Founder & Director Still Flowing Yoga Teacher Training, Senior Yoga Teacher, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Dance & Movement Researcher (Undertaking Research Master’s in Dance at Plymouth University), Butoh Practitioner, Creator of Elemental Body Work.
I am a Senior Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher with more than 23 years of facilitation and teaching experience, registered with the UK Yoga Alliance.
I am a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (body orientated trauma therapist) of 12 years of experience in private practice and the application of SE principles into diverse group contexts and settings (trainings, retreats, CPD’s and workshops).
I am currently doing a Research Master’s in Dance at Plymouth University. My area of focus is Somatics and Butoh Dance. I am in an intensive period of both intellectual, embodied and artistic exploration through dance and movement. I am currently practicing Butoh Dance with the Butoh Master Atsushi Takenouchi www.jinen-butoh.com and other renowned teachers. Butoh is a Japanese form of avant- garde dance that seeks to avoid definition but has been translated as “The Dance of Darkness”. Through Butoh dance I am investigating how the inner world, the inner landscape, the unknown, the hidden, the marginalised and “othered” parts of ourselves can find subtle expression through dance, movement and performance where it can be shared and witnessed by others, and how this witnessing may become a transformational tool in the path to resolving trauma. I am particularly interested in how nature and the elements can support such a process.
I draw influence from the work of Denise Rowe whose practice is inspired by Javanese Movement Artist, Prapto Suroydharmo, whose movement practice explores the experience of one’s own moving body in connection with a constantly changing environment – a non-stylized movement within the natural world, where one’s own self is experienced as an ever-changing organism. In pursuit of a deeper understanding of Prapto’s non stylised movement with nature, I find myself on a journey to Bali to research more deeply into this Dharmic approach to movement,
What I Teach and Facilitate
My current focus is working with diverse groups integrating Somatics, Butoh Dance and creative processes with nature in Devon and Ibiza which I call Elemental Body. I have been developing this work over some years. I see it as an eco feminist, eco somatic response to the current multiple social and ecological crises that we collectively face. Through my experience working 1:1 with SE therapeutically in private practice along with facilitating yoga groups and intensives for over 20 years, I now feel that I have had enough experience to translate these embodied understandings and experiential knowledge to generate group somatic and creative work, which is situated within nature, and supported by the wider container of the ancestral wisdom of the elements.
My approach to group work is clearly underpinned and held by the principles and techniques of Somatic Experiencing. Responding to what is happening now, I see group work as a more effective, sustainable and regenerative way of tending to the wider social ‘body in crisis’ and the collective afflictions of isolation, disconnection, fragmentation, overwhelm and rupture that we all experience. My work seeks to address and include a much wider field, from an understanding that personal trauma cannot be separated from the wider field of conditions that precipitated the trauma, the society that we live in that expresses a collective trauma and an ecology or ‘an earth body’ that is simultaneously in a process of degradation and collapse.
Group somatic work can generate a counter position, building community and forging processes of re-connection and re-solution that I believe have greater impact. This approach cultivates inter-related networks of care for self, other and the world, that can flow through different areas and into different communities. The memory of the body and the earth can be heard, witnessed and expressed collectively. The work I develop is a form of regenerative activism that aims to cultivate feminist, creative and embodied community movement and arts spaces excavating wells of resource & connectivity and opening networks of widening support.
The processes I facilitate generate a somatic field attuned with the elements where contemplative movement, dance, and arts are integrated in order to cultivate that which is regenerative, soulful, and life affirming and that works to resolve and transform stress, suffering and trauma at a nervous system level. This work is deeply therapeutic, without needing to be ‘therapy’, it seeks to celebrate humanity through creative, embodied process.
Embodied practice ignites my passion for all that is trans-cultural and trans-formational, often contradictory aspects of our identity can find their expression through the body in movement particularly when related to place.. I feel that my approach has the potential to take the practitioner through and beyond trauma, into a post-traumatic phase of expansion, creativity and spiritual growth. The emphasis on creative processes that I now foreground in my teaching and intensives offer ways to harness the new energy that can come about as we start to resolve trauma providing forms and ways for the new emerging ‘self’ to explore and express itself.
My work fosters ways of seeing, sensing, listening and moving in the world that seeks to cultivate interconnectedness and empathy at its heart, it acknowledges grief and loss as part of ephemeral nature of human existence and asks how to let go into the underlying rhythms of life, death and rebirth.This work is about making, about hands, about expressing, about feeling, about rhythm, about movement and how to support the expression of the soul that can flower slowly and softly in its own time, into authenticity.
As I find myself in the peri menopause, I continue to explore and discover how embodied process, moving with nature, and creative expression can support our entry into a new and important phase of life and I am really happy to support women in this phase of life.
My Yoga Approach
Since 2011 I have been inspired by the work of Italian Yogini Vanda Scaravelli, which honors the body’s intelligence and has creative, intuitive and enquiry based feel to it, I find that this works beautifully alongside the therapeutic work of Dr Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) http://www.traumahealing.org which greatly informs and inspires my approach to Yoga.
In a broad sense, my invitation in Yoga is to re-awaken the natural intelligence of the body, that has an innate healing and organisational capacity within it.
Instead of stressing and straining the body into shapes and breathing patterns that may override this innate intelligence, this practice invites us to listen and to feel inside, so the body can find its own voice – its own “song” or in Peter Levine’s words the unspoken voice.
“The feeling is more interior, because the motion is inside, the feeling is inside. It’s a feeling of well-being while you do the poses not to achieve. You must never have in mind what you want to do but what the body can accept.” Vanda Scaravelli
By encouraging the body to undo and let go of habitual tension patterns and old habits that fragment and distort the body and its energy, the body is gradually offered new movement choices outside of old habits. This unexplored movement potential offers rest, regulation and deep internal release. A gradual awakening may take place, as new ways of approaching movement through asana pave the way for new ways of being and experiencing life. At a feeling level this may be experienced as freshness, wholeness or just being deeply and simply happy in your body.
By deepening our embodied understanding of core/ peripheral balance through a curious approach to asana, we start to experience greater degrees of safety, wholeness, connection, containment, and nourishment from inside of ourselves, within this, we cultivate our innate capacity for self regulation at the level of the nervous system, providing safe ground from which to gently explore further awakening and release of the spine and deep core structures of the body.
My approach has both a structured side to it and also playful free-form side to it, always seeking to balance stability, fluidity and spaciousness. By attuning to the elements of earth, water, fire and space within the body, gravity and its rebound play through the body with ease, affecting our shape/structure, our breath, our feelings, our relationship with ourselves, others, and the environment around us.
One of Vanda Scaravelli’s great gifts to our Yoga practice was freedom. She gave us permission to follow our own inner teacher, liberating Yoga practice from the restriction of rules and traditions. She encouraged students to understand that, ultimately, we are our own best teachers – all we have to do is listen deeply.
“Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose. Do not look at your body like a stranger, but adopt a friendly approach towards it. Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs, its requests, and even have fun. To be sensitive is to be alive.” Vanda Scaravelli
I extend a heartfelt invitation for you to come and share the intuitive, creative, and liberating power of this work with me.
My Practice Story
I first came across Sivananda Yoga in 1998 in Kerala, South India whilst studying Ayurveda. It felt like coming home, the calling was profound.
Around the same time a close friend, Sid Peckman, undertaking a silent 7 year retreat introduced me to the Buddhist Mindfulness Teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen Master; his teacher www.plumvillage.org
In 1999 I met Danny Paradise who I studied with until 2007 (Ashtanga Vinyasa). His emphasis on non- dogmatic practice, Shamanism, evolution and community still inspire me.
During this period and under Danny’s influence I co-founded and directed AshtangaOm Yoga Retreats and El Convento Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Mindfulness Eco Centre (Andalucia, Spain) with my ex-partner Nic Freeman.
In 2004 my family and I were hit by the tsunami in Sri Lanka. We all survived, however every aspect of life, and everything that we had built to date, was blown apart as a result of the massive wave.
In 2005 quite soon after the tsunami I met and practiced with Steven Smith who had met Danny in Thailand. This meeting transformed my meditation practice and re-affirmed an unwavering commitment to the Teachings of the Buddha.
Emerging from a very dark period, in 2008 I founded Still Flowing Yoga Teacher Training, integrating the practices of Yoga and Buddhist Insight Meditation.
In 2011 still suffering from undiagnosed complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and searching for ways to cope with my unresolved tsunami trauma, I was introduced to Dr. Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing; (body orientated trauma healing) by my yoga colleague, friend and mentor Aki Omori.
I have trained for 5 years to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. I now work in the field of healing trauma particularly with yogis and meditators.
During this same period I had been practicing Insight Meditation and sitting with Martin Aylward www.martinaylward.com who was my teacher from 2010. I completed Mindfulness Teacher Training with Martin Aylward and Mark Coleman in 2018.
Since 2011 I have been inspired by the work of Italian Yogini Vanda Scaravelli, and I continue training with Yoga teachers from her lineage. Her intuitive, revolutionary, stress free approach to working with the body from the inside out, blends seamlessly with the Buddha’s teachings on Mindfulness, and is highly compatible with the principles of Somatic Experiencing.
My Professional Yoga/Therapeutic CV
Since 2011 to Present:
- September 2022: Research Master’s in Dance at Plymouth University
- March 2021: Somatic Experiencing Post Graduate Module: Healing Sexual Trauma with Ariel Giarretto
- November 2020: Somatic Experiencing Master Class Module with Dr. Peter Levine and Euphrasia Nyaki on Healing Transgenerational / Ancestral Trauma
- November 2019: The Bridge I Year Training with Denise Rowe http://www.earthdances.co.uk
- April 2018: 1 Year Mindfulness Teacher Training with Mindfulness Training Institute (Martin Aylward and Mark Coleman) www.mindfulnesstraininginstitute.com
- Post Graduate Somatic Experiencing Module on Developmental Trauma with Dr Peter Levine (July 2015)
- 2011 – 2015: Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) Training www.traumahealing.org (I have completed Somatic Experiencing Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Training)
Since 2008 to Present:
- Developing and creation of Elemental Body
- Founder / Director / Principal Teacher on Still Flowing Yoga Teacher Training
- Senior Yoga Teacher and Yoga Pro Training Provider with Yoga Alliance UK
- Registered Yoga School 200 hrs with the European Yoga Alliance
Since 2001 to Present:
I have facilitated, organised, and taught on yoga intensives, retreats, workshops and yoga trainings worldwide
Co Founder, Director and Teacher: El Covento Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Mindfulness Eco Centre, Andalucia, Spain
2001 – 2003:
Co Founder, Director and Teacher: AshtangaOm Yoga Retreats
1998 – 2000:
- Ayurvedic Massage, Panchakarma Therapy, Sivananda Yoga
- Kovalam, Kerala, South India
1992 – 1996:
BA – Hispanic Studies 2:1 – Queen Mary College, University of London.
“Lovers find secret places inside this violent world, where they make transactions with beauty.” – Rumi