight charity.
I also realised I wanted to bring together my experience of working with trauma and mental health in Social Care and integrate it with teaching yoga and mentoring yoga teachers. I noticed that there is a need for more yoga teachers to learn trauma informed/aware skills in order to bring them into their teaching. Our current world situation asks more of us as teachers and requires us to step up as Embodied Leaders. This is why I created 80-Hr Trauma-informed Yoga and Embodied Resilience (TREY) Teacher Training and mentoring course for yoga teachers and therapists.
I am active within my community – I volunteer as Communications Officer for Soroptimist International Thanet group – our local women’s group that promotes human rights of women and girls. We contribute to local projects such as POW! (Power of Women), and work closely with charities like Oasis Women’s Refuge and Shelter. Our group became Chartered in 2019 as the youngest club in the world.
I’m registered Senior Yoga Teacher and Trainer with Yoga Alliance Professionals UK.
I’m a Founder of Golden Mandala Yoga-Soma Institute (previously Golden Mandala Yoga School), registered with YA Professionals UK, where I run accredited Trauma-informed Yoga Teacher Trainings and various CPDs on Trauma and Somatics.
I teach integrative and needs-led approach with Embodied Mindful Yoga and Mindfulness, Yin and Restorative Yoga, Somatic and functional movement, Inner Relationship Focusing, Embodied Resilience and Wisdom Coaching as well as Thai Yoga Massage Therapy with Myofascial Release.
I specialise in working with clients privately and in our sessions I bring together different modalities in response to client’s needs and goals/wishes.
The essence of my teaching is to guide you to listen deeply within with kindness and compassion to your own Embodied Wisdom, to create inner self-trust and confidence to allow you to move forward with ease and joy.
- 60 Hrs Foundation Course – BWY, Tara Fraser (2008)
- 228 Hrs Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Teacher – Mindfulness Yoga Education (2010)
- 80 Hrs Yin / Insight Yoga – Insight Institute, Sarah Powers (2015)
- Yoga and Mindfulness for the Treatment of Pain – The Minded Institute (2013)
- Yoga Therapy for Anxiety – The Minded Institute (2021)
- Yoga Therapy for Fatigue and Burnout – Fiona Agombar
- Movingness Teacher Training (Somatic Movement teacher training) – with Peter Appel (2021-2022)
- The Yoga and Neuroscience Connection – Subtle Yoga (2020)
- The Science of Slow – Subtle Yoga
- Thai Yoga Massage – Practitioner Diploma & Advanced Training – School of Thai Yoga Massage, Kira Balaskas
- Currently training to become a certified and ICF and CPD accredited Somatic and Narcissistic Trauma-informed Coach and certified in Trauma-informed Positive Psychology Coaching Method with Caroline Strawson and The Post Traumatic Growth Academy
- Polyvagal Theory – Dr Stephen Porges, Embodied Philosophy
- Neuroaffective Touch: A somatic toolkit for Healing Emotional & Relational Trauma – Aline LaPierre, Embodied Philosophy
- Focusing Skills Certificate – 5 Levels – Fiona Parr (2018-2019)
- Focusing Practitioner Professional Training – in-training with Fiona Parr, British Focusing Association (started 2019)
- Becoming Safely Embodied Certified Practitioner (BSE + PCCP) – Working with trauma – Deirdre Fay
- Transcending Sexual Trauma through Yoga – Zabie Yamasaki
- Somatic Approaches to Healing Trauma – Somatopia, Albert Wong
- Foundations of Embodiment (FEC) – Embodiment Unlimited, Mark Walsh (2020)
- Embodiement Coach (CEC) – Embodiement Unlimited (2021)
- Embodied Yoga Principles – Mark Walsh (in-training)
- Awaken your heart, creativity and wisdom – Tara Brach
- Mindfulness and Compassion – Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield
- Reiki Master + 2 years with School of Energy Healing, London (2004)
- Introduction to Existential Counselling (1995)
- Certificate in Person-Centred Counselling and Groupwork – City University, London (1996)
- Gestalt Groupwork, Gestalt Institute + various other groupwork trainings – The Gestalt Centre, London (2005)
- Counselling and psychological approaches – Open University
- NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner – International Teaching Seminars (2002, 2003)
- NLP for Health and Wellbeing – ITS (2003)
- NLP Coaching + Systems Thinking Diploma – ITS (2002)
- Life Coaching, Life Purpose Coaching and Wellness Coaching courses + Group Life Coaching Certifications (various)
- Mental Health First Aid (2014) + various other mental health trainings including working with anxiety, depression, crisis intervention, suicide, self-harm, hidden harm and burnout (various over 16 years of working in Social Care)
- Working with Personality Disorder – Advanced Skills (2015 + various)
- Understanding Family Dynamics + Working with Complex needs families (various)
- MI Motivational Interviewing (various)
- Diploma in Health and Social Care – Working with Adults (2009)
- FDAP/Adfam Drug & Alcohol Family Worker Professional Certificate (2013) + Member of Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals (FDAP)
- Train the trainer + Effective Supervision for Supervisors (2014)
- Risk Assessment and Management, The DICES (2015 + various)
- Child Protection & Safeguarding; CAF Trainings, Child Abuse and Neglect (various)
- Data Protection and Human Rights (various)
- Equality & Diversity (various)
- Carers and Families Trainings (various)
- Working with Domestic Violence (various)
- First Aid – (most recent in 2019), CPR (various)
- I hold current Enhanced DBS Certificate
- and many more attended over last 20 years…
SOME INTERESTING FUN NUMBERS
- 28 – number of years I’ve been a yoga practitioner
- 13 – I’ve been teaching mindfulness yoga and meditation for 12 years
- 6 – 6 years ago I trained in Yin/ Insight Yoga with Sarah Powers
- 7 – I’ve been fully self-employed for 7 years now and loving it!
- 7 – I closed my yoga studio 4 years ago after it was open for 6 years – sad but it felt very right
- 5000 – the number of official recorded teaching hours since I qualified in 2010… or more
- 4 – I trained in Thai Yoga Massage therapy 4 years ago and absolutely love it!
- 16 – I worked in Social Care for 16 years with individuals and families experiencing trauma, mental health, addiction, domestic violence and child protection issues.
- 6 – worked 6 years at City Roads Crisis Intervention Centre – residential detox for chaotic drug users in London, where I run two daily groups for clients, supervised and trained volunteers, co-ordinated activities and wrote group manuals.
- 996 – number of clients I worked with each year that came through our crisis centre each year
- 22 – I bring together over two decades of experience of working in Social Care and the community with trauma, mental health, substance use, DV and child protection issues alongside of studying various psychological, movement and energy approaches (I love attending courses and reading practice books!)
- 26 – 26 years ago I started my journey with studying Existential Counselling skills and then Certificate in Person-Centred Counselling skills for individuals and groups at City University, London
- 30 – I’ve been living in UK for over 30 years, first 18 in London, now in lovely Ramsgate, Kent
- 18 – I’ve been with my partner for 18 years
- 16 – our rescue cat Spike joined our little family 16 years ago and he left us over a year ago…
- 1.5 – our rescue dog Oscar joined our little family 1 year ago and brings so much love into our home