Find healing or release your inner goddess with yoga

Sue Bayliss, practising her yoga pose in Greece.
Picture: Sue Bayliss

Sue Bayliss, practising her yoga pose in Greece. Picture: Sue Bayliss - Credit: Archant

Can yoga be a form of form of therapy as well as exercise? Sheena Grant reports. We all know yoga is good for the body and mind but how many us realise it can also help heal emotional trauma and empower women?

Holistic therapist Sue Bayliss, who is also Health and Wellbeing’s resident agony aunt, recently travelled to Greece for training in teaching transformational Hatha Yoga and will now be incorporating Healing Yoga and Goddess Yoga into her practice locally.

Here, she explains more...

What’s your own relationship with yoga?

I’ve practised yoga for around 15 years and have co-led retreats with my yoga teacher, Lynne Adamson, in Turkey and Greece. I have always found it helpful.

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Recently I’ve been reading about how yoga helps people heal trauma and recover from anxiety and depression. I also met a woman who wrote a book about how she recovered from severe anorexia. Yoga enabled her to make friends with her body and accept herself. Bessel van der Kolk, who runs a well-known trauma treatment centre in the US, discovered that trauma-sensitive yoga was integral to the healing process for many patients. As a therapist who is always looking for new ways to help people heal, this made me curious and I decided to add yoga to my therapy practice. I looked for an intensive training course and chose one in Greece as I love that country and being in the sunshine. I now have a yoga teacher certificate in Transformational Hatha Yoga and am also attending training in Restorative Yoga in London.

Whilst practising yoga every day in Greece I felt amazingly vibrant and fit and since returning I’ve managed to do up to an hour of yoga almost daily. I find I need to check in with my body every day, stretching and breathing and strengthening my muscles. I’ve lost weight and feel toned and my mood is excellent. This, more than anything, gives me great enthusiasm for bringing yoga to all those who are seeking inner peace and greater health. In fact, yoga has changed my life.

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What is healing yoga?

Healing yoga is focused on enabling people to move from stress and anxiety to feeling calm and balanced and from feeling low to being uplifted. It brings balance and harmony on all levels, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual too.

It works by enabling people to experience grounding postures, such as warrior, which give them confidence, paying attention to breathing which is known to be of benefit and also being able to relax deeply, which causes a release of endorphins. By getting in touch with our bodies we are able to access our intuition and know more easily what is right for us.

Restorative yoga provides opportunities for deep relaxation which benefits body, mind and soul. I feel there is a need for classes which offer a particularly supportive atmosphere for those who may feel anxious about embarking on a yoga journey or for people who already practise yoga and want to try a different approach.

What is Goddess Yoga and who is it aimed at?

Goddess Yoga is about empowering women through a kind of yoga practice that is geared to their needs. It is based on womb yoga, which was created by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, who found that standard yoga teachings did not make provision for the life-cycle of women and their changing bodies and needs. In an age where misogyny is sadly still evident and many women do not value their bodies, I want to give women the opportunity to embrace a style of yoga that enables them to honour their bodies and themselves. In a recent study 97% of women admitted to having thought negatively about their body once or more often during the course of a day. More than three quarters of women and girls are unhappy with their looks. Yoga helps you to inhabit your body rather than judging it. It is a quest for the true self.

Sue’s classes in Healing and Goddess Yoga begin at the Complementary Health Care Clinic, Exchange Street, Norwich, in September. She is also giving two talks, De-stress with Yoga - the Benefits explained, on July 18, at the Norwich Wellbeing Centre, and Yoga for Women’s Empowerment on July 25, at the Complementary Health clinic. On August 12 there will be a taster session from 10-11.30am for Healing Yoga and 12-1.30 for Goddess Yoga at the Norwich Wellbeing Centre. For more details visit or Sue’s Facebook page, Pathways to Wellbeing.

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