Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist – Yoga Teacher – Pilates Teacher – Fitness Instructor
Hi! My name’s Nat and here’s my story about how I gained the skills to launch Aurora Mind and Body…
Throughout my time in the corporate world, I’ve gained skills in leadership, coaching and problem solving. It’s hard to work in an office for 20 years and not pick up any transferable skills! While I enjoy the challenge of working as a technical project manager, I’ve always known I wanted to do something extra with the skills I’d gained, and use them to help others. I’ve been interested in what makes people tick for as long as I can remember and this interest led to the beginning of a journey of self-discovery as I embarked upon my honours degree in psychology. I finished my degree and gained my graduate membership with the British Psychological Society. I then had to figure out how I would use my newfound knowledge.
Qualifying in hypno-psychotherapy and yoga
Following my psychology degree, I had considered becoming a counsellor but ended up choosing a masters level diploma in hypno-psychotherapy instead. The ability to help with the unconscious mind and learn deep relaxation techniques sounded intriguing and this is what drew me to hypno-psychotherapy. After lots of research, soul searching and further study with the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy in Oxford, I gained a distinction on my Diploma in Hypno-Psychotherapy.
At around the same time as I was studying for my diploma, I was trying to get fitter after the birth of our youngest son. Someone suggested that yoga would be a great way to get back in shape so I dragged Nick along with me to a yoga class at our local gym. We both ached afterwards so we presumed it had done its job! We carried on going to yoga while also taking up the offer of personal training sessions at the gym, but my real passion was still with yoga. As an analytical person, I realised that there were many similarities between my Hypno-Psychotherapy relaxations and yoga meditation; maybe this was the reason I enjoyed yoga so much. I resolved to understand more about the psychological benefits of yoga.
“I realised that there were many similarities between my Hypno-Psychotherapy relaxations and yoga meditation”
For me, the best way to do this was to train as a yoga teacher. After a further 2 years of study, I earned my 350-hour Diploma in Teaching Yoga with Train Fitness in London. While I was studying, I particularly enjoyed learning about the different energy centres in the body (chakras) and how the body moves anatomically. As a result, the yoga classes I now teach are designed to have a real ‘mind-body’ feel so you leave class feeling strong and relaxed, mentally and physically.
Since obtaining my yoga teaching diploma, I have also continued to study and increase my knowledge, completing my Fitness Instructor (Gym) qualification, Pre and Postnatal Exercise certificate and my Yoga Shred, Yoga Nidra (yoga sleep) and Yin Yoga certifications. These certifications have enabled me to offer additional services to my one-to-one yoga clients and also run some different class types. Yin Yoga is a particular feature of my Hypno Yoga sessions and I can also incorporate Yoga Nidra into these in place of hypnotherapy.
As of 2019, I have also added pilates to my skill set and enjoy teaching creative pilates classes to challenge the mind and body. Pilates is often lumped in with yoga when talking about mind-body forms of exercise but in its traditional form, it’s actually quite different to yoga. You’ll therefore notice a marked difference between my yoga classes and my pilates classes. I also offer pilates as a one-to-one session and enjoy carrying out detailed postural assessments and designing pilates prescriptions for my one-to-one clients.
Learning for a lifetime
I strongly believe you never stop learning and this is why you’ll often see me participating in other instructors’ classes. As I enjoy expanding my ‘toolbox’ of knowledge, I read a lot of books and do additional courses whenever I can. I also maintain professional memberships with the British Psychological Society, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (for hypnotherapy), the National Society of Hypnosis, Psychotherapy and Mindfulness and of course I’m also registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals. You can therefore be sure you’re seeing an up-to-date, highly trained and ethical practitioner.
I absolutely love what I do and I look forward to working with you to help you achieve your mind and body goals.
My name’s Nick and here’s my story about how I became a Personal Trainer…
Looking back to my younger days, I was quite an active child growing up but at the age of 16 while studying for GCSE exams, I began experiencing some worrying symptoms which would change my life forever. With numerous trips to and from the hospital to see specialists for tests, I was eventually diagnosed with a condition called Ulcerative Colitis. This condition is one of the main forms of inflammatory bowel disease and is often referred to as a condition that causes ulceration and bleeding of the lining of rectum and colon. However, as with many other autoimmune disorders it can also affect the body in other ways, such as fatigue, pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia. I have experienced all of these symptoms. While there is no cure, the symptoms can often be managed with medication although for many, surgery can be the end result. In my case, at the age of 17 I’d had so much time off through ill health and hospital stays that I left college early. When my symptoms were more under control through an extensive cocktail of drugs, I entered the world of full time work.
Fast forwarding a few years, I started a career in the IT industry, where I remain today. This is a varied and interesting job with many facets. Many hours of my day were spent sitting in front of computer screens looking at data, writing software, building and testing computer code and helping with customer queries. But one of the mainstays is that it’s quite a sedentary job and as I have to travel many miles to work, I also spend a lot of time in the car. Many years of doing this on top of medication and a lack of physical activity, had all taken its toll on my body. Now into my thirties, I had done no strenuous activity for many years. At the age of 35, my elder son was a strong swimmer having learned at school, and my younger son wanted to learn but the school no longer offered swimming lessons. So I overcame my fear of the water and we learned together in the baby pool at the Oasis in Swindon!
Realising I needed to become stronger to be a better swimmer and to better support (and keep up with!) our boys, Nat and I joined the whole family up at a local gym which also offered a nice swimming pool. Having never set foot in a gym before and not knowing what to do, we took up the opportunity of a gym induction and signed up for some personal training with an amazing personal trainer. She taught us how to use the gym equipment safely and would later go on to transform my relationship with exercise. I remember that first training session well… I’ll never forget it. Ego and a brain that thought I was still 20 took over. I did everything that was asked of me and then some. And then the session was over and I realised that the gym was upstairs, and I needed to walk downstairs. Oh dear! I suffered with muscle soreness for days afterwards. This was the point when something changed in me, as I had a stark realisation of just how unfit I had become. I needed to get fitter and stronger to set a good example for the kids, and to make sure I could carry on doing the things I enjoy into later life. Most importantly, I wanted to keep up with the boys as they grew up.
Some years later, I still wouldn’t say I’m the well-oiled fitness machine that some people seem to be. But for the first time I’m actually OK with that. We don’t all have to be elite athletes to enjoy life, to improve ourselves and our mental and physical wellbeing, all of which are closely linked. For many people (me included), the world of fitness can be quite intimidating, especially as a newcomer. When you don’t know what you’re doing, the advice and support of a caring and knowledgeable professional can make all the difference. I’m lucky that in my case I had lots of support from my personal trainer and from my family. This realisation was the reason I decided to become a personal trainer myself. To ‘pay it forward’ so I can help others with their own physical and mental fitness journeys. I’m looking forward to the challenge…