MEET THE BYF TEAM
Mark is part of the marketing team that gets to share all of the wonderful news and events with you all. “A keen runner, he is a Regional Ambassador for parkrun UK so appreciates all too well the importance of community and well-being and loves the positive interactions that the BYF enjoy.
Neil has worked in the community and voluntary sector for 18 years in the field of mental health, working to develop, grow and sustain charities and community groups. He is passionate about neighbourhoods and communities and the role of the third sector within these. He is committed to influencing health inequalities and social injustice, in particular issues relating to well-being and mental health. Neil believes in challenging prejudice, discrimination and stigma. He is a keen walker, swimmer and trys to play the piano!
COMMUNITY YOGA TEACHING TEAM
Hannah qualified as a yoga teacher in 2015, after an initial career as a dancer, choreographer and theatre producer. During this time, she had always had a personal yoga practice, so the move into yoga teaching felt like a very natural one. Once qualified, Hannah felt compelled to use her skills in community and outreach settings - so she could be part of a movement to bring the benefits of yoga to those least able to access it. So she began to specialise in therapeutic and trauma informed work, and develop pay-it-forward models of pricing structures for classes and retreats, so low/no cost sessions could be offered to participants on low incomes. She became a trustee of Brighton Yoga Foundation in 2018, with a specific focus on developing the community and outreach programme. Working on strategy, implementation and teaching over the past 3 years, the programme has grown into a robust and varied offering, with online and face to face classes being offered to many groups who may not otherwise access the benefits of yoga. Hannah is really proud of the amount of sessions and people we are now reaching, and particularly loves hosting face to face sessions in the community, and connecting with our wonderful participants.
Charlie is a BYF teacher, co-founder of Om Retreats and founder of Akin Yoga. She has always loved yoga, and took her teacher training in Italy and India 10 years ago. Her passion is to help people feel happy and connected through yoga. She started Om Retreats back in 2007 with fellow BYF teacher and trustee Hannah, where guests enjoy a yoga retreat, but also get to be part of 'paying it forward’, in the form of profits from each retreat funding yoga for people who may not otherwise access the benefits of yoga. This then flourished into more collaboration and outreach opportunities with BYF, where Charlie taught Therapeutic Yoga to many different participants. Charlie brings a natural and welcoming warmth to her teaching, and is very proud to be part of the vibrant and multi-faceted teaching team at BYF. She is also qualified in Pilates, pre-natal yoga and Les Mills Bodybalance.
Helen Moss @nidrarestore delivers online yoga classes for the Brighton Yoga Foundation and will be running her first workshop for us next month 'Yoga is a collaboration, not a one size fits all or a teacher knows the best situation. What is comfortable, challenging or restful for someone is unique to them. In classes I invite people to uncover ways they can bring ease of movement, breath and thought. All of my work is done with kindness, humility, invitation and at its heart, a deep sense of welcome. ' As a yoga therapist, trainer and teacher Helen believes she is still learning and evolving her understanding of yoga as a conversation, a conversation between body and mind, between herself and others and the world around her. Helen qualified as yoga therapist with the Minded Institute (580hrs, 2020) and as a BWY teacher (500hrs, 2008) She is a mother of two boys living in Brighton. She teaches weekly online classes, runs training courses and offers yoga therapy 121s.
Lizzy West joined the Brighton Yoga Foundation team after becoming involved with the BYF BLM task group in 2020. Lizzie delivered a course of face to face classes for the BAME community as part of a long term project funded by @activesussex. Lizzy also work as a social prescriber in the NHS which is a fairly new role within general practice. ‘My journey with yoga began around 2013 after struggling with a debilitating physical illness. Drawing on my knowledge of complementary medicine and introducing yoga into my life, I was able to heal and reduce the symptoms. I realized I was learning to experience moments of freedom in my mind and body. Life is noisy as is my mind, discovering yoga (the many forms on and off the mat) was one of the best life hacks for me! It's for everyone, everybody, just as you are.'
Indie a yoga guide with a focus on rest, intentional movement and breath. She teaches in a way that invites curiosity, reflection and a space to allow whatever comes up to be felt. With much of her training completed with Susanna Barkataki, Indie sits at the intersection of Yoga and Social justice. The belief that the practice and ethics of Yoga are intertwined with social change, community and equity and span much further than the physical practice we see. Indie delivers classes and offerings as part of the project to make Yoga accessible to BPOC and marginalised communities across Brighton and Hove.
Yoga and meditation have been part of the regular things Justine does to keep well for over two decades and she has been teaching as part of the BYF team since 2019. “What I love about BYF is the friendly community, and the small classes which give us a chance to connect in a more relaxed way. I enjoy teaching yoga as a way of exploring all the ways we can move our bodies and minds, encouraging everyone to find delight in this simple thing of paying attention and moving around on a mat, getting to know what helps us to move/feel well and becoming more in tune with ourselves.”When Justine is not practising, teaching or studying movement/yoga, you can find her walking or running on the Downs, cooking healthy, and hanging out with my older kids while they are home more than usual.
YOUNG PEOPLE'S OUTREACH TEAM
Tamsin is a yoga teacher based in Brighton and founder of Sprite Yoga. She has taught yoga for over 10 years and teaches regularly in both primary and secondary schools throughout Sussex. As a registered Yoga Teacher Trainer with Yoga Alliance Professionals Tamsin runs CPD courses to equip PE teachers to offer yoga themselves within school. Tamsin is also a qualified teacher and has taught GCSE and A Level Dance and Drama in Secondary and Further Education for many years. For BYF Tamsin has led projects for teenagers in secondary schools across the city since 2018. She has recently recorded 30 minute sessions for the BYF YouTube channel with the aim of keeping young people moving and supporting their mental wellbeing during lockdown. Her next project for us is to co-ordinate a yoga project for students in Further Education in Brighton and Worthing.
Durgha (@durgha15) is a BYF yoga teacher and the Co-Founder of @mindful_warriors_ , a social enterprise bringing yoga classes to children, schools and the community. Her work at Mindful Warriors is as much about sharing the practise of yoga and mindfulness for wellbeing and positive mental health as it is about youth work and developing community projects. Mindful Warriors is celebrating 3 years of service and during the pandemic has delivered a number of online projects as well engaging children and young people with their Digital Classroom filled with fun yoga video lessons! She is a world traveller and passionate about connecting continents through education, enterprise and employability focused initiatives. Her journey has taken her to India, China, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories (to name a few!) working with young people, communities, schools, universities and businesses. Now back home in the UK and alongside her work at Mindful Warriors, Durgha works at the University of Sussex. Since lockdown she has been teaching her colleagues yoga online. She loves the sense of calm and peace that yoga brings to her life and being able to share this with others. Durgha has supported the work of BYF through volunteering at our festivals and getting involved with our teacher meet ups. She is currently delivering online yoga sessions to young people at @amazesussex in a project partnership with Active Sussex to help young people stay active.
Caroline is a new member of the Brighton Yoga Foundation youth yoga teaching team but has been involved with the Foundation since the very first Brighton Yoga Festival and was the Volunteer Coordinator for 4 years
Caroline aims to dispel the idea that yoga is only for a certain type of person, body type, ability or age. She strongly believes everyone can do yoga and that a good teacher offers sessions that are accessible to people who are beginners to yoga as well as those that are more experienced.
With her other hat on, Caroline is a youth worker and is passionate about the wellbeing of young people. Two years ago, she worked with BYF to introduce a Yoga for Teenagers programme in Moulsecoomb. She is now involved in a new community based yoga for teens project and is really looking forward to offering yoga classes in youth clubs again when they reopen.
Brighton Yoga foundation has a group of trustees which steer the charity to achieve its aims and ensure it is in alignment with the charities mission to provide Yoga to people who need it the most in Brighton and Hove.
Davy Jones co-founded the Brighton Yoga Festival in late 2013 with Mikaela Perera. He has been centrally involved in the 5 annual festivals since 2014, and the establishment of Brighton Yoga Foundation as a registered charity. Davy has been a yoga student since 1999 and a teacher for over eleven years. He teaches in Brighton & Sussex and runs yoga holidays around the world with his partner Janaki as part of InspirationYoga. He passionately believes in the power of yoga to effect not just physical and mental change, but also social and political change. Davy grew up as a teenager in Saltdean and moved back here in 2002. He stood as the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate in the 2015 General Election – the first yoga teacher in the UK to stand for parliament. Davy is chair of the trustees of the Brighton Yoga Foundation. www.inspirationyoga.net
As well as being the Managing Director of The Float Spa, Camille is also a mum of two. In 2014 Camille found herself suffering from PTSD and used floatation to overcome this. She was so impressed with the results she decided to open her own well being centre here in Brighton and Hove as there wasn’t one in the area. Since opening on Third Avenue in Hove, Camille has trained a Health & Wellness Consultant and Meditation Teacher to spread the benefits of wellbeing specifically to the corporate sector. But also her experience of yoga has also been so positive that she joined as a trustee back in 2015. www.thefloatspa.co.uk / www.camillepierson.co.uk
Hannah's background was originally as a dancer, choreographer and subsequently she set up an entertainment production company with her husband. During this time, she always had a love of yoga, but it wasn't until 5 years ago, she decided to formalise this and become a qualified teacher. This led to a deep interest in yoga's therapeutic and healing benefits, particularly for those affected by anxiety, depression, trauma and ill health. So Hannah launched Om Retreats, a non-profit yoga company, providing yoga retreats for paying customers, and then using the profits to deliver yoga activities for vulnerable groups in the community. Om Retreats currently work with groups from charities including Rise, Survivors Network and Macmillan, offering yoga classes, workshops and retreats for participants who may not otherwise get to experience the benefits of yoga.
Gaia is a Yoga teacher and Doula based in Brighton. She brings nearly a decade of experience working for a Social Integration Charity in an Operational role and as a Project Manager. Gaia also has experience organising successful Yoga events across London. Gaia is passionate about how the practice of Yoga can benefit the physical and mental well being of individuals and was drawn to BYF after learning about the ever expanding community outreach programmes. The commitment and drive that the charity has to reach out to individuals in our city who may not have access to a yoga class and the positive impact this can have on lives is why Gaia is honoured to be a part of BYF and it's mission.
Melanie Spencer is pleased to join as a trustee for the Brighton Yoga Foundation. Having practiced yoga for over 10 years she is aware of the benefits that yoga offers on an emotional and physical basis. Melanie is a Social Worker with over 15 years experience of working with children,families and young people- working in the fields of child protection, fostering and adoption, mental health, substance misuse, domestic abuse and youth offending. The outreach work that the Brighton Yoga Foundation offers in conjunction with local services and charities is an important step forward in recognising the holistic support for individuals and communities that is needed in today's society. Melanie is excited to be able to combine her experience within these communities with her passion for yoga.
David initially trained as a solicitor specialising in corporate law before switching to freelance accounting, becoming a chartered member of the ACCA in 2015. With a passion for the Film/TV industry, he has recently become involved in Film Production Accounting for various studios. His previous background has been in various Financial Services, Leisure & Education industries. Based in Brighton, David joined BYF as a Trustee in 2020 and is keen to offer advice and support on various Finance aspects as the charity develops.
Nataliya is a dedicated yoga student of over 10 years and mother from Brighton. The positive impact Yoga has had on her life off the mat, led her to embarking on her Teacher Training with the Sun Power Yoga School in 2017. She now teaches a variety of classes across Brighton, including 'Teens Yoga' and 'Yoga with Young Homeless people' and is working towards getting Yoga into Schools as part of the core curriculum. Her background before yoga was as an Events Coordinator where she ran a variety of high profile Events across London. Nataliya is also on the Executive Committee of the Lovey Foundation UK, a Charity that works with a sister organisation in Ghana to support children in Ghana to attend school. She brings her passion for supporting her Community, Event and Charity work experience to the team of Trustees. She is honoured to be part of the team and is keen to find further opportunities to support those who may not have access to these life enhancing practices.
Amy works in a strategy and business transformation role in the corporate insurance sector, project managing large growth and change initiatives. Having spent her 20s living and working in Germany, Spain and Singapore, Amy returned to the UK in 2008 and has since studied for a degree in Law and volunteered on several committees. Most recently she wrote a successful bid to Sport England on behalf of a local community school and currently advises a digital start-up on their go-to-market strategy and operating model. In her spare time, Amy loves watching F1 and cricket or training for long runs. She discovered yoga about 10 years ago and reaps the physical and mental benefits of a regular practice. Now living in Burgess Hill, Amy joined BYF as a Trustee in 2021 and is excited about supporting their ambitious growth plans.
Clare first fell in love with Yoga in 2010 when she took up classes in Dublin, where she is originally from. After completing Yoga teacher training in India in 2016, she began teaching that same year when she relocated to Brighton. Clare has been involved with Brighton Yoga Foundation for 3 years, supporting with coordination of our annual free festival and is really looking forward to a formal role as trustee/secretary. Clare works full time in governance for a large International development agency and is also a trustee for the Kent (Folkestone) branch of the RSPCA.