Photo by Studio Kealaula on Unsplash

We are captivated by crystals. Always have been. Mesmerised by the way they harvest light from the world around them and then fling it back outwards in every direction at once, throwing a tiny galaxy of stars around themselves. By their dream-like hues, which no human-mixed palette could match. And by the fact that they were created many thousands if not millions or billions of years ago, then churned out of the Earth’s crust by some extraordinary stroke of volcanic chance, the stories of their journeys from rock to finger or throat stoking their mystery.

And we have always invested…

Photo by Jared Sluyter on Unsplash

I’m a yoga teacher, freelance writer and documentary producer. I’ve been working with psychedelics for a couple of years now as a tool to heal emotionally and psychologically from ‘big’ traumas that have left their imprints on me, including divorce and professional burnout, but also more subtle phenomena that have been clinging to various layers of me, such as repetitive patterns in relationships, or a sense of not-enoughness that seems to persist independently of how hard I work, how much I achieve. …

Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash



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Meditation, Mindfulness, Breathwork & Yoga

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Self-Development, Wellbeing & Spirituality

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The more I let go of long term thinking, the more fulfilling and exciting my life became.

Photo by Alex Faubel

It seems our brains are hardwired to strain for certainty, for predictability, for a grand plan — a clearly demarcated Google Maps route through life.

Neuroscientists have in the last decade or so been increasingly fascinated by something called the Default Mode Network, (DFM) a group of interacting regions within our brains that consume more energy than other regions and that seem to be most active when we are ‘at rest’, or rather, when we don’t have our heads down focusing on a specific activity or task. Research indicates this network has little direct involvement in sensory processing, suggesting it…

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

“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…

Woman in yoga pose on one leg facing a sunset
Woman in yoga pose on one leg facing a sunset
Photo by Sally Miller

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…

Man sitting alone on a boat gazing into a sunset
Man sitting alone on a boat gazing into a sunset
Photo by Charlie Nicholson

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…

Woman sitting on a rock by the sea in yoga clothes laughing
Woman sitting on a rock by the sea in yoga clothes laughing
Attempting yoga poses in places I shouldn’t, in times before lockdown. Photo by Lara Sanan for Charlie Nicholson Yoga

“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.”

Whether she had intended the sexual innuendo or not, I’m really not sure, but I had to start the class late because everyone was too busy sniggering, including the teacher.

It was like an episode of South Park, except for the part where everyone is actually…

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
Photo by Charlie Nicholson

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. …

Woman in yoga pose in woods
Woman in yoga pose in woods
Photo by Liz Seabrook

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…

Charlie Nicholson

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

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