Tag Archives: Heather Mason

My highlights from BACP’s Practitioner Conference on Saturday

Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE
Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE Chairing the Coaching Strand and presenting on her integrative approach to working with clients struggling with eating disorders

I loved Saturday’s conference. From the time I got involved with the planning (meeting people from other Divisions) last year to finally seeing how it all came together.

My highlights included:

  • Seeing my fellow Coaching Exec members – the lovely Gill Fennings-Monkman, Michele Down, Steve Page, Becky Wright and meeting our newest member, Sally Brown. Working with them is my overall highlight of being involved with BACP Coaching.
  • Gill’s presentation on eating disorder work was an inspiration
  • Jayne’s presentation reminded me just how important BACP Coaching and AICTP (the Association for Coach-Therapist Professionals) have been to me as I’ve become more comfortable integrating all my therapies as appropriate. At one point, I felt a surge of joy at being in a room filled with integrative practitioners.
  • Dr Tatiana Bachkirova – a name I recognised from textbooks from my integrative counselling and coaching training – talking about our different selves as coach-therapists and how they fit into Modernist and Post Modernist worldviews. Her view of the coach as a ‘collaborative explorer’ as well as subpersonalities talk reminded me of my psychosynthesis training and how integration often feels like the most natural thing in the world and quite radical.
  • Cathy Towers wasn’t in the Coaching strand but I enjoyed her workshop on money and, of course
  • meeting BACP Coaching members and people interested in finding out more about Coaching as we (hu)manned the stand during breaks.

I was sorry to miss Michele Down and Steve Page, Heather Mason and Shaura Hall, Clare Myatt and Dr Christiane Sanderson as well as other speakers I hadn’t recommended but wanted to clone myself in order to hear.

Were you there on Saturday? What were your highlights? Feel free to comment below.





Now booking for September’s Yoga Therapy for the Mind 8 Week Course for Stress, Anxiety and Depression

My next Yoga Therapy for the Mind 8 Week Course for Stress, Anxiety and Depression starts on Monday, 8th September.


If you’re local (enough) to Witham, Essex, and would like to learn how to use your body, breath and mind to retrain your nervous system and brain, offering immediate relief and long lasting (with practice) benefits, get in touch to find out more or visit http://yogatherapyessex.co.uk/.

Metta x


My Rapport feature on success – do we expect it too quickly?

Even Simon Cowell thinks it’s an epidemic. I hope you enjoy these tips from people including Marilyn Devonish, Steve Roe, Heather Mason, Laban Roomes, Keris Stainton and Paul Oswell.

Click this link to read it. RapportDec13Success

Metta x


AMT’s European EFT and Energy Conference 2013


I have had an exceedingly interesting long weekend at the AMT EFT and Energy Conference.

It was fab to meet ‘energists’ (complementary therapists, such as myself, incorporating energy work into their practices – everything from EFT and crystals to Heart Math and shamanism).

As Silvia Hartmann mentioned in her keynote speech, the fact that Thought Field Therapy creator, Roger Callahan, had died the week before made it especially poignant as, for all the advances in the fields, without his pioneering work, EFT and similar models wouldn’t exist.

Highlights for me included Olivia Robert’s ‘Go away! Go away! Go away!!!!!!’ stomping. Try it – you don’t need to know ANYTHING about energy work to understand that when something annoying/painful/etc happens, we grown ups tend not to stamp our feet and shout. Instead, we often suppress our disappointment, frustration, anger and pain.

Roberts came across this strange tool when, sick of migraines, she finally shouted at it. She’s also helped herself and others through IBS and fibromyalgia (AND, fury at friends and many more prosaic irritations).

While she talked about how neurological waves (from shock, disappointment, anger etc) hit vulnerable areas be that searing head pain for migraine sufferers or IBS symptoms or arthritis. You can find out more at Resolution Magic.

And, of course, the simple act of stamping the feet is grounding, offering a great way to release pent up anger and other emotions, potentially offering a safe way to perform ‘effective action’ if the stressful situation was one in which we felt trapped and unable to be free and safe. It also helps us discharge some of the stress hormones we create when such events trigger our fight/flight response.

I love tapping (EFT) but ‘Go away!’ appeals to my inner toddler and I have used it several times, with instant success, since learning a little about it on Saturday.

My biggest highlight (apart from daily swims) was Susan Kennard‘s fab workshop on the work she’s been doing with military veterans struggling with PTSD using EFT.

Working with trauma and PTSD is my favourite. So much so that I’m hoping to do some training with Susan as one of my birthday treats. I absolutely love learning about the different ways to support people who feel broken beyond repair (having spent a large chunk of my life feeling like that myself), helping them learn how to help themselves.

While I’ve been fortunate to learn about using yoga therapy to help people find safety in their own bodies from Heather Mason (and I’ve interviewed people like Dave Emerson from the Trauma Centre in Boston and co-author of Overcoming Trauma through Yoga and Daniel Libby of the Veterans Yoga Project in the US) and have integrated that into my work with clients, this was the first time I’d really understood how EFT can be so supportive (and I’ve been a practitioner for many years now!).

We are all connected and learning more about Heart Math and the fact that our hearts not only have so much sway over our own bodies but, when we cultivate compassion and strong hearts, we can calm stressful situations by simply breathing mindfully as if through our hearts. This can help others around us remember their own calm, loving centres and get them back in touch with their resourcefulness as well as helping us not get hooked into others’ dramas.

I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg re the inspiring speakers but for now, am enjoying what I’ve learned into my work… If any of y’all are interested, do check out my website and get in touch to find out more.

Metta x


Working with YOUR edge – Yoga Therapy for the Mind classes in Witham

Britney Spears uses yoga to help herself manage her anxiety
Britney Spears uses yoga to help herself manage her anxiety
Image courtesy of sojo1049.com

Yoga’s benefits for mental and emotional (as well as physical) wellbeing keep popping up with Jennifer Aniston, Britney Spears and Vanessa Hudgens recently crediting it for helping them manage life’s stresses and anxieties.

Vanessa Hudgens has spoken about the way yoga changes the brain's chemistry
Vanessa Hudgens has spoken about the way yoga changes the brain’s chemistry
Image courtesy of justjaredjr.com

I’m teaching loving my small classes in Witham, Essex and find that each one is as helpful for me as for my students (am very much looking forward to this evening’s Finding calm in a 24/7 world!).

Jennifer Aniston has long been a yoga enthusiast and has recently credited it with helping her stay calm during wedding preparations
Jennifer Aniston has long been a yoga enthusiast and has recently credited it with helping her stay calm during wedding preparations
Image courtesy of Fitzness.com

Each class draws on my training with Heather Mason at The Minded Institute. Regular classes (and practicing between classes) helps students learn how to retrain their brains and nervous systems to enhance their wellbeing and better manage life’s stresses, anxieties, depression and traumas (although trauma work is done on a one to one basis).

These classes begin with pranayama (breath work), move onto asana (physical practice) and finish with relaxation and meditations drawing on my psychosynthesis counselling, NLP and coaching experience as well as my yoga therapy training.

If you’re interested, click here for more information about upcoming themes, times, dates and prices (as well as more about what to expect).

    There are currently some spaces available in the following classes:

Working with YOUR edge (Saturday, 3rd August, Tuesday, 6th August and Wednesday, 7th August)
Hello, Inner Critic! (Saturday, 10th August, Tuesday, 13th August and Wednesday, 14th August)
Motivate yourself! (Saturday, 17th August, Tuesday, 20th August and Wednesday, 21st August)
Mood boosts (Saturday, 24th August, Tuesday, 27th August and Wednesday, 28th August)
Manifestation (Saturday, 31st August, Tuesday, 3rd September and Wednesday, 4th September)
Love your body! (Saturday, 7th September, Tuesday, 10th September and Wednesday, 11th September)

For people struggling more deeply with anxiety, stress and depression, I recommend they talk to me about signing up for the Yoga Therapy for the Mind 8 Week Course for Anxiety, Stress and Depression. The next one in Witham starts in October (click here for more information) and you can find classes nearer you by clicking here.

Hope to see y’all soon.

Metta xx


Are you and your body friends?


I recently interviewed the delightful David Emerson and loved his description of using yoga as a way to become friendlier with your body.

You can find out more about his Trauma Sensitive Yoga programme in Boston here

Click here to buy his co-authored book, Overcoming Trauma through Yoga (mine’s on order and I can’t wait to read it).

Having trained as a yoga therapist with Heather Mason at The Minded Institute, I see that I’ve benefitted from his approach. She trained with Emerson and was one of the first people to bring Trauma Sensitive Yoga to the UK, working with people struggling with traumatic stress at the Maudsley in London.

Learning to breathe and move differently and changing the way we feel about ourselves and our lives not just through becoming stronger and more flexible on the mat but taking on more in our lives is just one of the things yoga can help with.

While Emerson’s focus is on helping people who’ve survived traumas find safety and comfort in their bodies, pretty much everyone I’ve ever met has forgotten to treat their body with friendliness at some point.

How many times have you experienced self-loathing of varying degrees when you were ill or while looking at our society’s ‘ideal’ body types in magazines or on TV?

The whole ‘your body is a temple’ idea can make our bodies feel even further removed when we feel far from sacred, whether that’s due to abuse or trauma or simply feeling a bit overweight. But friendliness is something we can all aspire to.

In psychosynthesis, we’re reminded that although we have bodies (and minds, and feelings), there’s more to us than that. It helps us to look at the bigger picture.

Psychosynthesis works with the body as well as the mind and emotions (and spirit). While clients sometimes think it strange at first, working symbolically with their bodies (when this is appropriate) as well as tracking physical sensations can open us up to enormous wisdom. And yet we humans often need to relearn how to access this.

I’ve started talking to some of my yoga students and clients about this idea of becoming friendlier with their bodies, not just through yoga (although it’s a wonderful way that has many benefits) but even through the things we tell ourselves (silently) or say about ourselves (when talking to others).

Dr Emoto’s studies with water, where the cellular structure changed when people said kind things or horrible things, indicate that we humans (made up of much water) can reap even greater benefits as we learn to send kinder thoughts to our own bodies.

Next time you’re in the shower or bath, take advantage of the opportunities to become friendlier with your body. Shampooing and conditioning, thank your hair (yes, even if you’re worried about hair loss). Massage your scalp with kindness. As you moisturise, send a little thank you to each part of you.

Appreciate your feet for carrying you through each day, helping you with each next step (writing this, I remember how much I used to hate feet. Even my own). Appreciate your legs for helping you stand, your knees for allowing you to be flexible and bend and jump.

If you’re carrying extra weight from pregnancy, experiment with appreciating the miracle that you – thanks to your body – were able to create and deliver a new life into the world rather than bemoaning the loss of your old jeans… Which feels better?

You get the idea. It may feel strange at first – imagine saying ‘Hi’ to a mistreated kitten. It may be wary at first but once you continue to shower yourself with friendly thoughts, you’ll begin to relax into it.

Thank your whole body. And if there are issues (back aches, recovering from surgery, parts you associate with pain of any kind), experiment with sending that part extra love.

In your yoga practice (or when you go running, cycling, swimming or whatever you enjoy doing – remember to let all your activities feel friendly and fun), rather than wishing you could stretch further / be faster, THANK your body for helping you do so much already and act as if you’re on the same team.

This will help you make healthier choices regarding food, rest and all sorts of things.

Experiment with it. And have fun.

Metta xx

Image courtesy of khunaspix / freedigitalphotos.net


Sending Metta to Boston and focusing on the good in people

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Sommai

I can’t begin to imagine the horror of those involved and affected by the explosions today in Boston. People running, for charity, having trained for such a long time only to have the day end in chaos and fear.

A lovely quote has been going around on Twitter and Facebook (attributed to @petemanning and also Fred Rogers – whoever said it, I love it) saying that when he was scared of the news as a kid, his mother told him to always look for the people helping. ‘There are always people helping.’

It’s easy to forget people’s inherent goodness as we traumatise ourselves watching (with many news stations showing such images on a loop) horrific events unfolding. This simply raises our stress levels and leads to overwhelm and hopelessness.

Personally speaking, after reading this quote, I turned the TV back on and put my attention on the people pushing those in wheelchairs, police officers, paramedics and ordinary people doing all they can to help.

Here are some other things you can do to help yourself feel safer anytime the world feels chaotic and scary:

Notice your breathing. Whether watching or reading news updates, be mindful of shallow, choppy breathing which might raise your anxiety and stress. Consciously make your breath smooth and exhale for longer than you inhale to calm your whole system
Place the soles of your feet on the ground and feel the earth beneath you. If you’re outdoors with bare feet, wonderful. But even if you’re in a high building, you can visualise roots going from the soles of your feet deep into the earth, connecting you with its nourishing energy and supporting you in this life
Light a candle and ask whichever Higher Power (God / Goddess / the Universe / angels…) you feel comfortable with to help the people who need it. Remember the Chinese proverb that inspired the creators of Amnesty’s logo (‘Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’)? Lighting a candle always helps me feel better when I feel helpless in the face of suffering
Send some Metta (Loving Kindness) to all involved. This is the version I learned doing my Yoga Therapy training with Heather Mason at The Minded Institute:

Sitting comfortably, say: ‘May I be happy and healthy, peaceful and at ease. May I be able to take care of myself joyfully. May I possess the courage and wisdom, patience and determination to manage life’s challenges.’

Then, you widen it out. So if you’re affected by something you see on the news (like tonight for Boston or recently with Syria or any other area / group of people you somehow want to help but don’t know how), you think about them. It might be for people closer to home in which case you go from you to everyone in your building / neighbourhood / town… ‘May they be happy and healthy, peaceful and at ease. May they be able to support themselves joyfully. May they possess the courage and wisdom, patience and determination to manage life’s challenges.’

Then you widen it further out so it might be everyone on the planet who is suffering from _____ or a larger geographical area.

Then widen it out (each time, you may actually feel your own heart expanding with love for all involved) to everyone on the planet.

Finally, bring this Metta back to yourself and sit quietly letting it settle for a few moments.

When you feel grounded and calm, your energy will naturally become more loving than fearful. You’ll be better able to be helpful and supportive rather than adding to angst and turmoil.

Metta xx