Hi, I'm Karen Iles
Over a decade ago, I stepped into a Yoga class and the course of my life changed.
I had got what I thought would be my dream job, but I felt anxious, drained, and my body ached from tension and long hours at a desk.
I'd experienced grief that I didn't know how to deal with. I pushed my emotions down and tried to just keep going. I yearned for a loving relationship, but I was unconsciously scared of intimacy, and rejection had built up my defenses.
And the only way I knew to make myself feel better and to relax in my body was drinking and partying.
Yoga started me on a new path. In 2013 it inspired me to leave for India to become a Yoga Teacher, to learn about mind-body-spirit healing, and to seek a more fulfilled life. I immersed myself in yoga, mindfulness meditation, breathwork, counselling, and I rediscovered my love of nature.
After 18 months of traveling the world, I returned to the UK to share Yoga and Breathwork in Oxford. But, just when I thought I'd learnt something about life, my biggest challenge arrived. In December 2018 my partner of three years was suddenly diagnosed with advanced liver and kidney cancer, and he died 6 months later as my husband, aged just 35.
In that year the ground beneath me seemed to fall away. At times my practices were lost to me, I was so disorientated and devastated. I learnt there are no easy fixes to such grief.
But with time, I returned to breathwork and started to move my body to release some of the trauma, sadness and pain. I discovered that my body's inner wisdom knew the steps towards my healing, if I listened to it: movement, stillness, breath, quiet, sound, community, solitude.
Whilst my healing continues, I am able to pass on some of the knowledge and support I received in my darkest times. The answers to what we each need are unique and within us, but when we are supported and feel part of something bigger, we are at our most powerful.
My breathwork training
I first discovered Breathwork in early 2015, at an Alchemy of Breath workshop in Bali. Breathwork became so transformational for me, that in 2016-17 I trained as an Alchemy of Breath Facilitator with the founder, Anthony Abbagnano. In 2020-21 I undertook a second training to become an Alchemy of Breath Certified Practitioner.
In 2019 I began to practice Biodynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release System (BBTRS) for my own healing. In 2020 I completed the BBTRS Level One training.
My yoga training
Sivananda Hatha Yoga Teacher Training, 2013, India (200 hours).
Training in Yoga for Depression, The Minded Insitute, 2020
Yoga Therapy for PTSD, The Minded Insitute, 2020
Yoga Therapy of Death and Dying, The Minded Insitute, 2020
a 10-day silent Zen Buddhist meditation retreat with Hamid Edabi.
I am registered with Yoga Alliance and fully insured.
Why a lotus?
The lotus flower (water lily) is a common symbol in Eastern cultures. It is rooted in the mud, but from this swampy place grows a beautiful and pure flower - a symbol of rebirth and peace. It provides a metaphor for life.
From our challenges, suffering, and darkest times, we can develop wisdom, strength and beauty. Like the lotus flower, we can rise up from the mud towards our potential.