Our Team


We understanding that working with underserved communities needs an experienced and sensitive team of teachers.  We are extremely proud of our teachers and volunteers and the work they do in our community.


Laura Wilson laura-wilson

Laura is the founding director of Edinburgh Community Yoga and also of Ayatana Yoga.

I have long been fascinated by body/mind practices, an interest which originally took me into professional dance training leading to a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree from London Contemporary Dance School. I began to make the transition from dance to yoga in 2005, and eventually trained as a Rainbow Kids Yoga teacher for children and families in 2011. I then went on to complete a 200-hours teacher training certificate at Himalaya Yoga Valley, India in February 2012 where I qualified to teach Hatha Yoga, Traditional Ashtanga, Chanting, Meditating and Pranayama. I am also a certified British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga for Pregnancy teacher and a MARK (Minded Addiction Recovery Kit) practitioner and in January 2015 completed a mat based exercise for MS certificate. In 2016 I qualified as a 500–hours Minded Yoga Therapist with The Minded Institute, where I specialised in working with mental health conditions.


Lorraine Close 399568_10151898149975595_1270815763_n

Lorraine is our outreach development director and also teaches many of our outreach classes.

With a background in nursing in a wide variety of settings including working in a maximum security prison in Glasgow and 2 years living in India, Lorraine has developed a strong awareness of the connection between emotional and physical health

In 2006 while travelling in South Asia Lorraine began practising yoga and meditation regularly. Since moving to Edinburgh in early 2012 Lorraine has developed a committed Ashtanga practice with consistent teachers. Lorraine has never forgotten that going to a yoga class can be an intimidating experience. With this in mind she takes a friendly approach to teaching, encouraging students to allow yoga to fit their bodies rather than make their bodies fit yoga postures. Her main focus is to give students the opportunity to experience the positive effects of connecting the mind and body through the practice of yoga.

Lorraine believes that the opportunity to try yoga should be accessible to everyone; this belief has fueled her interest in yoga outreach; particularly in working with adults affected by stress and anxiety, addiction and complex PTSD. She holds a 200 hr Teacher Training certificate from CYS Scotland. She has completed training with the Minded Institute in Yoga and Mindfulness for Addictions and  a 40 hour CPD workshop on Trauma Informed Yoga practices with David Emerson from the Boston Trauma Centre.

Lorraine currently teaches medical students clinical skills and resuscitation at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and teaches a variety of yoga classes and stress workshops for NHS staff, the recovery community and other mental health settings.


Eva AlbericheEva_photo

Eva teaches outreach classes for Edinburgh Community Yoga

Eva started her journey with Yoga in 2008, attending weekly classes in her home town of Barcelona to unwind from her corporate lifestyle. Soon she began to feel the benefits of yoga on many levels and committed to a more regular practice through private lessons with a teacher that a couple of years later would point her into the tradition with which she trained.

Eva’s teachings follow those of Krishnamacharya and his son Desikachar, based on the principles of Viniyoga. This approach is uniquely suited to meet the needs of any individual or group. Viniyoga methodology provides multi-layered, developmental practices for the healthiest and most athletic student, as well as gentle therapeutic practices for students with health issues.

Since Eva started teaching in 2012 she has not stopped studying, always looking to improve her skills. Her relationship with yoga and her way of living also continues to evolve as she enjoys learning from other traditions that she also finds also. Her classes are the result of it.


Penny HornerPenny-MLY-3-2

Penny teaches outreach classes for Edinburgh Community Yoga

Penny began practicing yoga many years ago and it has continued to play an important supportive role in her life through motherhood, a busy career and beyond. She has experienced the mind & body benefits yoga can deliver during challenging times in her own life and now hopes to share the magic of yoga with others through her teaching.

Following an ashtanga based teacher training with Meadowlark in Edinburgh, Penny has continued to train in more therapeutic approaches and in yoga for women.

This has included training with Uma Dinsmore Tuli in both  ‘womb yoga’ and yoga nidra.  She has completed the MARK training for yoga for addiction and the Warriors at Ease training programme for yoga with military veterans.


She teaches gentle and therapeutic yoga in Edinburgh and Ardnamurchan. As part of the outreach team, she shares yoga with veterans and also adults with ARBD (alcohol related brain damage).


John Arthur IMG_1065

John teachers the 8 week MARK course for Edinburgh Community Yoga

John is a yoga lover and life coach who has been a community worker for 30 years. He is 22 years in recovery and first came across yoga through an Edinburgh Community Yoga Outreach class. He recently travelled around the world and spent much of it learning and practicing yoga with yoga communities and teachers in many different countries. His passion is in making yoga more accessible and relevant to working class men in Scotland and he has recently set up the social enterprise Yogrow to combine his love of life coaching and yoga. He is also a passionate golfer and singer but thankfully his lack of skill at both, has very little impact on his enjoyment of these pastimes.


Gillian Harris  IMG_1119

I was introduced to yoga by my Mum when I was a child and would try to copy the poses as she practised. But it wasn’t until many years later as an adult that I went to my first yoga class.

At first yoga was physical practice and an escape from a busy job as a journalist but gradually I started to notice the real, life-changing benefits of yoga and became interested in deepening my understanding and knowledge.
I embarked on a 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training course in April 2016 which included working with teachers whose backgrounds in Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga opened up a whole new world. At the same time I know that I have only dipped my toe into what there is to learn from yoga and look forward to much more study, practice and training.  As a teacher I want to make yoga inclusive and particularly enjoy sharing the practice with people who would recoil from the idea of going to a yoga studio.
My current classes include teaching chair yoga to older people in a care home setting, running beginners’ courses and work place yoga sessions.


Alison Rae 20155892_10212522054743085_3095940280032124562_n

Alison volunteers with ECY as a peer support worker on our 8 week programme for addiction recovery at the Serenity cafe and our womens group with Comas.

Alison has a background in Occupational Therapy and working with not for profit organisations. Since 2014 Alisons own journey with ECY has grown from  attending our classes to supporting us in running projects with Womenzone and the Serenity café. Her attendance as a peer support worker in these classes provides safety  in the space and offers mentorship and a valuable supportive role to our Outreach teachers.

As a result of her commitment to our outreach programme and supporting individuals in recovery to grow their yoga practice Alison  has completed training in Yoga and mindfulness for addiction recovery using the MARK programme, yoga and mindfulness for PTSD with the Minded Institute and most recently, the yoga foundations programme with Yoga Scotland. In September 2017 Alison will begin her 220 hour yoga teacher training with Shaura Hall at Pilamaya Yoga Teacher Training, funded and supported  through ECY and the Araucaria Scholarship Project. She is the first student to take part in this exciting collaboration. In return Alison will use her skills and experience to give back valuable teaching hours to our outreach programme and will join our team of yoga teachers.


Naomi Newall-Watsonnaomi

volunteers for ECY, developing fundraising strategies, and writing about our projects. She is a yoga teacher and student of Social Anthropology at St Andrews university with Research interests in  Humanism and Anthropology, prison reform and morality

Naomi initially trained to teach through the Yoga Institute (Mumbai, India) in 2009 and subsequently went on to receive a U.K qualification through Yoga Alliance (200hr). Her early years practicing Yoga followed the Ashtanga system – a philosophy and physically strong and dynamic practice which has been a valuable foundation for teaching. She continually attends workshops in specialist areas to further her knowledge and experience (specifically mental health, trauma sensitive practices and sound and touch therapy).

She work with a range of styles, and offer sessions that vary from restorative practices to energising and dynamic ones. For her, Yoga is a therapeutic practice first and foremost, at its best in simple and accessible forms. So whether it be a goal to build strength, stamina and flexibility, or create a little more space and quiet in your own head – there is probably a sequence out there that can sort you out!

Jessica Shields – Monitoring and evaluation.  20170730-DSC_5346

Jessica is a third sector research and evaluation professional with experience of evaluating both small projects and complex national programmes. Her experience includes mental health, arts and public policy. In her current role, she leads the evaluation of a national financial capability project for older adults. She has been practicing yoga 5 years and recently completed her Vinyasa yoga teacher training with Mudra Yoga in Edinburgh.


Kate Dyer  – Monitoring, evaluation and business development.  IMG_1121

Kate has lived most of her life in Africa, and came to practise yoga intensively about 15 years ago, to recover from acute back problems caused not least by the bumpy state of the roads! When living in Tanzania, she also taught yoga to friends and colleagues, and supported initiatives to take yoga into the streets and villages rather than it being confined to yoga studios for expatriates. She has worked for – and served on the Board of – a variety of organisations, including small NGOs and charities, consultancies, and most recently was director of a substantial aid programme. Work-wise her special interests are in strategic planning, monitoring and learning systems, governance and sustainability.