OYA Retreats deliver holistic movement and mindfulness experiences to Black women and women of colour. On exclusive retreats in the UK and abroad, guests are offered room to explore, reflect, release, and renew.
S T A F F
Stacie CC Graham, Founder
Stacie is a certified Hatha yoga instructor as well as a certified life coach. As a practitioner, she is dedicated to the lineages of Iyengar and Kundalini yoga. She travels to India every few years in order to study and honour the origins of the tradition. Mindfulness forms the foundation of both her professional and personal work. And yoga, in its entirety, signifies for her an art of living.
Nikita Akilapa, Yoga Instructor
Nikita has been practising yoga since 2001, when she fell in love with the sense of lightness and calm it brings. Following trainings with Yoga Vidya Gurukul, David Swenson, Nadia Narain and Kristen Campbell, Nikita teaches a strong Hatha flow, with a focus on intelligent alignment and breath work. Nikita challenges and motivates her students, encouraging each individual practitioner to explore their own potential and strengthen the mind - body connection.
Natalie Armitage, Yoga Instructor
Natalie is a recently graduated yoga teacher, connected with the roots and benefits of Yoga. Hatha and Ashtanga trained, she takes the learnings from both disciplines and focuses on Hatha. Pranayama is her speciality, and building a morning practice that can be taught for clients to practice independently at home. Prior experience working with children with disabilities and of primary school age- she is also trained in Kids Yoga and offers classes for children.
Léa Bematol, Body Work Therapist
Léa is a fully qualified, reliable, and dedicated massage and bodywork therapist certified with a Bachelor of Science (BSc, Health Sciences) in remedial massage and neuromuscular therapy. Her philosophy is "Movement is Life". Her bespoke treatments translate as a window of opportunity that aim to help people find their well-being and balance through a supportive, engaging and person-centred approach. Her work seeks to reunite the body and mind.
Ratna Bhavani, Ayurvedic Healer & Yoga Instructor
Ratna is keen on using simplistic treatment methods of Ayurveda to maintain positive health. Ratna’s mission now is to get everyone to understand and integrate Ayurveda into their daily life for positive health results. She employs realistic methods so it is easy to understand and apply. Her desire is to empower individuals with practical tools that enable them to look after their health. She works with a consolidated programme “Clear, Cleanse, Create” that gives her good results.
Jaha Browne, Reiki Specialist
Jaha started her Reiki journey in 2014. Two years later she found herself at the magical Findhorn Retreat in Scotland, which led her to her current Reiki teacher who attuned Jaha earlier this year to Level 2. Jaha is now learning about crystal and sound healing to combine with her Reiki.
Amani Eke, Yoga Instructor
Amani is the founder of Project Yogi, a not-for-profit organisation providing yoga, mindfulness and social emotional learning activities to young people and their families. She is an Egyptian/Kemetic yoga instructor. Egyptian yoga originates from Ancient Kemet, now known as Egypt. It is a restorative system which has unique postures and principles. It combines physical movement, deep breathing and meditation to help achieve balance, peace, order and discipline which is known as Maat.
Andrea Ferdinand, Yoga Instructor
Andrea is a qualified Asthanga Vinyasa Flow yoga and Yoga 12 Step Recovery teacher. Her practice uses yoga as a therapy for societal pressures and oppressions. Her nurturing, fun classes encourage students to appreciate their strengths on their journey to irie: a journey of being at peace with your current, yet evolving state of being. Her classes empower all to cultivate inner peace and self-love.
Anna Marie Gayle, 5Rhythms Instructor
Anna is a teacher of the 5Rhythms dance & movement practice as well as a qualified massage therapist, reiki master, musician and theatre practitioner. She is the first woman of colour accredited to teach 5R in the UK, and promotes racial and cultural diversity and equality in all her work. She articulates the rhythms with clarity and integrity and her emphasis on music and ritual theatre all come together to create soulful sacred spaces and experiences.
Charlie Lee George, Dance Artist & Yoga Instructor
Charlie is an independent dance artist, choreographer and Hatha yoga teacher who founded Dark Island Dance company and The Femmes Fatales collective. Her work to date has been about inclusivity, mass participation, pride, LGBT visibility and rights, mixed-race and feminism. From some of the UK’s top artists and dance institutions to under-resourced community youth centres, care homes and hospital's she has shared in the privilege and joy of seeing others too, grow from wherever they are through connection to movement and dance.
Jackee Holder, Workshop Host
Jackee is a writer with a collection of over one hundred journals to date. She is currently training as a Journal Facilitator with The Therapeutic Writing Institute in the USA. She is passionate about sharing evidence-based research on the physical and psychological benefits of journaling and therapeutic writing for health and well being. She is the author of four books including her latest publication, a writing map entitled Writing With Fabulous Trees.
Kim Loliya, Workshop Host
Kim is a certified somatic sex educator and magazine editor who supports people in learning more about their body and sexuality. Kim promotes radical self-love as a way of bringing transformation on an individual, societal and global scale and she is committed to facilitating safe spaces and open-hearted communities where people can really be (with) themselves, share stories and feel nurtured.
Rachel Long, Workshop Host
Rachel is a poet and facilitator. She was awarded an Arvon/Jerwood Foundation Mentorship for Poetry in 2015. Her poems have featured in Butcher’s Dog, Magma, and The London Magazine. She is Assistant Tutor on the Barbican Young Poets programme, and is the leader of Octavia - Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, housed at Southbank Centre. Inspired by Octavia, Rachel has curated Telling Her Story, an open workshop series for all women of colour, hosted and in partnership with Southbank Centre.
Josetta Malcom, Yoga Instructor
Josetta has 8 years teaching experience as a British Wheel of Yoga teacher. She has a background in mental health charity work and is a passionate advocate of using yoga to improve emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. She brings yoga to people who cannot easily access mainstream yoga classes for instance, women who have been in detention, refugee and asylum seekers, people on NHS mental health wards and LGBTQI people.
Shiggi Pakter, Movement Coach
Shiggi is a Dutch-Kenyan, born and raised Strength and Movement coach based between London, UK and Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Over the years of martial arts and premium division sports experience, she's cultivated an exclusively dynamic movement coaching practice that is heavily influenced by her Kenyan upbringing. As one of only a handful of MovNat certified trainers in the UK, she is presently on a mission to bring the Movement "movement" back to its roots.