Yoga teacher. Trauma sensitive yoga teacher. Freelance writer & copywriter. Freelance documentary producer. Passenger of la medicina. Instagram: @charlienicyoga

A real-life sketch from the day I realised our parent-child roles had flipped. Almost…

Small child in paddling pool holding her father’s hand
Small child in paddling pool holding her father’s hand

“How frequently do you urinate in the night?”

My dad read from the clipboard in his lap and then looked at me with a face like a child confronted with tricky homework.

“Well, I don’t know, Dad, I’m not the keeper of your bladder. How often do you go to the loo in the night? What options does it give? Let’s see… 1–2, 2–3…. Which is right for you at the moment?”

“Uh, 2–3, I think.”

“OK, well, tick that box. What’s next?”

We sat side-by-side on plastic chairs in a disinfectant-flavoured rectangle, an examination room at one of London’s…

These are concrete tools and insights I’ve integrated into day-to-day life that have helped me to thrive.

Image for post
Image for post

Yoga has transformed the way I live. The way I work. The way I am in any relationships with others. The way I see the world.


…is something I’m often asked by people who don’t do yoga — members of my family included. Of course it changes your body shape, your weight, your strength, your posture, the efficiency of your digestive and endocrine functions, your energy levels. Anything that moves your body, and that involves you hovering your own weight off the floor and compressing and releasing your organs as though giving yourself a massage, will have those impacts…

Yes, there is more to life. Rather than making jokes about it, let’s flip the narrative and support people in their search for meaning.

Man sitting alone on a boat gazing into a sunset
Man sitting alone on a boat gazing into a sunset

Age: 33.

Life situation: Warm marriage, big house in London, corporate career — successful, well-paid, nice things, expensive holidays, a pile of invitations perennially on the doormat.

What happened?

  • Had an affair.
  • Got divorced.
  • Trained as a yoga teacher.
  • Left full-time, well-paid job at height of career.
  • Is now 40, rents out flat and has mainly been living in Airbnbs over the last year
  • And has a lover several years younger.

Sounds like the cliché mid-life crisis, doesn’t it? The only thing missing is a sports car. How about this one:

Age: 50s

Life situation: Divorcee, two grown up children…

And were it not for Covid, they would never have crossed paths.

Image for post
Image for post

“Oh, you’re Zoom yoga-ing us from Germany now? They like their sausages there…”

…my 78-year-old mother — who sounds a bit like the Queen online — mused to my Hatha yoga class in general, before the time had come to mute everyone.

Make sure you go and get yourself a nice, big German sausage.”

I had to start the class late because everyone was too busy sniggering, including the teacher. Especially because my mother — judging by the bemused expression on her face — completely missed the sexual innuendo.

It was like an episode of South Park, except for the…

Interviewing mine about their lives might be the most healing thing I’ve done.

Young woman’s hand holding her father’s bigger, ageing hand
Young woman’s hand holding her father’s bigger, ageing hand

Have you ever considered interviewing your parents about their lives? Adult to adult, face-to-face? Asking about decisions they made, or that were made for them. How they may have felt, for example, about being shoe-horned into conventions of their day whether they liked it or not. Especially our mothers, who perhaps had little choice over how far they got to go with their education, over what profession they went into, if any at all, over who they married. …

Image for post
Image for post

About six years ago, I collapsed in an exhausted heap on the floor next to a photocopier in an anonymous corridor at the BBC. It had jammed on me one too many times that morning, and instead of shrugging it off for what it was — a minor irritation — it felt personal, like all the cards of the universe were stacked against me. A kind friend, passing by, picked me up, half-carried me into a spare meeting room and sat with me while I cried and cried and cried.

I was less than a year out of a divorce…

Pulling the parts of my life together into something meaningful was like trying to weld something blindfolded, but these very simple words tore it off.

Woman in yoga pants standing in tree pose at sunset
Woman in yoga pants standing in tree pose at sunset

It was in my late twenties that I began to feel restless. Was I restless in my work? In the city in which I lived? In my relationship? I didn’t know. I had climbed my way up to TV producer in a city I’d commuted across almost daily for approaching 15 years, and the grooves were well-worn — but well paid. And my relationship seemed to be resolving itself into well-worn folds of deep friendship, rather than a partnership of lovers. Yet so much else was smooth, easy, an enjoyable whirl, that I tucked my unmatched desire for intimacy beneath…

Woman meditating by lake
Woman meditating by lake

I asked my friend Amy McKeown, a mental health and wellbeing and women’s health consultant who works with organisations to develop employee wellbeing strategies, to lead me in a menstrual healing meditation. She is among the first intake of women training to become a facilitator of menstrual medicine circles, a new healing modality developed by psychotherapists and women’s health experts Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer and taught through their UK organisation The Red School. …

It’s time our families and societies joyfully celebrated their girls’ first periods, so that we can all be proud of our bodies, not ashamed of them.

Woman lying on the ground with hands resting protectively on her heart and pelvis
Woman lying on the ground with hands resting protectively on her heart and pelvis

I’m fairly certain I was 14 and I believe I must have been at school when I started — an all-girls boarding school. I suppose there must have just been a lot of blood suddenly there in my underwear. So much! So deeply, darkly, thickly red! This is me guessing at the thoughts that must have tumbled through my head, presumably in a toilet cubicle. But I do have a vague sense that I was surprised at the sheer volume of blood that fell out of me, and that sensation of it falling — viscous, a bit like honey without…

Tales of an acid trip

Image for post
Image for post

I never imagined my first acid trip would begin with chopping up pineapples and melons into Tupperware, along with mixes of raspberries, blueberries and nuts, stirring cacao nibs into pots of coconut yoghurt and squeezing everything into rucksacks, along with water, juice and vegan chocolate bars.

“Oh yes,” said my friend Alex, “this is the cleanest trip you’ll ever have. Out in nature, feeling, tasting, touching her.”

In the psychedelic healing world, session facilitators talk about the importance of ‘set and setting’, a phrase coined by Harvard psychologist and psychedelics advocate Timothy Leary in the Sixties, to describe the mindset…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store