A Long and Winding Road
If anyone had told me when I first began working what I’d be doing today, I wouldn’t have believed them.
It’s been a long and winding road to get to do what I do today: running groups, retreats and training workshops and private sessions for individuals and organisations to support mental health and wellbeing through mindfulness and yoga. I am a writer for health promotion services and publications and in 2020 my first book will be published.
I bring 18 years of professional experience as a yoga teacher in Hampshire and Dorset teaching Hatha and therapeutic yoga and I have been teaching the gold standard for mindfulness teaching, the original Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) created by Jon Kabatt-Zinn, and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for mental health as well as other mindfulness-based approaches for children and young people for seven years. My own personal practice in yoga and meditation began 47 years ago.
I am a Senior Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance Professionals, and trained yoga teachers with Yoga Professionals in London for the first REPs registered teacher training course; and am registered with the General Medical Council regulated CNHC as a yoga therapist. I also provide professional supervision to other teachers of both yoga and mindfulness to help them in their development as teachers. I am an accredited mindfulness teacher with the British Association of Mindfulness-based Approaches, and adhere to the Good Practice Guidelines for mindfulness teachers.
In spite of the established career in the body-mind approach to health and wellbeing, I remember well the pressures and privileges of corporate culture having worked in various roles and at senior level with world leaders and celebrities in Public Relations and press and communications for some of the world’s leading organisations: 15 years with UNICEF, including at UN Headquarters in New York and all over the world, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BBC Comic Relief and other organisations.
Body-Mind Wellbeing for the Real World
It’s a heady mix working in high pressure environments, with the now ubiquitous expectation of immediate response with 24/7 technologies, coupled with professionals with a highly developed sense of duty and dedication to career. I used to be one of many who flounder under stress related conditions while waiting for a change in the external situation. It’s a guaranteed path to more stress, anxiety, depression and difficulty.
Then I was diagnosed with TIA, (Transient Icheamic Attack or stroke), in 2003 while on an overseas mission. I recovered quickly, however, confounding the original diagnosis, and put this down to the life-saving practices of yoga and meditation which helped me bounce back.
Following the TIA diagnosis, I changed the course of my life. I chose a mission of a different kind to my former foreign assignments: to support and inspire others to take personal responsibility for their own mental, emotional and physical health creating a deep core of well-being and happiness to help them surf life’s inevitable waves. This is true empowerment.
My health and wellbeing experience has been gathered in the following spheres:
- 2016 to present: Priory Hospital Group & Wellbeing Centre – Mindfulness Therapist within Therapy Services team supporting patients with variety of mental health issues – eating disorders, general adult and adolescent
- 2014 to 2016: Solent Health/Solent University – Project Development Manager of pioneering Big Lottery funded programme called HeadStart to bring the benefits of mindfulness to school teachers and young people in Southampton and the New Forest
- 2011 – 2016: Solent Health/Solent University – Health Promotion Officer working in the health promotion unit, Solent Health, designing bespoke well-being services for staff, students and external organisations’ staff resiliency programmes, resulting in winning the prestigious UK FLAME Award for Workplace Well-being in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
- 2013 to present: Teaching MBSR courses and other mindfulness-based approeaches, workshops and retreats for organisations and the public.
- 2009: Yoga Professionals – Course Director training yoga teachers for a Level 3 CYQ/REPs qualification in Hatha yoga.
- 2005 – 2007: Stress Busters/Southampton City Council – Manager of Active Options GP referral programme for stress, anxiety, depression. The innovative programme combined gym-based exercise, yoga , meditation and relaxation
- 2002 – present: Teaching yoga classes, workshops and leading retreats in Dorset, Hampshire and around the world
- 1989 – 1991: Yoga for Health Foundation – assisting at a residential centre to support visitors with variety of conditions: M.S., cancer, disabilities, arthritis, pregnancy as well as other rare conditions.
Publications & Papers
Webber, L., Bailey, L., Doyle, M., Zaman, Y., & Dunn, C. (2016). Southampton HeadStart Pilot of Mindfulness in Schools Project: The effect of Paws b on behaviour and resiliency in children. CMRP Conference 2016: Mindfulness supporting all aspects of family life. Bangor, Wales, 8th-11th July, 2016.
Webber, L., Scott, H., Zaman, Y., & Dunn, C. (2016). Understanding the role of mindfulness practices in fostering student wellbeing. Learning and Teaching Community Conference 2016. Southampton, England, 24th June, 2016.
Webber, L., Tijou, I., Zaman, Y., & Dunn, C. (2016). HeadStart Pilot of Mindfulness in Schools Project: The effect of MBSR on stress and wellbeing in teachers. MiSP Conference 2016: Mindfulness and Education Well-being and resilience for young people. London, 22nd January, 2016.
Link to extract of Amrita magazine (issue 4 November 2018)
In my free time I enjoy travel or watching travel documentaries, learning languages, mother nature, walking in nature, the gym (not really), music, art and dancing – Argentine tango and historical dances from the Baroque and Regency periods with the Winchester Baroque Dancers and Duke of Wellington’s Dancers.
I am a Jane Austen superfan or Janeite and appeared in a BBC documentary commemorating 200 years of her death in 2017! I have twin nephews and a niece, who all started practising yoga while very young.