Body and Soul Yoga
Hi, I'm Mary
I may not be exactly what you'd expect from a yoga teacher. I'm not super bendy, I've never been a dancer or a gymnast, I'm not suffering from corporate burn-out. My path to becoming a yoga teacher has been slow and steady, building up my own personal practice over many years and now I'm sharing that with others - in a way that, I hope, is welcoming and accessible to everyone especially beginners and anyone looking for a small, friendly class with an understanding, mature teacher.
I first discovered yoga when I was in my teens, desperate for a way to exercise that I could do in my own way and at my own pace. I hated PE because I wasn't sporty or, in fact competitive in any way, but with yoga I found a way to stretch and keep fit without being judged or compared to others. That was in the 1970s when Lyn Marshall had a TV show called "Wake up to Yoga" on Sunday mornings. I was particularly impressed by her claim that anyone could do yoga and it didn't matter how far into the posture you went - as long as you reached your own comfortable limit you would get the same benefit.
I continued to practise yoga at home and classes over the years but it wasn't until my first visit to the Om Yoga Show in 2009 that I realised I wanted to share my passion with others by becoming a teacher.
Although I was initially drawn to Dru Yoga (they had an impressive stand at the Yoga Show so I was able to try out their classes and meet the senior teachers) I decided to do the BWY (British Wheel of Yoga) Foundation course first. Then in 2014, almost 40 years after I first caught the "yoga bug", I qualified as a L3 Hatha Yoga Teacher with the YMCA Yoga Professionals Diploma in Teaching Yoga.
It was only then that I embarked on the full Dru Yoga teacher course so I could incorporate their gentle, flowing style with the use of energies and visualisation into my teaching. Following my graduation as a Dru teacher I've continued to train and have added Meditation, Mindfulness and Breathwork diplomas to my list of qualifications.
My style of yoga is fun and accessible to all ages and abilities. I teach a blend of classic Hatha, flowing Dru sequences (think Tai Chi meets yoga) and Yin inspired stretches. Groups are small (usually between 8 to 12 students) with chairs and blocks available to adapt poses. Venues are chosen for access to outdoor space (the RAFA has its own garden and is situated directly opposite a park while Thames Chase is surrounded by forest and interesting nature walks and even HASWA opens out to a green space behind the centre).
After lockdown I retired from my "day" job teaching ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) to focus on building the Body and Soul yoga community. However, for non native English speakers, I am developing an ESOL Yoga programme combining my passion for yoga with language teaching.
When I'm not practising yoga I enjoy cuddles with Bob, the "Cockney Cat", spending time with my family and watching "Mind your Language" on YouTube.
Professional Yoga Qualifications
Diploma in Teaching Yoga
CYQ L3 - 500 hours Yoga Professionals/YMCAfit (2014)
and - 300 hours Dru Yoga Teacher Diploma (2018)
Dru Foundation (Meditation) (2019)
Swami Saradananda - Meditation (2020) - (Yoga Alliance accredited)
Professional CPD Qualifications
Certificate in Adapting Exercise for Pregnant/Post Natal Women- YMCA (2015)
Dru Social Prescribing: Backcare and Wellness specialism (2022)
Dru Breathwork Coach (2022)
Emergency First Aid at Work L3 (2023)
British Wheel Workshops (BWY)
Foundation Course (60 hours)
Adjusting Students in Postures
Yoga for People with Cancer
Working with Forward Bends
Strength in Asana
Working in Pairs
Preparing for Backbends
Assessing and Observing Student readiness for challenging poses
Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs
Chair Yoga x 2
Dru Dance (Parts 1&2)
Yoga for Women's Health
CACDP - Communication Tactics with Deaf People
Dementia Awareness (Tapestry)
Dru Meditation for Concentration
Our Mala - Trauma Informed Yoga (working with asylum seekers & refugees)
Museum of Happiness (Facilitator training)
Yuva - Chair and Accessible Yoga
Nutrition for Health Cert (L2)
Mental Health Awareness Training
General Teaching Qualifications
Cert in Education (Greenwich)
CELTA (Cambridge) - ESOL
Literacy Subject Spec L5
JEB (ICT Prin and Prac)
Havering Health Champion
Havering Changing - In the Know Volunteer
Ongoing workshops (BWY and Dru)
Arhanta (50 hrs) Yin Yoga
Laughter Yoga / EFT
500 Hr GYTA
Varuna Drum Practitioner