Gail Stephens: Founding Partner
Gail’s early years and emotionally Spartan upbringing left her vulnerable to addictive behaviours and chronic stress. Caught up in a self-perpetuating cycle of habitual self-damaging behaviours; made worse by a highly stressful working life and poor personal resilience, Gail eventually gave in to exhaustion, burnout and meltdown. On her journey back home to her authentic self, Gail became aware that addictive behaviours manifest in many different ways; but that we all have the potential, given the right support and encouraging environment, to make sense of the world we live in. Through a restorative practice of working with the breath, mind and body, she has been able to make lasting positive change. Gail is now a hatha yoga teacher, trainer, mindfulness practitioner and coach.
Shaura Hall: Founding Partner
Shaura experienced the cycle of addiction early in life, by the time she was twenty-nine years old she had spend ten years in and out of habitual behaviour and substance abuse. She has spent the last thirteen years educating herself in multiple domains to make sense of the world around her. Her journey to becoming a yoga teacher, therapist, course developer and trainer has enabled her to develop the insight needed to provide a strong and nurturing environment that fosters change in the individual who is ready to take the journey back home – to self. Over the past five years Shaura has trained yoga teachers and service providers to deliver mind and body practice to those who struggle with substance addiction. More recently she has developed and led a yoga teacher-training program. Her unique teaching methodology is systemic in nature; it looks to effectively fuse eastern philosophical material with the western sciences to promote a whole person approach to wellbeing.
In a far-flung corner of the universe upon the precious jewel that we call Earth two yoga mats arrived in the same room. The women that belong to these yoga mats made contact; they are Shaura and Gail.
As most good stories go, our initial encounter occurred by chance, Shaura was pioneering a Minded Yoga class in Sheffield and Gail who had already embarked upon a movement based program of self development happened to drop in for the session. At this time Gail was in a high-end job that demanded a rigorous organisational regime at the side of managing interpersonal challenges that can arise when business becomes ruthless. Gail sought the kind of answers that can only be found in the internal world, and thus, she took every opportunity to reach the still space within. Shaura on the other hand had been teaching yoga for nearly ten years. She had recently completed training in yoga therapy and was working hard to develop a practice that was dedicated to fostering a particular form of balance through the application of contemplative practice.
The Araucaria partners were both seeking answers.
Over the course of the next eighteen months Gail and Shaura spent time in the training room exploring: neurobiology, mindfulness, yoga, and finally yoga therapy for addiction. They developed rapport, shared ideas, wisdom and skills and finally they were ready for action.
They come to this table with vastly differing experiences in life yet they share the qualities that have led them to become leaders in their fields of work.
They invite you to join them, become curious as to what can arise when you commit to yourself by entering into the stillness of your inner world.