Meet Your Trainers
With over a decade of teaching experience, Tom has guided hundreds of students to complete industry recognised qualifications and make successful transitions into the health and fitness industry.
“My personal yoga journey began as a response to a busy period in my life when I was feeling chronically fatigued. Asana became an invaluable tool which restored balance to my body and life. This evolved into an established practice that now incorporates ashtanga vinyasa, vinyasa and yin yoga styles.”
As a lecturer in further education, Tom specialises in the human body focussing on anatomy, nutrition and psychology. He trains Personal Trainers to work in the leisure industry as health professionals, developing their ability to motivate, persuade and influence their clients to sustain healthy habits. Useful skills for yoga teachers! He also provides his services as a trainer and assessor to a yoga training provider based in London, helping yoga teacher trainees to find their voice and develop their personal teaching style.
“I first discovered my passion for the human body at high school during a year 9 science lesson, learning about the anatomy of the heart. This initial spark of interest progressed into a lifelong commitment of studying how the body works and the impact of movement and its incredible potential to enhance health and longevity.”
Knowing that yoga was more than the physical asana practice, Tom travelled direct to the source of yoga to deepen his understanding and spent a month living at an ashram in Rishikesh, India. It was here that he completed his yoga teacher training. After learning about the philosophy of yoga his practice became more introspective with the addition of pranayama and meditation into his sadhana (daily spiritual practice).
Tom founded Train108 to fulfil a need for a local provider of yoga teacher training. One that would equip aspiring teachers with the skills and confidence required to make a difference. Because when someone can move with more ease and feel better in themselves that will make for a better world.
Along with his Yoga Teacher Training, Tom has a First Class Honours Degree in Exercise Science and a Masters Degree in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Health Promotion.
When not practicing yoga you'll find Tom at the swimming pool or eating treats at the cinema.
Olena is a senior teacher with over 11 years of yoga teaching experience in the UK and abroad. Her teaching has included community, studio and corporate classes, therapeutic classes for a residential trauma and addiction centre, short courses, workshops and private clients. Prior to maternity leave, Olena was a lecturer and course leader on YogaLondon’s 200 Hour YTT and has guided dozens of aspiring yoga teachers to complete their foundation training.
An avid life long learner, she has logged hundreds of hours of continuing education in meditation, philosophy, Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, anatomy, the neurobiology of trauma and yoga therapy in the UK, India, the United States and the Netherlands.
On beginning her yoga journey, Olena says, “I started experimenting with meditation in my late teens and went to my first yoga class at an Iyengar studio in Canada in 1993. I felt out of my comfort zone and I always recall this experience when people first come to yoga so I make sure they feel welcome and confident to return.”
Olena’s teaching and practice is grounded in the nondualistic tantric tradition. She draws on current understanding of biomechanics, natural movement, somatics and embodiment to support people to feel more connected to themselves and have a greater understanding of their felt experience and movement patterns.
Her real love is meditation and she uses yoga nidra as a practice of self-inquiry. Finding it profoundly life changing for both herself and her clients, she dedicated several years in-depth study to the practice and still feels like she has only scratched the surface.
Olena has a background in Public Health and alongside Stuart, runs akarmalife studios and The MAT Clinic. She has a therapy practice, seeing clients 1:1 using yoga therapy and other modalities and interventions to help people heal from trauma, anxiety and chronic stress.
When not practicing yoga, you’ll find Olena in the company of her dogs and chickens or out on adventures with her five year old daughter.
Stuart found his first passion for movement in his pre-teens with gymnastics but with nowhere to continue training locally, he found his way into the gym and started bodybuilding at 18. It was a serious knee injury that forced him to reconsider his training. Rather than surgery he turned to Tai Chi and this opened up a new way of thinking about movement.
The concept of movement originating from the waist and in spirals rather than linear countered everything he previously had done. Through Tai Chi he learned how to move more intuitively, but it took yoga to further open up the mind body connection.
“I was 27 years old when I stepped into my first yoga class, and to be honest it wasn’t for me. It was everything I thought yoga was, chanting, women in lycra, candles and then at the end people rolled out sleeping bags. I was heavily into strength training and martial arts at the time and this didn’t resonate with me.
Five years later I discovered Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and kept going back. I fell in love with this practice. It just fitted. From there I expanded my horizons with different styles of yoga, meditation and pranayama (breathing practises). Three years later I embarked on my teacher training. Something I never imagined would happen. Having been a mentor and teacher trainer in Tai Chi for many years it felt the right time to pass on my knowledge and understanding of yoga to others to teach.”
Stuart has practised and trained with many international teachers, less well known ones and in countries all over the world including India; the spiritual and cultural home of yoga. Along with yoga and Tai Chi he is a personal trainer and nutrition educator, has studied anatomy to dissection level, is a biomechanics coach, soft tissue therapist and injury rehab coach.
This layering of modalities influences his teaching today. Much of the work he does is outside of the conventional approach and offers a unique way to unlock the body's potential for fluidity and integrated movement.
“I have fallen in love time and again with yoga and my practise now is much gentler and kinder to myself than it used to be. Don’t get caught up in the perfect pose mindset. That’s not what yoga is. It’s a deep connection and vehicle to explore the self, finding ease in body and mind and that means a practice that adapts as you both age and as you mature.”
After years of running community classes, in 2013 Stuart opened akarmalife studios, a successful dedicated movement space, now located in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. In 2017 he opened The MAT Clinic, a therapy and rehab space.
When not practicing yoga you'll find Stuart strength trianing, studying or entertaining his five year old daughter.