Although as a teacher it is of no use to find out if a participant during a yoga session exactly gets the context in the same way you meant it, still it is important to see the eyes of a listener being locked inside and the mind open like sea anemone searching for nourishment in the surrounding space…..that is how I would describe what I witness when I meet Anita in class. I trust she will make use of it in her own original way!”
– Victor Van Kooten
Slow Inner Body Yoga
I started practising yoga in my early twenties. I had no idea what an integral part of my life yoga would become or how this practice would shape and influence me. I’m now in my fifties. Looking back over the arc of 30 years, I see how yoga was my gateway to healing and embodied resourcing. Yoga in its widest sense has been a great teacher. It has led me along many paths of enquiry and generously offered up its ancient wisdom. It helps me reconnect with myself and the world around me. It has been of great support in challenging times. It has brought me into connection with community. As I’ve grown and changed, the yoga that I practice has evolved with me offering a responsive organic approach to my life. I experience yoga as a potent and compassionate healing practice, able to awaken the body’s intelligence and emotional responsiveness.
- Individualised yoga and yoga therapy sessions online / in person
- Groups on-line / in person
- A trauma informed approach to yoga for nervous system care, regulation and restoration of somatic autonomy and internal agency
- Mentor for yoga teachers/ yoga therapists / mindfulness teachers
- Embodied trauma-sensitive education / mentorship for mindfulness, yoga, voice, dance and movement practitioners, body-work practitioners / psychotherapists
- Workshops on the vagus nerve / polyvagal theory/ trauma / movement and voice. Experiencing our nervous systems as a living process.
If you are a yoga teacher or practitioner impacted by the somatic dominance of power hierarchies or cult-dynamics within yoga lineages and the yoga-industrial-complex or want to explore and understand somatic agency – I’d be happy to work with you.
Each session, whether one-on-one or in a group, offers a supportive space for personal enquiry and creative exploration. I offer an approach that is responsive to your body as a living process. This is not about stretching or achievement of form. This is a way of exploring from the inside out as if in gentle conversation with your body.
There is emphasis on nourishing the spine. Micro-movements, rhythmic rocking, sound and breath hydrate and lubricate the natural articulation of the spine. There is guidance and you are encouraged and supported in a process of listening to your body responses so that form follows energy. We notice how our body wants to move and we allow the infolding and unfolding of natural movement.
Each session allows for settling and grounding and establishing a sense of relationship with present time and space. We will move at your pace. Pause, choice and self-agency are explicit throughout the practice so you have full autonomy within the process and can decide what feels useful and enjoyable. What feels true and alive for you in your experience.
What we practice depends on your intentions and interest. I work alongside you listening and guiding, but I feel my job is in the fostering of your own process to unfold. Movements are invitational and there is a nurturing of greater trust and confidence in following your own body impulses in movement.
Bodies have innate intelligence and ability to self-organise, repair and heal when given space for purposeful tending, moving and resting. This is a resource centred approach that ventures to shift the over cultures objectification and colonisation of bodies towards a re-engagemnent with ourselves as creative, bio-intelligent expressions of nature.
“I’ve often tried to explain or to put into words what Anita’s classes/sessions are like. It’s not easy to do the experience justice with language. It is a deeply felt sense that goes beyond words, into a realm of slow time, a place we don’t often get to experience in our fast paced culture. Anita’s embodiment of the practice she guides are a gateway for others to experience a profound shift within their nervous systems. This is something that can be felt as soon as you walk into a class. Her work really is a much needed contribution to our world at a time when we are trying to find sustainable ways of being. Over the years Anita’s work has changed my perception of the practice of yoga and has inspired me in my personal practice and as a teacher. I highly recommend her work.” Elise Tassell
“I have found working with Anita a transformative experience on a number of profound levels. I came back to yoga practice to help answer a deep need I felt inside for both healing and the reorientation of my spiritual, physical and emotional priorities. Within minutes of meeting Anita, I remember noticing the compassionate sense of clarity that she brought to conversation. I also remember laughing a lot. For me there was an immediate sense of permission and openness being fostered in the room – a sense that the journey could go anywhere and everywhere. And so it has. I think it is important to emphasis the humour because it comes from an alert and very humble place, and because it also emphasises a true sense of reciprocity. Anita is one of those special teachers who realises that the deepest learning is based around listening to others and not just to oneself. With Anita, I have come to listen in a completely new way and I feel with her guidance, I have come to hear and understand the many beautiful and sustaining things that have really been there all along within the body. Yoga, in this sense, has become for me a process of subtle and unending inquiry” Dr. Alastair Phillips
“Anita is the best movement practitioner I’ve ever met. She draws on years of experience in Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy and Continuum to guide curiosity in movement which is deeply calming and reflective. Anita is the Mindful Movement training for the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, her approach is trauma- sensitive and she has assisted Angela Farmer on Women’s yoga retreats. Anyone who is interested in Matthew Remski’s work and discovering somatic agency or recovering from somatic dominance should consider working with Anita.” Robin Leonard. Mindfulness Connected
“your practices and guidance are, for me, like a two-way, dynamic conversation with a close, trusted friend. Unlike conventional, top-down teaching styles (including dance and yoga) where students are usually expected to be passive, obedient, rigid receivers of instruction – I feel your sessions offer dignity and space to tune into my own needs and boundaries, to in fact prioritise and express them vis-a-vis your suggestions. Like in conversation with a good friend, there’s room to listen to the other while also respecting my own response and feelings, to explore ideas together with curiosity, to converge on points of commonality and to gently diverge where needs differ. And with deeply, healthily connected encounters, there are fluid opportunities for mutual learning and reflection- and integration into who we are becoming, bit by bit.” Michelle
Many people have supported my learning and evolution. My understanding of yoga comes from the contribution of many other people’s work as well as from my experience of the practice. I am especially grateful to everyone who has turned up to learn with me, I have learned so much with you.
I’d like to acknowledge the wisdom that was generously shared with me by the teachers I studied with in India. I was offered huge warmth and exceptional teaching with A.G and Indrah Mohan. Their lifelong dedication, wisdom and contribution to yoga therapy is immense. They deepened and broadened my understanding of yoga and taught me how to “adapt the practice to the individual”.
Thanks and deep respect go to the renowned Sanskrit scholar Dr. Jayashree, who with great kindness and generosity taught me Sanskrit and chanting …… and supported my early interest in the relationship between sound, voice and healing.
Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Francoise Freedman supported my enquiry around yoga and women’s health whilst studying yoga therapy at the Yoga Biomedical Trustt (YBT)
YBT was founded by Dr. Robin Munroe, who greatly contributed to my understanding of back pain and Dr. Ruth Gilmore who made anatomy and physiology fun and experiential.
Sophy Hoare and Diane Long introduced me to the approach of Scaravelli yoga.
Angela Farmer and Victor Van-Kooten have been mentors and friends of many years. I did a lot of somatic unlearning with them. My understanding of inner sensing and allowing movement to follow energy rather than form deepened through their guidance. I have assisted Angela on many of her workshops and retreats.
“Anita has been a vital part of the teaching team at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre for many years. Yoga-based mindful movement is a vital element of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Her Masterclasses on how to teach yoga and mindful movement within the context of Eight Week Mindfulness Classes have been widely acclaimed, and she was the first choice for redesigning the mindful birthing yoga practice for the Centre for our trainings in Mindfulness-based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP).
Her teaching is a model of gentleness, combining a warmth of approach with specific advise and support both for those who are experienced in yoga, and for those who are new to the practice.”
Emeritus Professor Mark Williams
Director (2008-2013) Oxford Mindfulness Centre
I’ve seen Anita for both personal and work-related sessions. She has a calming, grounding, trustworthy presence, which helps to settle the nervous system and bring out the most from treatments. She is an excellent yoga teacher, working with people of all abilities and she really helped me early on in my diagnosis with a serious health condition to learn to listen to my body, be kinder to it, and help it to heal as much as it can. She has helped me to deepen my understanding, and work with some of the fundamental issues faced by people with addictions and trauma histories much more effectively, and I have passed on many of the insights I have gained from Anita to them. She can explain the polyvagal system in a down-to-earth, understandable way, and the workshop I attended was stimulating and enlightening, as well as practically useful in my day-to-day work (no mean feat!).
Jenny Nicholson RMN, Independent Nurse Prescriber, Mindfulness Teacher. Member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.
Contact me to find out more about Slow Inner Body Yoga:
Photograph: StudioBlanco courtesy Eau de Vie