I'm a yin yoga teacher and NHS clinical health psychologist based in Edinburgh with an interest in integrating learnings from both professions.
Many yoga teachers will say yoga changed their life but for me, it has been seeing people I have supported as a psychologist making meaningful changes that really inspired me to pay attention to what I needed to work on. I used to put everything into my job but then have very little left to give to the important people in my life or for my own enjoyment and this was leaving me feeling overwhelmed, unfulfilled and burnt out. Something had to change and I knew the pressures of my job were not going to reduce but the way I behaved day to day was possible to adjust so that I could have my own needs met more effectively, as long as I applied the same self-compassionate approach that I encourage others to use.
Part of learning to be self-compassionate involved recognising what my needs are and how they might be different from other people doing the same job as me. Unfortunately, burnout is quite a common difficulty for people working in the helping professions but I became interested in what puts some of us at greater risk than others. I'm an introvert and highly sensitive person, which means that, as much as I love my job as a clinical psychologist, I have to take extra steps to protect my wellbeing, and more talking is not always the answer.
I believe in practising what I preach and yin yoga is one of a range of tools that I use to achieve balance in my life. It allows me to practise noticing physical sensation inside my body and to learn when it is better to hold back than to push further, which blended really well with focusing on my personal boundaries, assertiveness and perfectionistic tendencies.
The more I practised, the more I wanted to know what I was doing and why, which led me to my 200 hour yin yoga teacher training. I had not intended to teach at the start but the more I learned, the more I could see the parallels with what I teach within my therapeutic work. My aim is to share this nourishing physical practice in a way that helps people reflect on and change their behaviour in different life areas for their wellbeing.
My classes are most likely to appeal to high achievers who appear to function very well in their careers but are aware that their current lifestyle may not be sustainable. This may be due to working in a highly stressful role and / or going through cycles of burnout and prolonged recovery periods.
I use my therapeutic and behaviour change expertise to focus on realistic ways that people can bring more balance to their lives. Building up more self-compassion in order to live a life according to your values is what I believe good self care is for. Some of this is messy, uncomfortable and challenging, whilst other parts may feel soothing and enjoyable. And if my yin yoga classes sound like they may support you as one part of your journey, I look forward to seeing you soon.
Further details can be found on my website: www.yinyogadavina.com where you can also sign up to my newsletter to receive a free guide to practising yin yoga at home as well as being the first to hear about new offerings.