Skip to main content

No results found

Health & Fitness

Tales From The Mat: Katie's Story 

divider
“My style of teaching is quite broad but my main focus is on helping people to find empowerment within the choices on their mat”
katie yoga uinuj1

There’s a kindness to yoga. One of its core principles, ‘ahimsa’, roughly translates as ‘do no harm’. For Oxford yoga teacher Katie McNeil, it’s been a guiding light in her career. 

Her early work as an executive assistant inside large institutions quickly morphed into more purpose-led roles within charities. Fast forward to Katie the yoga teacher, she now extends her regular timetable to include classes for charities such as Oxfordshire MIND, Early Intervention Service and Oxfordshire’s sexual abuse charity OSARCC, reaching people, often via the NHS, dealing with mental health or trauma of some kind. Katie’s commitment reaches far beyond doing no harm. She is all about pro-actively helping and improving others’ lives.  

“I became a teacher as yoga really helped me and I wanted to offer that to others as well. My style of teaching is quite broad but my main focus is on helping people to find empowerment within the choices on their mat”. 

Most yoga teachers can remember a time when yoga first called them. For Katie, it was at a festival.  “I think the moment it really landed in my heart was at a peace festival where there were meditation sessions and I felt a sense of calm and groundedness. I started to find a strength within me, and a willingness to open a conversation with my body and mind. Yoga became a tool to help me find calm and balance”.  There is an increasing body of research on the profound benefits of yoga to mental health and Katie finds her trauma-informed yoga classes for people with difficult issues to be the most rewarding: “I really enjoy working with people over a long period of time and watching them grow in confidence in themselves. Sometimes that means they find new shapes on their mat, but more than often I love hearing the confidence they have found in themselves as a person”.

Outside of teaching, she does some admin for a few small businesses in Oxford, including one of the studios where she teaches. “I love organising things. I am an active member of the Yoga Teachers Union and try to support other teachers around me as much as possible. It’s a strange freelance world sometimes, and I think it is important to have a connection with others around me doing similar things”. At home, she has helped set up a housing co-op “to try and change the narrative on home ownership. I am a big believer in community, whether that's the neighbourhood you live in, the places you work or broader networks”.

Find out more at katiemcneilyoga.org and on Instagram @katiemcneilyoga 

Our Tales from the Mat come from the wonderful Joy Le Fevre, yoga teacher and founder of yogidup.com.

RECOMMENDED

yoga kza91o
Tue 2 Apr 2024

Yin Yoga is a beautiful, slow, meditative style of yoga which calms the mind and stretches the body. It targets the deeper, connective tissues in a way which other forms of yoga cannot so easily reach.

katie yoga uinuj1
Fri 1 Mar 2024

There’s a kindness to yoga. One of its core principles, ‘ahimsa’, roughly translates as ‘do no harm’. For Oxford yoga teacher Katie McNeil, it’s been a guiding light in her career. 

shutterstock 689194816 wpvhah
Tue 13 Feb 2024

As winter's frosty grip loosens and our gardens burst forth with vibrant colours and fragrant blossoms, it's the perfect time to shed our winter lethargy and embark on a thrilling fitness adventure right in our own gardens. Why toil away on a treadmill when you can turn your gardening into an exciting game?

Ben Yoga crh56o
Thu 1 Feb 2024

When Hollywood film cameraman Ben Minot injured his knee, he was told he may never walk again without surgery. Unhappy with that idea, he began to explore yoga as a therapy instead.