Our instructors are a diverse community of Yogi's committed to providing authentic yoga for everyone. Urban Zen brings together the best teachers in the area so that you can be sure that no matter which class you chose it will always be led by a passionate, knowledgeable teacher.

Emily Ann Cole

Instructors - Emily Ann Cole

I began my journey into yoga whilst travelling in Sri Lanka in 2006. Falling instantly in love with the practice I attended classes every day and returned home feeling like a new person.  At this time I started a new business and quickly got swept up into a lifestyle of stress, anxiety and always wanting more. I increasingly found myself more and more dissatisfied with the life i was living. I struggled to come to terms with the realisation that the life i had worked so hard for was actually making me miserable.

I finally found myself at breaking point and knew that there must be more to life. I made a decision to start a regular yoga practice and immersed myself fully in classes, workshops and retreats. Within a few months I already felt like a new person. A cloud had been lifted and suddenly everything made sense to me.

All i wanted was to delve deeper into the world of yoga. I read every article that I could get my hands on, studied under as many teachers as possible and told anybody that would listen about this life changing practice. I was hooked and I wanted the whole world to experience the physical and mental benefits of yoga.

In January 2013 I travelled to India to complete my teacher training in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. The opportunity to be fully immersed in the physical and philosophical sides of yoga without any distraction only reinforced my love for this ancient practice.

I can honestly say that i now get as much pleasure from teaching as i do from practicing. As a yoga teacher I strive to teach in a way that is authentic yet current and accessible for everyone. Whether someone comes to me to change their body, reduce stress levels or to make a big life change, I aim to provide them with the tools and support that they need to help them reach their goal. 

Menna Buss

Instructors - Menna Buss

Menna is a pre and post-natal yoga specialist.  She has practiced a variety of styles from Ashtanga to Iyengar whilst living in London and travelling in Latin America and Australia, but a year in South India sparked her interest in yoga as a way of life.  In Kerala, Menna and Stephen trained in a traditional martial arts and yoga ‘kalari’ where they later got married.  Menna’s teaching aims to develop mind, body and breath awareness and an understanding of yoga as an ancient art form.  Menna is also a massage therapist, textile art teacher and soon-to-be Mum of two!

Pregnancy Yoga Class description:

This class will guide you through exercises of mind, body and breath to prepare for birth.  Pregnancy is a time of great change – learning to restore balance and focus will prevent stress of the mind and body that can disturb labour. After 10 weeks, attending yoga classes is the ideal way to stretch, tone and relax the body, connect with your bump and meet other expectant mothers.

Stephen Buss

Instructors - Stephen Buss

Stephen has been teaching Hatha Yoga classes and workshops to all levels for 10 years.  Since 2010 he has been training teachers and co-organising yoga retreats as vice principal of The Victor Foundation.  Stephen’s teaching is Iyengar-based.

He was introduced to yoga as a way of life by his first teacher, his mother, who continues to inspire his yoga journey.  Stephen regularly visits India to train in yoga and Kalaripayattu, a South Indian martial art.  His teaching emphasises the importance of breath in dynamic alignment.  Stephen is a qualified Osteopath and Thai Massage therapist.

Kathryn Chandler

Instructors - Kathryn Chandler

Kathryn is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, reflexologist and birth doula.

Kathryn has a warm and down-to-earth teaching style combined with a deep belief in yoga's ability to transform our lives. She has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. Kathryn’s teacher training diploma is accredited by the British Wheel of Yoga and registered with Yoga Alliance. She has been fortunate to study with many inspiring teachers, doing workshops, retreats and trainings with the likes of Aadil Palkhivala, Jeff Phenix, Jo Manuel, Leela Miller, Louise Grime, Nadia Narain, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Shiva Rea

Yoga, massage, reflexology and working as a doula all compliment each other, and have developed Kathryn's knowledge of the whole body and understanding of anatomy in order to be able to offer a holistic healing approach. 

Ana Chidzoy

Instructors - Anna Chidzoy

Ana fell into Yoga in 2010 when asked to go on a Yoga teacher training for her work. Reluctantly she went along. Having completed a 200hr YMCA Fit Diploma Teacher Training in Hatha Yoga and has not looked back since. Over the past 4 years she has continued to learn, embarking on a further 200hr TT in Morocco with Yoga Haven, a Rocket Yoga teacher Training with It's Yoga International and Aerial Yoga TT with Purple lotus.

Ana is proud to be the first franchisee of Hotpod Yoga and over the last year has spent her time building a positive and productive environment for the people of Swansea to practice yoga. Ana's classes are challenging, but fun allowing her students to achieve a relaxed and inspired state of mind through her creative flows and calming nature.

You can contact Ana by emailing ana.chidzoy@hotpodyoga.com or phoning 07401999134

Erika Harrison

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Erika is an experienced Hypnobirthing teacher with a passion for all things pregnancy and birth. Her own experience of practicing pregnancy yoga and Hypnobirthing helped her to build confidence in her own ability to give birth naturally- so much so that she went on to have two lovely waterbirths at home, which she describes as the 'most incredible and empowering experience of her life'. This sparked her desire to leave a hospital based career behind and begin teaching other woman about Hypnobirthing and how this can positively transform pregnancy and birth.

COCOON classes focus on connecting with the mind, body and breath to release fear and build confidence in your own natural birthing ability - women are, after all, designed to do this! Classes are the perfect fusion of Hypnobirthing techniques, up to date antenatal education, yoga based breathing, relaxation and practical tips for you and your birth partner. Information is engaging and the vibe is light and friendly. These classes will give you the tools you need for a calm and relaxed labour and will leave you and your birth partner feeling empowered and prepared.

 

Robyn Smyth Terry

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I grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa with a great passion for nature and the outdoors. At 18 I moved to London and fell in love with the diversity, different cultures and openness of London and its people. I worked in the Events Industry for several years which was intense, demanding and very fast - paced. Six years ago, I attended a Yoga class where I found stillness and a place to really see inside myself . At this point, I realized that for me Yoga would be a life - long journey of learning and practicing. Since then I have found my spiritual self and believe that living Yoga and its key beliefs every day lightens my heart and soul. Earlier this year I traveled to India to explore and learn more about Yoga and its origin. I completed my 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh, India. The experience gave me an in depth understanding of the theory and practice of Yoga and proved only to enrich my love for it. I whole - heartedly believe in the utter joy and balance that yoga can bring to each and every person. I wish to share that joy and help others find their own balance and learn all that is within themselves.

 

Meni Farkash

Instructors - Meni Farkash

Ever since I can remember I have always looked for more, I knew there was something greater and deeper then the mundane reality. At a young age I started practicing martial arts and fell in love with focused and aesthetic movement. It was after suffering for some years with a back injury that I decided to try Yoga. I got hooked instantly. I spent 3 years with an Iyengar teacher as I loved the precision of alignment and understanding what a pose should feel and look like. It was after 3 years that I discovered Shadow Yoga, a style that for me combined Martial Art with Yoga. Shadow Yoga has become an important part of my own personal practice and influences the way I teach. I have also had the amazing opportunity to learn and practice different styles of Yoga. I was fortunate to learn Ashtanga Vinyasa with Richard Freeman, one of the most respected teachers of this system.

I have also learned from Aadil Palkavalya, one of Mr. Iyengar's top students as well as Natanaga Zhander the founder of Shadow Yoga and Duncan Hulin the founder of The Devon School of Yoga. In 2005 I completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher training with The Life Centre, London and have  been teaching for the last 10 years. In my classes I draw from my experience of all those traditions to create a holistic practice.  I particularly enjoy teaching Power Yoga Vinyasa Flow, a dynamic and powerful practice, where I am able to create a synergy between the precision of Iyengar, the fluidity of Ashtanga and the internal understanding of Shadow Yoga.  To further develop myself as a teacher I completed a 250 hour post graduate Yoga Therapy course with the Devon School of Yoga. This course helped me to create a unique practice to restore health and well being to those with specific needs. I found this to be the most rewarding way to pass on the joy of Yoga as working one to one can bring the greatest transformation.

I now offer both Yoga Therapy to those with individual needs as well as private tuition to those who wish to deepen their practice of Asana and Pranayama and to those who wish to learn more about Yoga philosophy.

Contact me:

www.yogaclasseswestwales.co.uk
meni@yogaclasseswestwales.co.uk
facebook.com/MeniFarkashYoga
twitter.com/MeniFarkash
instagram.com/menifarkash

Darren Gibbs

Darren Gibbs yoga swansea
Darren Gibbs is a Clinical Somatic Educator and Somatic Exercise Coach (the first and currently only fully certified practitioner in Wales) and also a fully qualified Yoga teacher with over 15 years experience. Darren has been teaching and exploring movement for over 25 years and in recent years has switched almost exclusively to teaching Somatics due to its (often dramatic) effectiveness. Through training clinically under Martha Peterson of Essential Somatics®, Darren has continued his development to become a popular Somatic Educator with an ability to make Somatics easily understood and accessible for all. From coaching athletes to achieve greater levels of performance and quicker recovery times through to post-operative recuperation and all levels of aches and pains in between, Darren has developed a style of teaching that is adaptable for workplaces, workshops, classes and clinical sessions. !Darren can be contacted via: www.activesomatics.co.uk darren.g@activesomatics.co.uk www.facebook.com/activesomatics/ 07812 152594 !

Vanya Hughes

Instructors - vanya hughes -

I first came to yoga to help build strength and confidence after sustaining a hip injury. Having to work through physical limitations was extremely challenging, but the positive results I experienced from regular practice are testament to the healing potential of yoga. In addition to the physical benefits, I also experienced a wealth of emotional benefits.  

After completing numerous workshops and travelling to India to partake in an Ashtanga retreat, I made the decision to embark on a 200 hour Vinyasa teacher training course with Santosha yoga in Bali.  

Yoga gives me the courage to embrace my imperfections, inspiring me to live each day with observed mindfulness. It enables me to recognise times when the presence of my ego is interfering with rationale, allowing me simply to let it go. I feel everybody should be given the opportunity to experience inner peace through yoga practice.

I strive to teach an authentic, non-judgemental, expressive style of yoga that caters to each and every individual. I aim to encourage students to challenge themselves physically, mentally and spiritually in a happy and safe environment.  I truly believe in the power of yoga and its ability to free the body and mind, allowing one to embrace life with awareness and acceptance of oneself.

Outside of yoga I am a secondary school art teacher and enjoy travelling the world, walking, drawing, music, and being outdoors.

Alex Donovan

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Alex is the rugby playing yogi! and I has been a sport competitor since she was 2 years old. Sport has always been her first love and it is in her genes.

"I have a history as an international tumbler, netballer, rugby and hockey player. I am currently back playing rugby for the Ospreys after 2 years out with a serious injury, during which time yoga became my friend and helped in my rehabilitation. I have always, pushed my body to the limit, which had its drawbacks and it wasn’t until I ruptured my achilles that I realised my high intensity and relentless training could be doing my body more harm than good. I had no idea how important being healthy and working on my mobility, flexibility and core was to my wellbeing, my body and state of mind.  This has now changed.

Yoga, before my injury, was definitely not for me; if something didn't make me sweat - I just wasn't interested! Mainly because I didn't understand its benefits. This has now changed.
Rupturing my achilles, meant that the one thing I could do was yoga, and therefore I decided to try it and to try different types of yoga. At first I couldn’t understand how on earth people, three times my age, were better than me, more flexible, stronger and healthier than I was! After just two years of yoga, I now can understand why and want everyone to benefit from yoga just as I have.
 I am stronger, fitter and so much more flexible than I was two years ago, which helps me avoid the unnecessary tightness that causes injuries to sneak up.
 
It is obvious why I love yoga but let me explain the Donovan Yogability Method.  I created this method for fellow athletes and my sister (the anti-yogi), for people who knew of the benefits of yoga, who needed all that yoga could offer, more than they were willing to admit. But they just couldn’t get to grips with yoga classes at all. After being approached by people with a variety of needs to teach them what I had taught myself and my friends, I decided to start a company. I basically created a class that wasn’t available in Swansea or Cardiff, a class that would suit all.
 
 I currently work with a variety of international athletes (from cycling to rugby, squash and rowing), and the general public (whether it’s for rehab or injury prevention or just on a one to one basis for general good health) I also work with Crossfitters  at Dragon Crossfit, Cardiff, and the WRU Men’s International Sevens Squad. I focus on stretching to increasing mobility, muscle strength and balance; handstands are my speciality

Jessica Lerner

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Yoga teaching was suggested to me by my long standing Iyengar yoga teacher Barbara Hicks who was a great inspiration and support. In 1998 I completed my qualification to teach Iyengar yoga to beginners training at Lewisham College and attended intermediate teacher training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of South London. I taught mainly in East London until my move to Wales in 2002. I have lived in Brynamman since 2002 and have mainly taught yoga in my village and nearby villages since then.

My yoga teaching has existed alongside and supported my work as a movement artist and teacher. My training in movement improvisation and awareness techniques spans 20 yrs including one year full-time training at the centre of new dance development, Netherlands as well as ongoing professional development training including Skinner Releasing Technique and Authentic movement.

Over the last few years I have integrated my movement teaching into my yoga classes. Currently I am interested in how techniques from practices such as Skinner Releasing Technique and Feldenkrais Technique can gently orientate oneself to move in a more fully integrated and observant way and how this can be applied to the dynamic poses of Iyengar yoga. I am also interested in partner work and how we can work with touch to shift and support release or gathering in the body.

I aim to create a safe and secure, focused but occasionally light hearted atmosphere in my classes.

Ailsa Jones

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Ailsa is a Sports Physiotherapist currently working within the professional game of football.  After being involved with Pilates and a ‘modified yoga teaching program’ for some 10 years ago, she was introduced to Yoga whilst being pregnant with her first baby. 

Ailsa trained in SUN POWER YOGA in 2014 with Anne-Marie Newland and now, after having her third baby, Ailsa feels that she offers a unique type of yoga teaching. This style combines her skills as a Sports Physio and Pilates expert to create a format that helps athletic performers.  With these skills Ailsa wants to share her knowledge to help all athletes of different abilities to help them move freely and efficiently.

SportsYoga.AJ has been specifically designed by Ailsa to incorporate all of her expertise. The class is aimed at recreational athletes, but don’t be surprised if you see a couple of professional footballers present in your class showing that SportsYoga.AJ is required to optimise performance at all levels of fitness.   

 

Rachel Neyland

Instructors - Rachel Neyland

I started my yoga journey in my twenties at the wonderful Heyoka Centre. Being a dancer and gymnast I found it easy...I was missing the point!! I kept up the practice on and off but it wasnt until the loss of my father followed by the traumatic birth of my fourth child that I realised my body and my heart were numb. I needed healing desperately My dear friend reminded me of my yoga practice and encouraged me to go to Ana Forrests workshop weekend in London..thank fully!! I was so inspired after the weekend and reading her amazing book that I decided to qualify. I threw my self into my practice and began healing and feeling stronger and more wonderful everyday.

Having 4 children and out of work my only option at the time was to do an online course and I found a wonderful and comprehensive one : Anmol Mehtas Mastery of Yoga and Meditation. Even though the qualification was kundilini my practice and my teaching is deeply influenced by Forrest Yoga and I hope to train with her next year in Peterborough. Alongside this a began to realise that having taught thousands of children dance over the years the part i liked about it most was how its therapeutic quality encouraged the children to feel better physically and happier in them selves. For some the discovery that they were feeling and connecting to their bodies in such a positive way changed the course of their lives. For that reason I decided to promote Child and Teenage Yoga..and I am so glad I did

Contact: tel 07854023591
Email rayshines@hotmail.com

Anna Davies

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Anna has been practicing yoga personally for 15 years and recently completed her teacher training in Ashtanga Vinyasa with It’s Yoga International. A mum of four young children, she teaches several vinyasa flow classes locally in addition to YOGAMUM at Urban Zen.

“I was first drawn to yoga while at university for the physical benefits and the change in self-perception it offers. I began practicing in my bedroom with a book in the Iyengar tradition and maintained a regular practice like this until I went to my first class 7 years later, returning to fitness after having a baby.

Yoga has helped me stay strong and flexible through four pregnancies and births and cure a period of stress-induced insomnia, but most of all I love it simply because it makes me feel good! I also like running and have always found that yoga has a natural partnership with other kinds of exercise, providing stretch, strength and core stability alongside more cardiovascular-focused activities.

I love the energetic, heat-building aspect of Ashtanga Vinyasa and my classes are based mainly around that flow framework. I enjoy teaching a strong physical practice with a class atmosphere of experimentation and playfulness, and I also like to incorporate mindfulness to help quiet our mental chatter and manage stress. The student is the most important focus in any class and I encourage everyone to listen to their body and do what they can, but at the same time trusting in themselves and letting go of fear. I always aim to encourage my students to develop their practice through gaining more awareness. This could be anything from better alignment, developing their use of the breath in the postures, making changes in their personal practice, to finding more stillness in their mind. As a teacher I am always learning and open to new ideas, and enjoy going on courses and workshops to develop my knowledge and teaching skills.

Every time I get on my mat I try to say to myself “let go of everything you think you know about yourself”. It’s a saying I read in that first yoga book I ever picked up and it’s really stuck with me since. It’s about letting go of all the negative or false definitions you’ve built up of yourself and to just be. We choose to believe these things about ourselves, whether it’s being afraid of spiders, being shy or something more profound like “I am a selfish person”. To be able to release these misconceptions is liberating. When we get on the mat, and in life, if we choose to suspend all of those ideas we have of ourselves, and just enjoy being in our bodies and listening to them, then anything is possible. Yoga teaches us to have patience, to be kind to ourselves, to believe in the essential goodness in each of us and to be free from fear, allowing us to embrace every opportunity and experience in life.”

Dionne Reid

Instructors - Dionne

Dionne first came to yoga in 2008 following a long awaited diagnosis of grade 3 congenital spondylolisthesis, (75% slip of one of her lumbar vertebrae).

Experiencing movement restriction with severe pain she put on excess weight. At her heaviest, she weighed 23 stone.

Dionne felt increasingly miserable and adrift. Little did she know all was not lost…

In 2009 came a fantastic spinal surgeon with a difference; an experienced professional that advocated trying alternatives to spinal surgery first when possible.

Top on their list was yoga and manual therapy.

Dionne gradually got back down to a healthy weight and rebuilt her strength by developing her yoga practice and eating a wholefoods based diet.

In 2011, Dionne was advised that her spinal slip was still present but was stable and that surgery could be taken off the table for the time being. She felt transformed; she felt strong and was pain free.

Keen to learn more and share the knowledge with others, she qualified as a massage therapist, completed her Ashtanga Yoga teacher training with the renowned Manju Pattabhi Jois in 2013 before completing Hatha Yoga training in Bali in 2015. 

Today, Dionne continues to manage her spinal slippage through yoga, nutrition and manual therapy.

Her yoga classes are described as mindful. Encouraging students to feel liberated, she guides them through connecting with their bodies. She loves that there is always to go for a challenge in yoga.

Aside from yoga and her therapies Dionne is passionate about clean eating and sustainability. She’s our assistant chef at Urban Zen Café and is working towards a sponsored part time PHD on how organizations can operate more sustainably whilst profiting.

A woman on a real a mission to help others and contribute to making the world a better place.

Jeni Sloane

Instructors - Jen Sloane
Coming from a desk based working background with the Coastguard, Jeni was initially drawn to yoga by the physical, stress relieving and relaxation benefits. She started training with local yoga teacher in a variety of styles including Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Yin.
 
After the first few sessions she noticed increased comfort in her joints and muscles particularly after exercise, and was pleasantly surprised by the added benefit of clarity of mind and a better ability to focus Since then Jeni has seen steady improvements in her strength, flexibility and balance. Yoga also helped her to pursue new activities with confidence and awareness including martial arts, dance, running and weightlifting. In addition to the physical benefits she finds her yoga practice minimises stress levels and keeps her calm when work or personal pressures arise.
 
Jeni completed her 200 hour vinyasa flow teacher training with Jason Crandell who was named “one of the teachers shaping the future of yoga” by Yoga Journal. She has also completed additional training in yoga as exercise prescription with Tiffany Cruikshank. Jeni is a registered osteopath with over 7 years of experience in bodywork therapies and uses her knowledge and experience in these areas to develop her classes.
 
Approachable and lighthearted, Jeni breaks down movements and introduces the key principles in her classes while proving a sustainable physical challenge. She offers alignment focused vinyasa flow classes, developing movement in line with the breath leading to relaxation and a brief meditation. Her classes are perfect for those new to yoga, looking to get back to activity after a break and for more experienced athletes or practitioners who want get back to basics.

Lucie Haines

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I have always been very active and had a passion for sports. My enthusiasm for running and surfing is what initially drew me to the more vigorous style of Yoga, Ashtanga. After years of practice in the traditional flow of ashtanga my practice shifted in mixing both gentle and vigorous movements, making the focus more about flowing with ease by listening to my mind and body.

My passion for the practice and teaching of yoga has grown from my belief that it is up to us to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing, physically, mentally and spiritually and that the practice of yoga will help us achieve this.

I am also a strong believer of the ability of the physical practice of yoga to prevent injury and complement other sports.

 As a teacher, I aim to make my classes accessible, challenging and interesting to whoever attends them. I offer a blend of ashtanga vinyasa, influenced by many wonderful teachers I have learnt from along the way. I aim to inspire people on and off the mat, and encourage them to live life with joy and purpose. To be strong, physically and emotionally, to grow and to push the boundaries. I aim to leave my students feeling healthier, happier, refreshed and integrated physically, mentally and spiritually. I aim for my classes to have an element of exploration, play and laughter. I hope you will share with me the dynamism and stillness that yoga brings through the unity of the body and the mind

Louise Thorndycraft

Instructors - louise thornycraft

Louise dabbled with yoga practice as a teenager and during her time at university, but it was in her late twenties whilst living in Liverpool that she fell in love with yoga. Attending a twice weekly class at her local studio started out as simply an antidote to a very stressful job as Regional Consultant for a National Children's Charity. However, within months, yoga and mindfulness had become the central focus of her life and she found herself spending nearly every weekend at a workshop or retreat. Encouraged by her own yoga teacher, Louise embarked on the British Wheel of Yoga's 3 year yoga teaching diploma in 2007. She wasn't intending to teach, but was hungry to learn more about the powerful practice which had brought so many benefits to her own life.

 

Fate had other plans though and, when a local Pilates teacher invited Louise to teach yoga at her studio in 2007, she began teaching and never looked back. Louise started teaching yoga full time in 2010 and, within a month of graduating from her training, was invited to teach twice weekly yoga sessions for Everton Football Club's First team and Academy.  Since this time, and including a relocation from Liverpool to Swansea in 2012, Louise has offered group yoga classes, workshops, weekend residential retreats and one to one sessions, as well as beginning to offer kirtan devotional chanting in 2013 and corporate mindfulness training in 2015. Louise has a keen interest in psychology and mental/ emotional health and, in 2016, completed a 4 day workshop in Trauma Sensitive Yoga with David Emerson from the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. Her classes are therefore trauma informed, as well as having a strong emphasis on mindfulness and somatic awareness.

 

As well as being hugely influenced by the mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Louise's strongest influences come from teachers who embrace the yoga of Vanda Scaravelli. This approach emphasises moment by moment awareness of the body in movement and stillness, rather than seeing yoga postures as something to be achieved. Louise's own yoga teachers include Christine Borg, Diane Long and Peter Blackaby. 

 

www.blueskyoga.co.uk

lou@blueskyoga.co.uk

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