It all began on the full moon night of the hottest day of the year one summer...
I woke one morning and saw that it was set to be 31 degrees the following Tuesday (something that very rarely happens in the UK). Every bone in my body ached to get outside and feel the warmth of sun on my skin and smell the hot earth, so I set about organising an invite only outdoor yoga class in my local park. I realised on researching for my class that it was also the full moon that day, so I called it 'Full Moon Wild Yoga'. And so it began...
Menstrual Cycle Awareness Work
My grandma gave me my first journal at the age of 11, the same age I had my first bleed. I always wondered if this wasn’t as much of a coincidence as it later seemed. Whether she intended this or not, I instinctively began marking the first day of my period in my journal with a star and always made a note of my mood each day. Little did I know that these simple and innocent mood notes were in fact the basis for the menstrual cycle awareness techniques that I now use and were creating a lifetime of information about my early cycles and menstrual experience. An absolute treasure trove for me now as an adult.
My introduction to menstrual life wasn’t marked with any magic and I suffered incredible pain and mood swings my entire life. The only suggestion by doctors and friends was to go on the pill, something I instinctively never felt I wanted to do. The pain became so bad in my late 20s that twice I had to pull over on the side of the road to be sick; whilst wailing and moaning with pains I had never felt before and the mood swings were so bad I was regularly lashing out and feeling suicidal in the premenstruum. Despite all of this, I still felt I didn’t want pain medication or hormonal contraception. I felt deep in my bones that this pain was a message and I just needed to learn how to hear it.
"I felt deep in my bones that this pain was a message and I just needed to learn how to hear it."
I finally heard the message in November 2017 during my Well Woman Yoga Therapy Training with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and had my first pain free bleed during that training. This was a message I couldn’t unhear and transformed the way I live my life, plan my work and manage my relationship. This has become my work.
I cast my first spell at 13 and have always had a love for the power of intent but my spells and rituals always took place alone. Like many women, I had long ago fallen out of love with groups of girls and all the bitching and drama that they seemed to come with. When I moved to Milton Keynes I reached out to the girlfriends of my partner’s friends to have a ‘poker’ night and met the women who would transform my experience of groups of women.
"I cast my first spell at 13 and have always had a love for the power of intent"
There never was much poker that happened and these days our playing cards have been exchanged for tarot but it is here that I forged the template of support, nurture and belly laughs that form the foundation for our circles and ceremonies today. It is also here that I met my soul sister, co-facilitator and general all round mystical magical wonder woman Cherry Jeavons-White.
As a child I always felt more at home in nature than within any four walls. As a family we moved a lot and nature became my constant. Wherever in the world we found ourselves, the landscapes became my home. Whether climbing through the Blue Mountains of Australia, exploring the turquoise oceans of tropical islands, adventuring with my dogs through the vast arid landscapes of southern Spain or gazing across the luscious green flatlands of south England this is where I felt I belonged. My nickname amongst my family was ‘Carly Attenborough’, when I wasn’t filming our garden birds through our camcorder and making up my own commentaries, I was indoors studying animals from across the world and making scrap books of information and pictures.
"I spent every single available second in the forest, even taking my pet hamster with me letting her dig and burrow, already feeling a deep calling for all living things to be wild and free."
My deep love of the forest started young and was intensified during my two years at a south England boarding school surrounded completely by forest. I spent every single available second in the forest, even taking my pet hamster with me letting her dig and burrow, already feeling a deep calling for all living things to be wild and free.
I decided to become a yoga teacher at the top of a mountain in September 2014. Two years sober and recently moved out of London I finally remembered the incredible peace that can be found in nature and had a strong calling to share that with others. I signed up for my Yoga Teacher Training 200 hours as soon as I got home.
Yoga has been a part of my life since my late teens and has been one of the main tools for healing from eating disorders, mental health issues, sexual violence, abuse, PTSD and the recovery from addiction. The routine, boundaries, structure and containment of a yoga practice were everything I needed back then but at some point what had started as healing began to hinder as I became consumed by the outer world of yoga asana and left wanting by the transcendence and light seeking aspects of the practice.
"I discovered a practice that wasn’t seeking to escape the human condition but rather to embody it."
Around this time I met the teacher that would change the course of my life and work. With Naseem I discovered a practice that wasn’t seeking to escape the human condition but rather to embody it. My practice moved from escapism and transcendence to welcoming and acceptance and I finally began to heal the deeper wounds. I had finally found a practice that dealt practically, sensitively and powerfully with trauma and the darker aspects of the human experience. I have followed this incredible human being ever since, screaming off mountain sides, dancing naked under the full moon and learning how to love my body and myself wholly and completely.
Naseem thank you, for opening me up to this incredible and magical world. I am forever in gratitude to you and all that you wholeheartedly give to your work.