Emma Michael is the founder of The Centre and is passionate about sharing the therapeutic power that yoga and shiatsu have to bring ease, relief and transformation.
“I took my first yoga class when I was 17, and over the last 23 years my mat has been a source of comfort and support. Living in London for 33 years gave me access to train and learn with some of the top teachers in the world. I was able to try a huge variety of styles and approaches. It was a great experience and as often as I can, I travel back to London to continue to develop my own practice and teaching.
My first teacher training was in Sivandana yoga. I used to live near the Sivandana centre in London and enjoyed the classes that I attended so once I finally resigned from my stressful, but successful project manager job broadcasting, I headed to India. I was there for three months, one of which I spent in an Ashram in Maduri, living and studying the yogic life. It was a great experience, and led to a 200 hour yoga teaching qualification, and an immersion into the culture of yoga in the context of it’s homeland.
2 months later I tried my first Anusara class at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. From the first class I noticed a change in me; The more I practiced, the more that surges of empathy would overwhelm me. The physical and philosophical principles of Anusara have helped me to be braver about opening my heart, through the good times, and the bad.
A year later I started my second 200 hour yoga teaching qualification In Anusara Yoga. By this point I had moved to Cyprus and was teaching and giving Shiatsu, but every month I would fly back to London to train with my teacher Bridget Woods-Kramer at the renowned Triyoga studio.
Just as I was coming close to completing the Anusara Elements teacher training I met Anna Zorzou. She invited me to join the YogaWorks teacher training that she was running in Cyprus. I knew the standard of the YogaWorks training, and had trained with a few of the teachers, and just couldn't turn down the opportunity to study with Anna. 7 months later I completed my third 200 hour Yoga teaching qualification.
In 2006 I trained in Perinatal Yoga with the Birthlight Trust. I am a fully qualified Birthlight Pregnancy and Postnatal yoga teacher and also teach these classes at The Centre. Over the last 5 years of teaching pregnancy and postnatal yoga, I have developed an 8 week course designed to support women throughout the transformations that pregnancy gives, as well as educating women in birth preparation.
My degree in Psychology, and then later training I have taken in counselling and psychotherapy support the therapeutic work I do in yoga and shiatsu. The shiatsu training that I completed really focused on the holistic aspects of working with people and set the context of the approach I take in my work.
The mind and the body can not be separated, and the breath guides the process of healing whole, and supporting the individual through our journey through life.”
“I've always been interested in massage. I would feel great after giving my friends and family massages, seeing how relaxed and comfortable they felt from my prodding and pressing. I learnt how to give indian head massages, and when I was in Thailand and I fell in love with thai massages. After the first couple of massages I decided it was something I wanted to learn more about, so I travelled to Chiang Mai and got a Thai massage qualification from the Old Medicine Hospital.
I kept it up whilst studying my Psychology degree (BSc HONS) and when I finished I enrolled in a shiatsu introduction weekend at the British School of Shiatsu. I loved it; I loved it so much I continued with the course and 3 and a half years later I qualified as a shiatsu practitioner. The techniques were fun, and the theory was fascinating. It was a higher standard of body work that I'd done before, and have done since. We were taught techniques of how to develop our sensitivity for feeling energy, we studied anatomy, we studied Chinese medicine, it was philosophical, it was psychological, it was creative and most of all I could see it worked, in a deep sustainable way.
For about three years after I got my qualification I assisted at the school and occasionally taught there. I did some further studying in Japan with a shiatsu master and in the UK with Saul Goodman, the founder of the first shiatsu school in England, whilst offering Shiatsu part time. Finally I moved to Cyprus in 2013 and have been working as a shiatsu practitioner and yoga teacher full time, since then.
Over the last 5 years I have specialised in shiatsu for pregnancy and postnatal care. I have studied with the leading teacher in this field. Suzanne Yates, and continue to develop my expertise with follow up workshops and seminars.”