Donna Southwell began practising yoga in 1998, and from 2000 practised asana daily with Hamish Hendry, with whom she learnt to assist and teach the Astanga Vinyasa system in a traditional apprenticeship that lasted 5 years.
As her practice matured she felt the need to learn more about how to adapt asana during menstruation and pregnancy. This led to an interest in how yoga could be used specifically to benefit women during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Lynne Pinette became her mentor in 2003 – allowing Donna to observe and participate in all her classes as well as teaching her theory. At this point, Donna started to teach her own pregnancy yoga classes.
In 2006, whilst pregnant with her first child, Donna completed the Yogacampus pregnancy teacher training and the British Wheel of Yoga short course in teaching post natal yoga, both with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. She also trained to teach baby massage.
While Living in London, Donna taught pregnancy yoga at The Life Centre and other top centres, before relocating with her yoga teacher husband and two children to West Yorkshire’s Calder Valley in 2009, where she has helped to develop the local yoga community and has supported many students as they have adapted their practice before, during and after pregnancy. She also teach specific classes for pregnancy and for post-natal mums and their babies. Donna’s teaching has been influenced by her Astanga practice, her own experiences of adapting her practice during two pregnancies, her training with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and the pregnancy classes that she has attended with Francoise Freedman.