“I joined the team at Redhall Walled Gardens as Peer Worker back in September 2020. I was new to peer work, but I wasn’t new to the values or ways of working as a peer. Unaware of it myself, I had actually been embodying the principles of peer work through my offerings as a yoga teacher.
Outside of my role at Redhall I run yoga classes and sessions across the city. My passion is facilitating a space to guide people in exploring breath work, embodied, somatic movement and meditation practices within their own bodies.
Yoga and somatic movement has been instrumental in my own journey of recovery and healing, offering me such safety, acceptance, awareness and connection. It has encouraged me to explore my own mind and body, connect, build strength and find stability (both physically and mentally).
The practice itself has taught me powerful grounding techniques and ways of working with the breath and body that empower me to manage anxiety myself. Moving away from the physical and mental aspects of yoga, there is something much deeper available to explore if you wish. Once I began to feel safer in my own body, to connect to it and start self-regulating, I started to take what I was learning in yoga sessions off of the mat and into my daily life.
Because of the powerful effects that yoga has had on my recovery journey, I feel that it is appropriate that I share these experiences and explorations with others as part of my Peer Worker role.
I began offering yoga sessions not long after I started in my role and with the help of my own yoga mentor and the trainees at Redhall, have developed Co-created Peer Yoga Sessions. Our Co-created Peer Yoga Sessions are a chance for a small group of us to come together to explore and experiment with how we can practice the many facets of yoga.
‘Co-created’ meaning we create the sequence and themes together, often based on how we are feeling, physically, mentally and emotionally. We meet weekly, come together and share a little about how we have been doing and what we feel we need from our yoga practice on that day.
‘Peer’, moving away from the idea that there is a teacher and a student, and more of a non-hierarchical approach. We are all students. We are all learning and exploring this sacred practice of yoga together. I’m here to share yoga as a tool that has supported me (and still does) through my own journey of recovery.
‘Yoga’, I hold space for us to explore the physical part of yoga (the shapes and movements we make with our bodies), the breathing techniques, the philosophical aspects and the meditation. What, and how we do this, is up to all who join.
‘Session’ as opposed to class. The aim isn’t for me to teach yoga, rather to offer a space for us to explore the practice of yoga together. I offer suggestions, themes and practices that have worked for me.
The sessions have been running for over six months and the feedback shared by those who join has been really inspirational.
Your approach has been helping me ease out of a chronic, locked-in state of tension, which separates me from knowing what I feel or want. So, finding impulses to move, and satisfaction in stretching, is major progress towards feeling free and confident. It’s really a rare thing to be given the message that one’s body can be trusted.
It really is just one of the best things… to get back in touch with the body. To become aware of your senses, touch, sight, smell”