Laura is the founding director of Edinburgh Community Yoga and is a Minded Yoga Therapist (2016, 500 hrs.) specialising in trauma-informed yoga for mental health. She is also an experienced trauma-informed yoga teacher (2012, 200hrs). She has been practicing yoga since 2004 and teaching in mainstream settings as well as in collaboration with third sector organisations, NHS services and Criminal Justice Services since 2011.
Laura is a member of The International Association of Yoga Therapists and bound by their ethics and guidelines.
As a survivor, practitioner, teacher and therapist, Laura has a gift for understanding the complex relationship between the experiences we have, the subsequent patterning laid down in our nervous system and subconscious, and the interplay between body and mind in integrating these experiences. She is motivated by a deep faith in our ability to integrate, process, let go and reframe, and finds the rich tapestry of practices offered in yoga to be an extraordinary set of tools for navigating life as a human being.
Laura works therapeutically both in groups and one to one and presents on the importance of body/mind practices for stress management in workplace settings. She also writes and delivers trainings for yoga teachers interested in working in community settings.
Laura holds a BSc (Hons.) from London Contemporary Dance School, (2003).
“For me, yoga in all its forms is about building a deeper, more awakened and compassionate relationship with your self, so that we can experience the full spectrum of what it is to be human. When we are braced against life’s challenges, we can miss the subtle moments that make life special. And so, Yoga is about creating aliveness as much as it is about calmness, but of course this comes in response to the cultivation of deep, somatic safety. I love the way the practice can teach us new way of being and I never tire of exploring the possibilities that offers us.”
If you are interested in working with Laura, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to discuss.
What is yoga therapy?
Yoga therapy is an emerging complementary therapy and can be very different depending on the practitioner. Laura defines her work as, the exploration of body/mind practices which are grounded in yogic philosophy, to assist in supporting emotional, physical or mental health issues. Laura is particularly interested in the way traumatic experiences can play out in our physical and mental wellbeing and how the comprehensive system of yoga can support their integration.
Yoga therapy comes from an understanding that your emotional, mental and physical self is deeply and unequivocally connected and works on the understanding that regularly relaxing is deeply healing. By facilitating moments to become present and to return to a state of balance, we allow them to optomise their healing potential.
Below are a couple of definitions to give a more rounded sense of what yoga therapy covers.
“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga.” International Association of Yoga Therapists
“Yoga therapy is a modern coinage and represents a first effort to integrate traditional yogic concepts and techniques with Western medical and psychological knowledge. Whereas traditional yoga is primarily concerned with personal transcendence on the part of a ‘normal’ or healthy individual, yoga therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunctions ranging from back problems to emotional distress. Both approaches, however share an understanding of the human being as an integrated body/mind system, which can function optimally only when there is a state of dynamic balance.” George Feuerstein
How is yoga therapy used?
Laura works closely with each individual client to find practices that will help support and enhance wellbeing. Sessions may include breathing techniques, chanting, sounding, physical movement and postures, meditation, mindfulness, emotional release techniques, and deep relaxation. Yoga therapy should not be used to replace any medications and you are free to continue with other forms of therapy alongside the work.
What is unique about minded yoga therapy?
The Minded yoga therapy approach combines the worlds of yoga, science, and psychology. It integrates yoga therapies with mindfulness, translate neuro-scientific findings into practices, and offer the support of psychotherapeutic holding.
The price is £80 for a 90 minute session. Cancellations made with less than 24 hours notice will be charged for. Laura offers concessions on a case-by-case basis. Please email her directly if you would like to discuss further. Laura@edinburghcommunityyoga.co.uk
Laura works in person from her home in Roslin EH25 9LP and also offers online sessions.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Once you have emailed to enquire, Laura will establish if she has availability that suits you and will then arrange a free, initial 20 minute call where you can discuss your hopes for the yoga therapy sessions. If you both decide you would like to go ahead, then Laura will arrange for a first session where you can decide if you think the yoga therapy sessions are a good fit for you. This session will be charged for, however, there is no pressure to have further sessions if you are not sure it is for you.
Before the initial session, you will be asked to complete an intake form detailing you’re mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. You need only provide information you feel comfortable to disclose. The form is confidential and will allow Laura time to prepare an individual yoga therapy plan for you.
What to wear
Please wear comfortable clothing you can easily move in. Leggings, shorts or jogging bottoms and a t-shirt or vest are perfect. We recommend you wearing layers as you may get warm when moving, but may also want more clothes on during meditation or more still practices.
The initial session is for both you and Laura to gauge if the yoga therapy sessions may be helpful for you. There is no requirement or expectation to continue with further sessions if you feel Laura’s approach is not for you. However, if you choose to go ahead, we recommend you commit to at least 4-6 sessions, as the benefits of yoga therapy can be slow to develop. Yoga therapy is certainly not a quick fix and involves lifestyle changes, changes in subconscious limiting beliefs and changes in world view which can (and should!) take time to happen so that the changes can be sustainable and long-lasting.
In your first session you will talk through your intake form and discuss any questions Laura may have relating to what you have reported. However, the focus will be on moving towards the yoga practices as a way of working together, rather than on too much history or discussion. Normally this check-in will be done seated on the floor, but if for any reason you prefer to use chairs this is absolutely fine and can easily be arranged.
You may go through a breath and or physical assessment where Laura will begin to get a better idea of how yoga therapy may be able to assist you.
Laura will introduce you to practices that she thinks may be of help to you. Practice may include breathing techniques, chanting, sounding, physical movement and postures, meditation, mindfulness, emotional release techniques, and deep relaxation. The session will be completely guided by your comfort levels and feeling of safety. You will only be offered practice you are comfortable to work with.
A huge part of finding healing with yoga therapy comes from developing a home practice. Laura will work with you to develop a home practice that meets your specific needs and that takes into account and is respectful of your lifestyle and energy levels. There are some resources below to help you.
To support the content of practices being chosen for further sessions and home practice, each session will include a check-in where Laura will work to get an understanding of how the home practices are feeling and what might be helpful for the day’s session. The check-in will then be followed by a personally curated practice which may include breathing techniques, chanting, sounding, physical movement and postures, meditation, mindfulness, emotional release techniques, and deep relaxation.
Laura will never offer any ‘hands on’ assistance in your yoga poses without first gaining your content. While some people find supportive touch therapeutic or helpful others definitely don’t. Your choice will always be respected.
HOME PRACTICE RESOURCES
As part of your yoga therapy you will be encouraged to develop a home practice. Laura will support you with this by creating bespoke video practices you can follow at home. We also have a resources page with various practices which you may like to use.