About Carolyn

Carolyn is a yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance, a mental health professional with over 20 years experience and has over 10 years experience as a senior mental health manager in the NHS and a Local Authority. Carolyn Smith Yoga and Mental Health integrates her knowledge, skills and experience from yoga and mental health.

Movement and health has been a part of Carolyn’s life since childhood. Having trained as a dancer, Carolyn performed in various professional theatre productions in the 1980s. Fast forward a few years, Carolyn had a young daughter, returned to education at the University of Nottingham and then studied for a Diploma in Social Work and MSc in Social Work Studies. A career in mental health followed alongside further university study in leadership and management in health and social care.

Her career includes the strategic and operational management of mental health social care and safeguarding services for Somerset, the divisional management of community mental health, rehabilitation and district nursing services and an inpatient ward for people with dementia in the NHS, and the management of a wide range of NHS mental health assessment, crisis, recovery, psychiatric liaison and alcohol services. Designing and facilitating mental health training, events and therapeutic groups, plus providing supervision, coaching and mentoring have been key components of her career. Carolyn also has substantial experience in project management, service redesign, leading change and delivering measurable outcomes. She was the lead for suicide prevention for a NHS Trust for a number of years.

While managing a hectic work and home life as a single parent to two children, Carolyn discovered the benefits of yoga for her own physical and mental health and was soon practising 6 days a week. In a lightbulb moment, she made the link between her career in mental health and her passion for yoga. The idea for Carolyn Smith Yoga and Mental Health was born.

Yoga teacher training followed with Sun Power Yoga in London, Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher training with Ashtanga Glastonbury plus specialist training in Yoga for Stress and Burnout, ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at Yoga Campus, and Yoga and Mindfulness for Addictions at The Minded Institute. Getting a glimpse of what life could be like and experiencing the rewards of being able to make a direct difference to people’s lives through yoga in the two classes she was teaching each week, Carolyn made the decision in 2018 to step-down from her strategic role to launch Carolyn Smith Yoga and Mental Health. There were a few sleepless nights after her resignation, dominated by the thoughts “what have I done?!”

Carolyn knows from first hand experience that yoga can really change lives. It stripped back the things she was not, enabled her to reconnect with herself and the things that are important in life and gave her the courage to step into the unknown.

Carolyn now teaches a number of yoga classes each week in Somerset, corporate yoga classes and regularly offers workshops, courses and retreats. Alongside teaching yoga, Carolyn is an independent social work consultant providing mental health courses (some are combined with yoga), 1:1 therapeutic programmes, mental health training in conjunction with Heads Up (a Somerset-based mental health charity), supervision for mental health and social care professionals and practice teaching for social work students. She was delighted to become a director for Seed of Hope, a social enterprise offering therapeutic horticulture, at the end of 2018.

Relevant Qualifications

200 Hour Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher Training (accredited Yoga Alliance Professionals School).

200 Hour Sun Power Yoga Diploma (accredited Yoga Alliance School).

YMCA Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga.

Post Graduate Diploma in Management and Leadership (Health and Social Care), University of West Of England.

Diploma in Social Work, University of Southampton.

MSc (Distinction) Social Work Studies, University of Southampton.

BA (Hons) Sociology, University of Nottingham.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) includes:

Yoga and Mindfulness for Addictions and the Minded Addiction Recovery Kit (MARK), The Minded Institute.

Yoga for Stress, Burnout, ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Specialist Training Course, Yoga Campus.

Mental health CPD includes training in Supervision, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy, Introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act, Leading Investigations and Safeguarding Adults.

Professional Registrations

  • Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) with Yoga Alliance.
  • Registered Social Worker with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Registration number: SW61956.
  • Carolyn’s most recent Enhanced DBS check was in June 2018 and she holds a current Emergency First Aid in the Workplace certificate.
  • Carolyn is fully insured, including for public liability, with Fitness Gold for her yoga work and BASW for her work as an independent social worker.
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