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.
Helen Cushing (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 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.
Specialised in psychosomatic medicine and trauma psychotherapy, Martin works as a psychotherapist in Bonn, Germany. From 2004 onwards he worked in the trauma department of a psychosomatic hospital in Bonn led by one of Germany’s most renowed trauma therapists Wolfgang Wöller. In 2014 Martin completed his specialization in psychotraumatology and opened his own practice. Since 2015 he has also been supervising volunteers projects working with refugees in Germany. Martin lives with his partner Diana Ivanova.
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.
Melanie King (Shantipriya)
Mel is a yoga teacher, accredited psychotherapist and lecturer in psychology and psychotherapy. She has carried out research in the field of yoga and mental health since completing her Masters in cognitive behavioural therapy in 2008. For the last 14 years, she has been working with people who have experienced complex trauma both as a psychotherapist and yoga teacher. Much of her work includes compassionate mind and mindfulness approaches which integrate her yoga, research and psychotherapy work. Mel has been practicing yoga since her early teens and has been teaching yoga for the last 17 years in general and mental health settings, as well astraining other yoga teachers from the UK and Europe in yoga and mental health.
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.
Diana Ivanova (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 combines her wide-ranging interests as a creator of a festival of memories in a mountain village in Bulgaria, as a writer, and as a member of the Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Network in Germany. She leads self-awareness groups and yoga groups both in Bulgaria and Germany.
Minna Järvenpää (Mantramala)
Minna 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 2016, she completed three years of training at the Bihar School of Yoga in India.
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 wellbeing 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.
Yanar is a freelance writer and web editor based in London, specialising in health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing for national press, as well as running a digital consultancy. She has been practicing yoga and meditation for many years and finds it the perfect antidote to busy city life. Alongside work and yoga, Yanar writes a blog about ethical living and runs volunteer workshops with homelessness charities.