Brought up in the hills of mid-Wales, I ventured to various places across the UK, Spain and Mexico before finding my home in Bristol.
I am an Anthropologist and trained Community & Youth Worker. I share this because both of these things underpin my motivation and values as a yoga facilitator and practitioner. For over 10 years I have worked with community groups and individuals - from group-work on gender-based violence in rural communities in Oaxaca, after school clubs with young women in South-East London, providing advocacy for young homeless people across London and working with women with complex needs in the streets of Bristol. As my yoga practice has developed, I have witnessed yoga weaving itself into my professional work. Taking a few lion’s breathes with a woman before a nerve-wracking appointment or finding myself having in-depth philosophical conversations with clients sleeping on the streets of Bristol. My life is centred around finding ways for people to (re)find their voice, (re)find their bodies and build positive relationships.
This is what yoga is all about for me - RELATIONSHIP. Building loving relationships, firstly with ourselves and from there with those around us and the world beyond. This is not always easy and certainly takes daily practice. Practice, showing up and reaching out for the support we need, when we need it. It is this support and safe space I strive to offer in my classes alongside a good dose of laughter, play and lightheartedness. Guided by the foundations of yoga philosophy, I encourage you to explore your edges - using asana (physical postures), breathwork and meditation to find strength, fluidity and softness in your body, mind and soul.
My yoga journey
Yoga came into my life when I was 18 years old, as a suggestion from my osteopath to help with lower back pain. Delving into yoga books I developed my own home practice, dipping in and out of classes along the way for several years. I have had an interesting journey with yoga, probably not always a healthy one. I remember arriving at my first teacher training at Yoga Vidya Gurukul in India and feeling quite angry as I was being told “yoga is not exercise!”. I was outraged. Although I had definitely noticed the huge benefits my daily practice was having on my mental wellbeing, I just didn’t want to let go of the idea that yoga was about a good workout.
Years after I first stepped onto the mat, my feelings and understanding of yoga have dramatically shifted. Yoga is SO much more than stretches and shapes and sometimes my mind is overwhelmed by how much yoga encompasses. Everything I teach is grounded in my own daily practice and experience, guidance from teachers and personal study. It is a never ending journey of learning.
My teachers & qualifications
I am truly grateful to the many teachers who have and continue to support and inspire me on my journey as a yoga practitioner and teacher. My teachers at Yoga Vidya Gurukul introduced me to the philosophies of ashtanga and hatha yoga. Under the guidance of Sarah Harlow & Christopher Gladwell, I went deeper into this journey and connected deeply to the teachings of Tantric yoga. Interweaving with my work as an anti-oppressive community worker, my studies have continued into areas such as: women's health, trauma-informed yoga and decolonising yoga with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Sophia Ansari & Alex Cat. In 2020, through the magic of Zoom, I have been blessed to continue my studies across the globe with Leila Sadegee & Luvena Rangel, deepening my practice of mantra, meditation and the wisdom of Celtic rituals and elemental cycles.
300hr Advanced Teacher Training - Yogasara, Bristol / 2016 - 2017
200hr Teacher Training - Yoga Vidya Gurukul, Nasik, India / November 2014
Yoga for All (online) - Diane Bondy & Amber Kearnes / 2020 (ongoing)
Luvena Rangel, Mantra & Meditation / 2020 (online)
Understanding Cultural Appropriation, Sophia Ansari / 2020 (online)
60hrs Hands on Anatomy - Yogasara, Bristol / 2019
21hrs Anatomy in Motion - Anatomy Trains, London / 2018
15hrs Decolonising Yoga - Sophia Ansari, Cardiff / 2018
20hrs Trauma Sensitive Yoga - The Yoga Clinic London / July 2018
45hrs Well Woman Yoga Therapy - Yoga Campus with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli / 2017
15hrs Anatomy for Yoga Instructors - Trika Yoga, Bristol / 2018
"I love Leonie's classes and always come away from them feeling energised and relaxed at the same time. She is a very down to earth and approachable teacher and has a way of bringing some humour into class which is very refreshing. Her classes are always a good challenge without making you feel like you're not experienced enough for them. Highly recommended!"