About Us

Tools for Inner Peace is a group of yoga teachers and psychotherapists, former frontline professionals, social workers, and media hands, who wish to help others experience the wellbeing, peace and inner clarity that an integrated yoga practice brings.

Tools for Inner Peace is a charitable foundation registered in the UK: registered charity number 1169251.

Facilitators

Helen Cushing (Swami Ahimsadhara)

ahimsa

Ahimsa has coordinated weekly classes for war veterans in Australia since 2004. Ahimsa also taught women refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan and Myanmar, and has worked one-to-one with individuals seeking recovery and healing from the deep pain of trauma. Prior to teaching yoga Ahimsa worked in the media, including in publishing and television. With her interest and experience in writing she began publishing articles and books on yoga. Her latest book, titled Hope: How Yoga Heals the Scars of Trauma, draws on her work with war veterans who have served in Vietnam, the Middle East and other conflicts.

Narendra Bharwaney (Brahmananda)

brahmananda

Brahmananda resides in London where he has been teaching yoga for 12 years. Prior to this he worked as a special needs teacher, focusing on autism, and as a mental health social worker for 15 years. He has employed yoga and meditation techniques to help address the spectrum of needs in these environments. He runs short courses and programmes in the UK and abroad on all aspects of yoga; meditation, yoga psychology, yantra drawing and painting, exploring its deeper transformative effects on the personality. He served as director and course coordinator of the Satyananda Yoga Academy Europe until recently. Since 1988, in order to further his studies and expand his experience, he has spent time in ashrams in India attending programmes and immersing himself in karma yoga.

Catherine Sylvia Nelson (Swami Shaktimurti)

Shaktimurti is an authentic and highly respected yoga instructor who teaches traditional yoga. Her own journey began in 1993 when she suffered a life-threatening illness and turned to yoga, which saved her life. After 12 years at the Rikhiapeeth Ashram in India, she has moved back to the UK in 2021 and works hard to impart the knowledge and wisdom she has learnt to our world which is still struggling with war, poverty and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prem Meli (Premarpan)

Prem started practicing yoga at a young age. She originally trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta centre in the US and India and started teaching yoga in 1992. In 1994 she met her teacher Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati and continued her training with the Bihar School of Yoga. She has recently spent five years living in ashrams in Australia and New Zealand. She is a passionate gardener, and while in Australia studied permaculture, organic farming, and conservation and land management. Over more than 20 years, she has put her heart into cultivating Grempoli, her olive farm in Tuscany, as a place where people can come to regenerate and experience a deeper connection with nature.

Lynn Mooney (Lalitatirtha)

Lynn teaches yoga to refugees in the Liverpool area. She immersed herself in yoga and spiritual life in 2010 when she went to live at the Anahata ashram in New Zealand for two years. She completed her yoga teacher training at the Mandala ashram in Wales, and is now teaching the practices to others, especially focusing on those who otherwise would not have access to yoga.

Nicola Birch (Gyanashakti)

Nicola Birch has been teaching yoga full-time for 20 years. She completed her teacher training at the Scandinavian School of Yoga and Meditation where she lived and worked for seven years. She has been teaching in London independently for the last 10 years. Prior to teaching yoga, Nicola trained and worked as a physio-therapist in Stockholm, specialising in cardiac rehabilitation. Her main interest and focus are the mental benefits of pranayama, relaxation and meditation.

Kerry Gallagher (Katyayani)

Kerry (Katyayani) has been practising Satyananda Yoga since 1998. She integrates her training in yoga, psychotherapy and as an art teacher by running yoga and art workshops and training school teachers and social workers in the use of yoga techniques with children. She has taught yoga in primary and secondary schools, for those with special needs or mental health challenges, to teens and children, as well as offering pregnancy yoga classes.

Lisa Alessandra Gautchi (Yogatara)

Lisa (Yogatara) is a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), transpersonal psychologist, as well as yoga instructor and therapist with extensive experience working in Nepal with trauma resolution. Living in Kathmandu for over 20 years, she is the founder and director of the Isha Institute, a centre of conscious living and holistic learning. Yogatara offers trainings, retreats and seminars globally.

Diana Ivanova (Bhajananda)

Diana Iwnova (Bhajananda)

Diana is a journalist, writer, film director, yoga teacher and group therapist. She has studied both yoga and group psychoanalysis, in which she trained at the International Society of Group Psychoanalysis in Bonn. She has combined her wide-ranging interests as a creator of a festival of memories in a mountain village in Bulgaria, as a writer, and leading self-awareness groups and yoga groups both in Bulgaria and Germany.

Trustees

Minna Järvenpää (Mantramala)

Minna (Mantramala) originally discovered yoga and meditation as a means of maintaining balance under stressful – and occasionally dangerous – circumstances while she worked as an international diplomat in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Yoga has been part of her daily life for more than ten years, giving inner strength, happiness and a deeper connection with life. In 2018, she completed three years of training at the Bihar School of Yoga in India.

Bryan Dalton

Bryan Dalton

Bryan served as a United States diplomat for 28 years, retiring after postings in Asia and Europe as consul, political officer and deputy chief of mission. In three decades of work in international affairs, he has observed the corrosive effects of stress and trauma on the overall well being of many diplomatic, consular and military colleagues, counterparts in multi-national organisations and NGOs, relatives and friends working in crises and conflicts around the world. He has long benefited from yoga for wellbeing and managing stress; in January 2016 he completed a four-month training at the Bihar School of Yoga in India. He now lives in Vermont with his husband.

Nora Maddock

Nora leads and develops creative community programmes combining arts, movement and food for better mental health. As a yoga teacher, she is committed to working with organisations that support under-represented and marginalised groups such as asylum-seekers and refugees. She has volunteered with Tools for Inner Peace in Lebanon, as well as the Happy Baby Community in London, teaching trauma-informed yoga sessions for women and children.

Susan Owen

Susan is a lawyer working in-house for a global engineering company. She has practised yoga over the years and finds it a helpful balance to a pressurised office based work life. She believes that yoga and meditation can effect beneficial change in many life situations, both for the practising individual and in communities.