May 2022 Ambassador Spotlight: Sally SJ Brown

accessible yoga association accessible yoga community ambassador program ambassador spotlight neurodiversity teachers to watch yoga for aging/seniors/elders May 12, 2022
A banner that names Sally SJ Brown our Ambassador Spotlight for May 2022. It includes her headshot and the Accessible Yoga logo.

Every month we feature an Accessible Yoga Ambassador who is doing incredible work in their community. Are you a current Ambassador who'd like to be featured? Nominate yourself!

Sally SJ Brown (she/her)
, our Ambassador Spotlight for May 2022, identifies as a white, British, neurodiverse/divergent, heterosexual, single, middle class with a lower income woman, living in Northern England. She uses ‘SJ’ in her name so she doesn't get mistaken for a famous professor with the same name.

Sally is a full-time academic researcher and second year PHD student in the School of Health and Community Studies at Leeds Beckett University in the UK. Her research looks at yoga accessibility and inclusion and investigates the yoga access experiences of people from a wide range of minority groups, or [people with] marginalised identities in regional UK cities. Her professional background is in writing, editing, and websites for the UK National Health Service, central government, and non-profits, and in newspaper and magazine journalism. Her areas of interest include public health, social care, equality, diversity and inclusion, aging, autism and disability rights.

At the beginning of the pandemic Sally moved out of the city of Leeds, got a dog, and made her home on the coast of Northeast England. She now lives and works in a farm cottage in Northumberland with her border terrier, Flo. She is a keen gardener, slow runner, and proud mum to 23-year-old Elena, who is one year into a business and accounting degree. She volunteers in a Salvation Army charity (thrift) store and for Friends of the Earth.

We asked Sally...

How did you get started with yoga?

I first discovered yoga in my 20s and then went on to develop a regular practice and to become a yoga teacher in my late 40s. I completed my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Yogacampus in London in 2018 and have since trained in Yin yoga with Norman Blair and in Yoga Nidra with Jennie Wadsten and Melanie Cooper. I am proud to be an Accessible Yoga Ambassador!

What does Accessible Yoga mean to you?

Ensuring that yoga is welcoming, enjoyable, and beneficial for as wide a range of people as possible.

How did you get started with Accessible Yoga?

I originally found Accessible Yoga through a Google search.

Please share about your work and the populations you currently serve.

I currently teach two online classes: a chair yoga class for older adults and people with long COVID, and a class for neurodivergent people through the Society for Neurodiversity.

I have just started teaching two new in-person classes. The first is a subsidised older adults class for the Elderberries charity (non-profit) at Alnwick Castle, and the other is a chair yoga class at Tru Yoga & Pilates studio, also in Alnwick, Northumberland.

For the last two years I have also been fortunate enough to have taught a community yoga class in a disadvantaged area of the northern English city of Leeds. It was through this class that I first began to ask the questions that have gone on to form my PhD thesis topic. This class is unusual in that it is local authority funded and therefore free. It is usually held (COVID allowing) in a local authority-owned building in the midst of a community [which] has high-density, short-term housing with few community spaces, high levels of crime and unemployment, and [where] residents experience poor levels of health and wellbeing. The people who attend my class are from a broad range of cultural, class, age and ethnicity backgrounds. Many face challenges in relation to income, employment, and accessibility, as well as difficulties with physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Connect with Sally via her website, or on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter. You can also read her writing on her blog.


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