The Yoga and Mindfulness Path away from Depression and Emotional Distress – Moving Towards the Light – A Ten Week Course

Hi Fellow Yogis,

You know when something keeps knocking at your door? A thought, a feeling, reminders or requests?

I always feel that we should respond to persistent nudges, which is why I am hoping to run a ten week course entitled “The Yoga and Mindfulness Path away from Depression and Emotional Distress – Moving Towards the Light”. This course will be an integration of my western Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) learnings and experience, with Eastern Wisdom gained through my yoga therapy training, yoga teaching, and almost thirty five years of personal yoga practice.
Together, we will find new ways to navigate difficult feelings and emotions. We will practice techniques and practices which will help students to move away from unwanted negative emotions and feelings, towards a more neutral perspective on challenging situations and experiences. We shall explore ways of filling our “happiness pot” and moving out of the shadows and in to the light.  

Students will be given a daily practice to take home with them and this practice will be changed and adapted each week to take account of new learnings and techniques/practices. Together, we will create a safe environment where we can build mutual trust and understanding, and students will be encouraged to positively support each other off their mats as well as on them.

The course will take place on a weekday during the day, venue to be decided. The cost of the full course will be £100, 50% of which will be due on registration and the other 50% before the course begins. Fees include 10 x 75 minute classes, 10 x daily home practice sheets (which will be updated and revised weekly) inclusion in the group support network and the opportunity to tackle emotional issues that are holding you back and preventing you from moving forward towards the sunshine!

There will be a maximum of ten places, and spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

The course can only happen if there is enough interest, so if you are interested in taking part, please email me at: I would also be grateful if you would share this with others who you feel might benefit.

Sending warm wishes.

Sarah Kemp

How Yoga Can Help us to Evaluate and Manage Stress

One of the most frequently heard expressions today is “I’m stressed”. Stress is an inevitable part of modern-day living, however, most stress can be reduced considerably and even eliminated.  Here are some considerations when contemplating stress in your life, and suggestions for reducing it:

(1)     What causes me to become stressed? Commonly shared examples of stressors are: Time-keeping, negative relationships, and money …  However, stress is very personal.  What may stress one person, will not stress another.
(2)    What can I do to reduce my stressors?  Take, for example, being unpunctual.  If being late stresses you, then allow more time for your journey, plan for the unexpected, and add extra time if necessary. Give yourself more time than you are likely to need so that you can relax and  enjoy the journey, rather than rushing and arriving stressed and on edge.
(3)    What can I not change? If you cannot change it, then try to make it acceptable by viewing it from a different perspective.  Annoying relatives perhaps will seem less annoying if you can understand and accept your differences.
(4)    Invest some time on your mat in quiet contemplation.  Ask yourself “why am I stressed, and what can I do about it right now?” Allow the question to settle, and quietly watch your breath. Trust in your vijnanamaya kosha, the wise part of us that holds the answers, and wait for inspiration to come. It may not come as quickly as you like, and it may not always been the answer you were hoping for, however it will be the right answer for you.
(5)     Contemplate the Serenity Prayer, and let it’s wisdom inspire you to trust in the guidance you receive:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
(6)    Be active and expunge negative energy.  Use the adrenalin that your body is supplying: Run, walk fast or choose a more energetic yoga practice … whatever works for you.
(7)    Breathe consciously – slowly and deeply, comfortably and with control.  Focus on the body as you breathe.  Notice the rise and fall of the front of the body with each breath-round.  Notice the lungs expanding with the in-breath and the body softening with the out-breath.  Allow the breath to ease the mind and the body into a state of tranquillity.  Remind yourself that it is impossible to breathe slowly and calmly and be stressed or anxious at the same time.  So now you have a choice to be calm or stressed.  Although stress starts in our mind, we can  erase it through the way we use our thoughts, our breath or our body.  And a combination of all three is powerful … it is what we call yoga!
Om Shanti (Peace to Everyone)
If you would like to know more about yoga, stress and anxiety management, mindfulness or relaxation techniques please contact Sarah, email me at:, find me on Facebook under Free To Think, or text or telephone me on: 07817623330

On Becoming A Yoga Therapist


Well, as my fellow yoga therapy students and I press on towards the end of our (rather gruelling) 2+ year Yoga Therapy Diploma Course, I am beginning to reflect on why I first decided to become a Yoga Therapist, and how that has changed and developed over the past 18 months.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deep therapeutic level.

Restorative poses are prescribed for their ability to relax and heal on a deeply therapeutic level.

My initial aim was, of course, to “help” people.  An important part of yoga philosophy is that of being of service to others (Karma Yoga) and a Yoga Therapist holds a unique position which enables him or her to combine modern Western knowledge and science with traditional Eastern yogic techniques to cultivate methods of healing. When I first applied for a place on the course, I passionately wanted to be able to ease suffering and encourage empowerment and ownership of did-ease and other disruptions to wellbeing. Of course, I still feel the same way, however, I now understand that these disruptions exist on many different levels within the person, and that, in order for true healing to take place, every level has to be addressed and healed.

A secondary aim was to continue to spread the benefits of yoga as widely as I could. Yoga is purely experiential. Any student knows that we can talk about (and understand) the many physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga, however the value is in actually spending regular time on our mat experiencing yoga. When we are in that most peaceful of places: at home in our body, experiencing the breath, that is when we truly feel the power of yoga.

Now imagine harnessing all that energy and focusing it precisely where it is needed to improve a particular aspect (or aspects) of wellbeing, then, you have Yoga Therapy.

If you would like to know more about Yoga Therapy, go to my Yoga Therapy page at: Yoga Therapy, or contact me at: Contact Sarah.