Sarah Hopwood – Yo’tism trainer
My name is Sarah, aka “Genki”. Genki has its origins in Kanji and means energetic, enthusiastic and lively; and sums up who and what I am. I’ve always been an advocate of the benefits of yoga but didn’t fully embrace the yogic lifestyle until I was met with a stressful workplace environment, which saw me taking daily solace in Bikram yoga. I found the combination of heat and a repetition of postures, cathartic psychologically and physically. I then trained as a Hot Yoga Instructor with Banyan Tree, Liverpool in 2013 and my journey now sees me in a position to pass on the benefits of yoga to special needs, specifically autism and ADHD.
I am honored to be working with Yo’tism and these inspirational women, Nicole and Veronika. We met during the first training in 2014 and instantly connected through our visions and passion for working in a field that is largely labelled, yet significantly under supported. I have had the privilege of learning and growing under these two beautiful women, who have taught me a lot about reflex yoga, sensory processing and connections that can be made neurologically through yoga and meditation.
I have a strong professional career as a secondary trained, educational practitioner who has worked in a number of different countries and systems with a strong passion for the ‘special education needs’ aspect of learning. I am currently working as a deaf consultant for a local authority and have the honour of liaising with a plethora of stakeholders and children with multiple needs. My career allows me to work directly with pupils and their families and advise them on strategies that support the child and their lifestyles rather than force them to fit the system.
I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work under some progressive school heads that have allowed the introduction of yoga and meditation into a holistic curriculum. My work has seen the benefits of yoga and mindfulness on youth who are on the spectrum as well as asylum seekers and refugees struggling with mental and emotional distress, youngsters who have found themselves moving in gangs and petty crime and the families who have been divided for the above reasons. My approach is to listen and then guide and allow the voice of the vested person(s) to find their own journey to enrich their life and find the tools that work for them.
The journey of Yo’tism is exciting and reaching out to the autism community ignites a passion and vision that has been culminating through my professional and personal experiences.