My Yoga Journey

I discovered yoga in my 20’s and life got in the way. Fast forward 20 years I realised I was at breaking point. I had put diesel in my petrol car. I was a single mum living in the intense stress as my son entered his teenage years. I joined the local gym and I discovered yoga.

Yoga is so much more than tying yourself in knots or getting into a perfect posture. It has tools to support well-being on all levels. The texts give a path for moving out of suffering.

Yoga means to unite the various aspects of ourselves, physical, emotional etc. as well as the wounded child, inner warrior etc. Healing means wholeness. I see yoga as one of the oldest healing modalities. It’s sister ayurveda gives a wealth of knowledge on diet and lifestyle.

I trained with the Yoga for Health Foundation in Group Classes and Remedial Yoga and followed this with Viniyoga teacher training in group classes and yoga therapy.  My training included in depth study of yoga texts, psychology and philosophy of yoga.  I hold a British Wheel of Yoga accredited certificate and have trained extensively with cutting edge yoga teachers in the UK and at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India.

My specialty is working with the health and well being of the whole person.  An issue in the body will most likely have an emotional connection. There may also be ancestral links which are impacting the client. I use ancient techniques of hatha yoga and cutting edge teachings to restore balance and harmony.

I firmly believe in the power of yoga to transform at all levels.  It has a tremendous amount of wisdom to offer whether we are mainly interested in the physical aspect or using yoga as a spiritual journey.

This is a holistic approach. It is not a substitute for a 12-step program and not intended as, or a substitute for, medical or psychiatric advice. Nor is it intended to diagnose, describe, treat, or cure any disease – physical or mental.

Yoga Therapy Sessions

A Yoga therapy session will be tailored to the need and interests of the client and may include:-

  • Postures
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation
  • Affirmations
  • Visualisation
  • Mantra
  • Sound/Chanting
  • Study of yoga texts

Sessions can be entirely chair based or mainly lying to make it accessible to all

Chair based is ideal for those with restricted mobility including wheel chair users, the spine is upright and movement is available in all major joints.  Many practices such as meditation are usually seated so unaffected

Lying practices are gentle, supported and relaxing ideal for those with balance issues, they allow for a good range of movement in a safe supported way

A typical session – There are different approaches depending on the desired outcome.

Sessions may start in a relaxing way gradually introducing movement and breathing techniques or may start in an energetic way and gradually slow down creating a sense of calm and well-being.   The postures, breathing and additional techniques in a session will depend on whether the focus is energising, relaxing or balancing

Session format:  A session usually starts with a short period of stillness to settle the system and notice your starting point, (any aches and pains, how the mind is etc.), Movement is co-ordinated with the breath to help calm and focus the mind.  Clients are advised to work with their body as it is, avoiding pain.  Periods of rest and relaxation are included.  Towards the end of the session there may yoga breathing techniques, meditation/visualisation/sound/affirmation etc. as appropriate   

chair twistsemi suppine

The Benefits of Therapeutic Yoga

The appropriate practice of yoga unifies all aspects of the system.  It works on many levels and can be adapted to suit a wide range of needs.  The key is REGULAR practice – The more regularly you practice the sooner you will see results

Physical – improves:

• Posture
• Breath length which helps with lung function
• Balance – helps prevent falls
• Improve or maintain mobility
• Improve or maintain strength and flexibility
• Improve or maintain bone density
• Rehabilitation, can reduce pain including chronic pain, especially effective for reducing low back pain
• Energy levels
• Sense of well-being
• Digestion/elimination

• Heart rate
• Muscle tension
• Flight/flight syndrome
• Blood pressure
• Stillness and pain

Cognitive – improves:

• Concentration
• Focus
• Mental clarity
• Memory
• Staying present
• Dexterity
• Co-ordination
• Reaction times

Emotional – improves

• Mood
• Resilience
• Awareness
• Anger control
• Mind-body connection

• Stress
• Anxiety
• Trauma
• Fear


• Reduces sense of isolation
• Group support
• Make new friends
• Improves confidence

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council states that “Yoga can help with a wide range of disorders and stress related problems. Including back and joint issues; breathing disorders; issues during PMS, pregnancy and menopause; emotional issues such as anxiety, depression; injuries, surgery and illness. It may also enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases”.

I am currently working with clients experiencing fibromyalgia, MS, ME, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, IBS, osteoarthritis, & crohns disease

Yoga therapy can be used alongside conventional medicine and other complementary therapies.

back pain forward bend semi suppine chair twist

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy – Viniyoga approach

Yoga therapy is a holistic therapy to optimise our health and well being on a physical, energetic, mental/emotional and spiritual level.   Often when thinking of yoga it is the physical aspect and perhaps breathing that comes to mind, however, yoga incorporates a wide variety of tools, as well as postures and breathing these include: diet & life style advice, meditation, relaxation, affirmations and visualisation; personal ritual, mantra, chanting and study of yoga texts which date back thousands of years.

 Yoga postures are adapted to suit individual needs rather than forcing the body into various positions.  This can help develop strength, flexibility, ease and balance in the body; reduce weakness and structural pain according to need.  Moving in time with the breath helps spinal movement; it can ease spinal compression and lengthen the spine increasing range of movement and comfort.  This emphasis on the spine has a positive effect on the nervous system, it helps calm the mind and reduce anxiety which is further developed with seated breathing practices, meditation, chanting etc

What is involved?

Yoga therapy involves taking an active part in your own healing process.  The therapist devises a practice, taking into account physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs interests, lifestyle and living arrangements.  To gain maximum benefit, you are encouraged to practice at home on a regular basis.  It does not need to be as long as a group class, just 20-30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week will be very beneficial.  In acute cases you may be given a shorter practice to do twice daily.

How quickly does it work?

Positive results are often seen within a few weeks, sometimes within days, the key is regular practice. The more regularly you practice the sooner you will see results.

What conditions can Yoga therapy help?

The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council states that “Yoga can help with a wide range of disorders and stress related problems.  Including back and joint issues; breathing disorders; issues during PMS, pregnancy and menopause; emotional issues such as anxiety, depression; injuries, surgery and illness.  It may also enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases”.

I am currently working with fibromyalgia, MS, ME, COPT. scoliosis, PTSD, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, stress, & anxiety.

Yoga therapy can be used along with conventional medicine and other complementary therapies.

Further information

Yoga & MS

Why yoga?

Yoga has many benefits that can help improve health. It is something positive we can do for ourselves allowing us to maximise healing and move towards wellness.

Exercise can be very tiring for many people with MS whereas yoga normally increases energy and helps us deal with symptoms.  It calms the mind and emotions, relieves stress and restores the natural breathing process essential for good health.  It also maintains or increases strength and flexibility, improves bladder and bowel function and keeps the body moving whatever the level of disability.  More information can be found on the Yoga for Health and Education Trust website, under ‘Remedial/Therapeutic Yoga’.

Why is a remedial/therapeutic yoga class recommended?

People with MS often find a general yoga class too tiring and therefore counter-productive.  In remedial classes postures can be adjusted to suit individual needs for all kinds of problems and chronic fatigue ensuring that we get maximum benefit from our yoga practice to help improve our condition and well-being.

Remedial/therapeutic Yoga Teachers

Suzan is trained as a remedial/therapeutic yoga teacher with the Yoga for Health Foundation now the Yoga for Health and Education Trust

Is yoga helpful for people with MS?

Yoga is recognised as being valuable in the management of MS by the MS Society.

More than 5,000 people with MS took part in yoga courses specifically designed for them at the Yoga for Health Foundation in Bedfordshire, many of them returning repeatedly as they found it so valuable.  Unfortunately, after 28 years, the Foundation closed in March 2006 when the lease expired and the property was sold.  The Yoga for Health and Education Trust is continuing and developing this valuable work and hopes one day to have a centre.  Visit for more information.

Taken from Multiple Sclerosis Q / A  June A Skeggs updated Oct. 2011

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