Sarah and Helen
We are cousins and although we have lived apart since we first met in 1976 age 10 and 8, we have always had a very special bond and a deep friendship with a zest for life. Then, in 2017 our lives paralleled each other as we and our families were thrown into chaos when we both underwent major surgeries, in tandem with the horror the menopause can bring. With low self-esteem, lack of confidence, devoid of emotion and combating trauma, we found ourselves drawn to each other for support as we both knew what the other was experiencing, while trying to protect our loved ones from our sadness and hopelessness. Together we clawed our way out of our nightmares.
But out of something extremely challenging, we were determined to turn it into something positive and so SHOM Yoga & Wellbeing was born. The name SHOM is the S and H from our names and connecting with OM, the universal vibration of Mother Divine, a declaration to the practice of yoga is created.
Through our own practices, we have become stronger physically and mentally and are finding our inner peace and laughter once again.
I’m a 50+ primary school teacher based in the North East of England. Outside of work I love all things active. Over the last few years I have discovered the art of slowing down, breathing and appreciating everything around me. This has included practicing yoga, learning to meditate and employ breathing techniques to serve my nervous system. I have also found acupuncture, a traditional Chinese Medicine practice, that has eased and cured a variety of symptoms. I go cold-water swimming regularly, a therapy in itself.
After two 10 hour brain tumour operations within 3 years, followed swiftly by the menopause, my life was suddenly taking a different path. This is when I found my resilience and positivity in the least likely places. Sometimes when you experience a bolt from the blue you have no choice but to slow down and adapt. I realised that things in my life had to change. I had to step back from trying to spin all those plates each day and saw gradually the great benefit for my mind and soul.
Seeing the opportunities in all situations is one of my many strengths. Coupled with my research into ‘being well’, offering tools in which individuals can turn challenges around, manifesting positivity and links to experts in the wellbeing field, has given me the passion to be a SHOM Yoga and Wellbeing co-founder
I love living an active life; running, bird watching, hiking and for years have been practicing the yoga techniques of Ashtanga, Iyengar and Sattva. I found that yoga helped me find the ‘pause’ button, allowing me to focus on myself for the time I was on the yoga mat. I also found I was able to switch off my racing mind and just be in the moment.
The menopause had hit me badly and I came very close to losing the real me, but yoga calmed the madness. Then my career as a professional actress was brought to an abrupt halt when I underwent 2 Achilles reattachment operations in the space of 2 years. As a result I lost simple acts of independence like walking unaided, standing on two feet, travelling on my own and working in my 30 year career as an actress. During my very slow recovery, I started to develop my own chair yoga practices and as my injury improved, I shared these practices with others and then went on to create a Gentle Flow to Wellbeing practice. My mind, body and soul was getting stronger, but it was Sattva Yoga which was the catalyst for me to train as a teacher.
Studying under the guidance of my guru Anand Mehrotra and the master teachers at Sattva Yoga Academy in Rishikesh, India (the spiritual home of yoga), I have the privilege now of sharing the transformational Sattva Integrated Practice as a co-founder of SHOM Yoga and Wellbeing.
With a fantastic medical and spiritual team supporting me, I found a way back, reclaimed my life and feel more inspired than ever.