I was first introduced to yoga at the age of four by my mother when we used to watch Yoga for Health on Thames TV. One of my earliest memories is of adjusting my mothers asana practice (she had an awkward hand hand position in Dhanurasana). I began meditating at nine on a pilgrimage with my maternal grandmother. Yoga and meditation have been part of my daily life ever since. As a naturally curious and enquiring yogini, I have engaged passionately and critically with a variety of quite different schools of yoga and yoga therapy, most especially Structural Yoga Therapy, Satyananda Yoga and Iyengar Yoga.
After completing the Yoga Biomedical Trust Diploma in Yoga Therapy in 1999, I have continued to find the fully integrated approach of yoga therapy to be the most practical route to the healing power of yoga. I have further trained in Structural Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy with Mukunda Stiles, and work as a yoga therapist with special expertise in women's health. I have a PhD in Communications and am a recognised teacher of the British Wheel of Yoga. I have been been a training tutor in Yoga Therapy since 2001 and I also teach British Wheel of Yoga In-service training days. As a mother of three, I have been both personally and professionally engaged with the development of pregnancy yoga, yoga for birth and postnatal recovery, and family yoga, and have been training teachers in this field since 2002, when I first tutored for the Birthlight Trust. Since then I have delighted in creating my own courses to promote excellence of teaching in this field, including Well Woman Yoga and a uniquely responsive Integrated Mother and Baby yoga teacher training. With the intention of widening access to pregnancy and postnatal yoga, I founded Sitaram Yoga with my husband in 1998, and it continues to offer pregnancy and postnatal yoga classes in London, including at Kings and St Thomas's hopsitals.
Uma is an International Association of Yoga Therapists' Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT)
The heart of my daily personal and therapeutic practice is yoga nidra, which I believe to be the most powerfully transformative of all yoga techniques. I first encountered the technique at the Satyananda Yoga centre in 1995, and have been exploring all aspects of it with fascination ever since. I have studied a variety of different approaches to the practice both in India and the UK, with nationally renowned exponents including Swami Muktidharma (Satyananda Acharya, New Zealand), Mukunda Stiles, and Richard Miller. I have refined a range of particularly feminine therapeutic applications of yoga nidra, including its use for the promotion of fertility, positive birthing, postnatal recovery and conscious menstrual health as a source of spiritual empowerment. I have taught yoga nidra to hundreds of people, in every conceivable environment, from nursery schools, hospitals and airports, to giant geodesic domes filled with yogis sheltering from wild storms at yoga festivals and gatherings. I have been sharing the technique with teachers from all lineages on Yoga Therapy training courses and retreats since 1999. I lead retreats and courses worldwide, sharing the approach to yoga therapy set out in my CDs, DVDs and books: Mother's Breath, Teach Yourself Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth, and Feel Confident: Yoga for Living. My new book project, Yoni Shakti Tantra (Womb Yoga: Blood Wisdom) is about the evolution of feminine spiritual authority and freedom through yoga and tantra.
My PhD is in Communications from London University, and I am a recognised teacher of the British Wheel of Yoga. Before yoga and mothering took over my life completely, I spent seven years as a journalist and ten years working as a lecturer, tutor and course designer in higher education. I draw on my experience as writer, educator and mother to create positive learning experiences and high standards of teaching, training, appraisal and support on all my courses. I also trained as a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the National Childbirth Trust. I organise the annual Yoga Gathering Santosa, and have taught family yoga sessions at the Healing Field Gatherings and other festivals. As well as the pregnancy yoga teacher training module, I have also designed and lead the Yogacampus Mother and Baby yoga training course, covering family yoga sessions for parents and children from birth to four years. Together with my husband, clinical hypnotherapist Nirlipta Tuli, I founded Sitaram Partnership in 1998 in order to promote the further education of yoga teachers, and to make yoga more accessible through classes in St Thomas's and King's College Hospital and other places in central and south London. The partnership currently employs a team of six teachers working in three London locations, and provides support, training opportunities and professional development for yoga teachers and trainees.
- The Celtic School of Yoga: An Asiling for the 21st Century (2015) co-authored with Jack Harrison
- Yoni Shakti: a woman’s guide to power and freedom through yoga and tantra (Yogawords, London 2014)
- Teach Yourself Yoga for Pregnancy and Birth (Hodder Education, London 2010)
- Mother’s Breath: a definitive guide to breath, awareness and meditation practices for mothering (Sitaram and Sons, 2006)
- Feel Confident: Yoga for Living (yoga for self esteem) (Dorling Kinderseley, 2002)
I have also produced a number of CDs and DVDs to support the practice of pregnancy, postnatal recovery yoga and yoga for the relief of stress. For full product listing see the Womb Yoga Shop