Sattva Gaia has 2 branches: a decolonial educational project, mentoring and consultancy service for helping professionals and organisations. A trusted circle who raise funds for community therapy projects focused on healing oppression and creating change for survivors of violence.
There is an elephant in the room, something significant that we cannot see and therefore do not address: how our colonial legacy impacts us today. History shapes the present, yet very little examination goes into making visible those historically informed structures of power that have generated suffering and continue to do so today. What are the roots to the objectification, extraction and exploitation happening in our times?
Decolonisaton connects the personal to the political, in honesty we recognise that we are entangled in the processes and structures of power that we are seeking to change. There are layers of grief and trauma to work through, from a historical experience of colonial displacement and violence to the reality of living at the edge of systemic inequality. By seeking to heal historical and contemporary oppression, people can name what is felt within their bones, articulating what has been difficult to express due to shame, fear, confusion or humiliation.
There is a means to step away from blame, victim -pepetuator, re- aligning to dignity and belonging by re imagining those aspects of past that can serve today for liberation. Decolonisation revives the heart felt wisdom and earth based resources from fore-mothers/fathers, ancestral ways of living and thinking that were discredited or buried. This does not reject the scientific, medical, social or ethical advances of the modern era or romanticise about an idealistic past. Naming 'what was wrong and what ought to be' empowers people to question the colonial- capitalist agenda (with all its contradictions and paradoxes) This is a very real process of de -amouring, saying no to the rules of the game and to being compromised. We commit to resiliency and abundance, relieving the burden, to find home in our true Nature and being.
Decolonisation acknowledges that people from the global south, diaspora, working class, elders, refugees, communities of colour, (BAME or IBPOC) and LGBTQI have been directly impacted by colonial capitalist dynamics, their voices marginalised and their livelihoods extracted. It therefore prioritises spaces and places for people to heal their 'colonial wounds'. As we are based in the UK, we look at the legacy of the British empire. Unfortunately, decolonisation risks being appropriated, watered down to a trend, intellectual pursuit, even hijacked to make profit at the expense of BAME/ IPOC communities. As such transparency is called for. Let this be clear. The inner work for White professionals to de- ideologise empire mentality, saviourism and privilege needs to happen, it is a process of accountabilty to prevent rescuing, exploiting, speaking over and monopolising knowledge and resources.
Sattva Gaia's work is grounded in anti-racism, critical race theory, intersectionality, spiritual activism, yoga philosophy /ethics, somatic and liberation psychologies. More importantly, we align ourselves with a 'praxis of decoloniality' where the legitimacy of lived experience gives rise to new theory and change. Sattva Gaia is therefore focused to working on the ground, with real needs. In solidarity and respect, Sattva Gaia also situates itself in consistency with other decolonial scholars, leaders, thinkers and activists around the globe (see resources page) and honours the struggle of Indigenous people to repatriate life and land.
Sophia Ayesha Ansari is the founder and core facilitator at Sattva Gaia.
Sophia is a second generation Indian diaspora, also of French Spanish heritage, brought up in Wales in a home filled with Delhi Sufi Vedic traditions. She is a UKCP accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor and a yoga teacher- therapist ( BWY, Ayurveda dip) with further professional training in mindful self compassion, authentic movement, polyvagal-informed movement psychotherapy for trauma and liberation psychology.
Sophia has a masters in History from SOAS (School of Oriental & African Studies), her dissertation focused on oral history, colonial epistemology and attitudes towards indigenous ways of knowing. She has a research interest in inter-generational trauma and embodied history .
Sophia is skilled at facilitating small, respectful and non confrontational spaces for genuine sharing and exploration. She is currently in private and community practice in Cardiff offering yoga therapy and somatic psychotherapeutic counselling to individuals and groups
The essence of a decolonial approach is to situate liberatory thinking in context and to be aware of our own unique position.. In this way Sophia makes no claims to absolutism or universality and does not speak as any kind of expert for or over others. She shares her skills and experience of working with people in a therapeutic, relational capacity over the span of 25 years. She is grateful to all her clients and students, who have taught her through experience and relationship.
Speaker at the IYN yoga conference, Preston. October 2019.
Decolonising Yoga- an Interview with Susanna Barakati at the Honour not appropriate Yoga summit- March 2019
The sattva of conscious teaching, A yoga weekend training delivered to Yoga teachers and students in Cambridge, Feb 2019
Worshop delivered on race & embodied privilege at the EABP congress, Berlin, September 2018.
Decolonising yoga - weekend workshop: an ethical exploration of power dynamics, self-agency and embodiment in yoga, Cardiff, October 2018.
Body as Voice- a workshop delivered for Still I rise: violence no more. A day to centre the experiences and voices from BAME women, London June 2018.
“Everybody tells a story”- A somatic, trauma informed approach to storytelling for therapeutic or educational work. Workshop at George Ewart Evans centre for storytelling’s symposium. 7th April 2018.
Teaching self care and embodied, relational awareness to 2nd year student midwives at the University of South Wales. January- April 2016
Requested workshop on “menstrual inclusivity” for a group of psychotherapists, yoga teachers and psychologists, East London, September 2015.
In 2011 Sophia was commissioned by the British Wheel of Yoga to conduct a 12 week research project to identify the barriers to inclusion in yoga for BAME women.
THE SATTVA GAIA TRUSTED MEMBERS
The community association consists of a circle of trusted members.
Vaidya (Physician) Sarita Nahar holds pulse reading clinics in Stanmore and Southall, Northwest London. She has been practicing the ancient science of pulse diagnosis and ayurvedic treatment since the year 2000, learning it with world-renowned pulse masters Dr’s Pankaj and Smita Naram. Sarita holds a BA in Ayurvedic Studies, Sarita is also a qualified Yoga Teacher at Kaivalyadham Institute in Lonavala Maharastra India, and trained in Therapeutic yoga. Her clinic works on correcting the root cause of disease, helping to alleviate or eliminate a wide range of conditions. Sarita is valued for her foresight, depth and integrity.
Flow is a drummer,-rhythm facilitator, creative artist, crochet designer and writer. Flow has years of experience working in community cohesion & creativity projects, where she facilitates art, expression and rhythm workshops to both adults and children. She is multi lingual, fluent in English, French, Spanish and Russian. She has multiple cultural heritage ( Guadeloupe island & France) Flow is valued for her vision, vibrancy and honesty.
Hannah is a passionate, hard working feminist who enjoys swimming in water falls and raising 2 sons. Hannah appreciates yoga as a practice for her own well being. She currently leads the policy and communications work in Wales at the equality & human rights commission. She has previously worked with women and migrant rights organisations in Wales and across the world. Hannah is valued for her ability to take perspective, validate others and move to action.
Ilhaam Selih is currently in her final year at UWE, a psychology student trying to make her mark on the earth, she recently completed an Erasmus year in Italy. Ilhaam has previously participated on Sattva Gaia's educational workshops and through this experience decided to become more involved. She gives a fresh perspective and is our much needed young women’s voice. Ilhaam is valued for her insight, curiosity and authenticity.
Clare has a community development background and has worked in the charity sector in Wales for 20 years, mainly in sustainable development and the environment. She is motivated by issues of global justice and inspired by the power and resilience of nature. A mum of 2, Claire herself is enriched by yoga and is a powerful believer in its restorative & healing abilities. Claire is valued for her gentle steadfastness and thoughtful analysis.