"Taking care of myself is a practice. Every action or choice that I make has the potential to optimise my wellbeing." 

Zoe Swan, Founder, The Practice of Wellbeing. Practices for Life. 

 

My story, from burn out to wellness guide.

 

I’d love to share my journey into the world of wellbeing so you can understand why I founded The Practice of Wellbeing & more importantly, how I can support you. 

My exposure into the world of wellness & self-mastery began very simply. With a need to mitigate the impact of stress, anxiety & reoccurring sickness.

All while battling my own perfectionist tendencies & imposter syndrome, in my job as a multiple award winning Senior Law Lecturer, Law Programmes Leader, Personal Tutor & being mum to my son Isaac. 

From meditation, to essential oils, to beagle walking, going alcohol free & being quoted in Huffington Post & listening to my intuition. Exploring the world of health coaching & using food as medicine. To training as a kundalini yoga teacher. Scroll down to find out what's supported me & why I founded The Practice of Wellbeing. 

Read my professional bio

Let's begin.  

Stress, anxiety, reoccurring shingles & a compromised immune system.  

Being happy & feeling well is at the centre of all we strive for, isn’t it? I know this because I spent many years not living in optimum health but in a state of disguised anxiety and stress that left me with a compromised immune system. Experiencing reoccurring bouts of shingles and being repeatedly floored by seasonal flus and viruses was the norm for a while. Nights of broken sleep caused by an overactive mind & unconsciously using alcohol as my go to crutch.  

I became used to living with stress & overwhelm. I was a mum & working for my husband’s management consultancy, when I studied Postgraduate law & got Called to the Bar (not the alcoholic one 😉). Working with law as a legal academic brought new levels of intense overwhelm as well as incredible satisfaction. But long hours were the norm, as well as commuting to London for several years. 

As much as I was used to experiencing stress. I was most definitely not used to proactively managing it! The impact of stress radiated out to all aspects of my life impacting my health, happiness, how I felt about my job, myself and my behaviour at home – being I irritable & unreasonable when I was stressed was my default, according to my hubs. 

I tried to manage it in my own way. Trying to find balance & using different strategies. I'd practised Hatha yoga since I was young (with my parents, ran when I could & thought I ate well.  But committing to anything consistently enough to have impact was the real challenge. It all seemed too much to manage. My wake-up call came during a time of intense pressure. Thinking back to 2008/9 I  remember thinking that unless I found a way to cope, I'd have to look for a job outside of legal education. 

Taking a good hard look, I knew I was the only person that could change things. It was time for me to take complete responsibility for how I felt and stop blaming others & explore how I could best support myself.

So, I experimented as maybe you have to? I put in place what I call non-negotiable self-care practices & rituals and this is where my journey begins!  

Non-negotiable, self-care practices were the game changer for me.  They can be for you too.  

The Practice of Wellbeing is Born

The meditation portal

Increased self awareness, more time & a sense of perspective.

After my wake up call, I felt drawn to trying meditation so I began at the Brighton Buddhist Centre. The impact was instant. But I used the Headspace app to develop a regular practice. You might have tried one of these apps too? 

Meditation gave me the time and space I needed to gain perspective while I was deep in the pit of burn out. 

Within a month of meditating twice a day, my sleep and mood had improved but the most startling realisation was that I'd been the one creating my own stress! It was self-imposed. I realised something I hadn't before. I could choose how I responded to what I perceived caused me stress. And this felt so empowering! 

My husband & family noticed the change in me & asked what I'd been doing. I reacted less & my mind felt focused & clear. But looking back this was just the beginning of my journey. 

Meditation was a life-changer but it wasn’t the 'soul' answer. I knew there was more to this wellbeing puzzle. So, I continued with my quest to explore other practices. The  bug to be well & in control had well & truly bitten me.

Law Teacher to Yoga Teacher

Health Coaching insights. 

Appreciating we all have different needs. 

I trained as a Health Coach in 2015, studying with functional health and wellness leaders from around the world with the legendary Institute of Integrative Nutrition. It was eye opening.

I consumed the information hungrily & continued to experiment in my own life with various practices involving food & lifestyle choices.

I began to understand the true meaning of taking a holistic, inter-connected approach to wellness. I used coaching tools to review all aspects of my life including my career & life purpose, my relationships, spiritual practices, exercise & my nutrition choices.

Understanding the impact of food & nutrition & how it fuels us. Along with the realisation that we each need different things to nourish us, on all levels, were the light bulb moments I'd been searching for.  Because we're unique one size doesn't fit all. And that's where bio-individuality comes in.

I developed my own practice & coached clients globally, in person and virtually using this model. It was powerful to see how simple techniques & self care practices brought about significant impact & change. Seeing the impact is what motivates me to continue this work. 

Work with me one to one

Going Alcohol Free 

A life changer. But it's not for everyone. 

In December 2017, after a winter break in Cornwall involving one too many glasses of alcohol. I took the opportunity to reflect more deeply on my health and wellbeing. I was for sure peri-menopausal or perhaps menopausal! I was happy in my job, I'd found my true purpose in teaching even though I worked long hours.

I still experienced anxiety and broken sleep and had become more aware, particularly as I’d aged & become more connected to myself via meditation, that drinking alcohol was having a negative impact on my wellbeing. 

The impact alcohol was having on my blood sugar levels, hormone balance & general wellness was obvious. Once I allowed myself to see it.

What's interesting though is that I’d felt called to stop drinking for at least 7 years prior to this point! But I hadn’t listened to the nudges from my intuition. I thought it was just the hangovers talking! Plus who gives up drinking? 

So, on the 4th December I decided to give up alcohol for 40 days. What better time to stop just before the festive party season right!?  

I’ve shared widely about my experience in the legal and academic world on social media & was featured in the Huffington Post in January 2018.

But at the time of updating my web copy (June 2022.) I remain alcohol free. Pop over to the blog to read more about it. And how & why I really stopped. 

 Abstaining is a practice that supports my mental, physical and emotional health. The sense of liberation I experience increases with time and it really has been the gift that keeps on giving to myself. 

The ability I have to be present for myself and others feels like a super power. Along with accessing my true, undiluted potential. No more wasted days to hangovers or not feeling optimum.

I appreciate it's not for everyone. And ironically, I never thought it was for me, until of course I tried it because I was always the Champagne Queen ...

But it's been one of the best decisions. Even though my husband still dreams of the day I say 'yes' to a glass of vin rouge, double G n T or glass of fizz!

And if you've stopped drinking, you'll know it's not the easiest challenge. It takes us to all kinds of places within and outside of ourself.

Supporting others to explore their relationship with alcohol now forms part of my one to one mentoring work. 

Snap taken in Puglia, Italy 2018 with a Virgin Mojito. 

Take me to The Practice Membership

From law teacher to yoga teacher.

The yoga of awareness.

Not long after I’d begun to feel into the impact of being alcohol free, I decided to listen to my intuition again! It's amazing what shows up when you start to become more self aware & really tuned in to yourself. The call to become a kundalini yoga teacher had been on my radar for 3 or 4 years. But I hadn’t really considered it a viable option as I worked full time & my job was all encompassing.   

But when had that stopped me! I studied to be a Health Coach when I worked full-time and commuted to Greenwich. So I listened to my gut feeling & answered the call. In March 2018 I signed up for the teacher training programme without ever having attended an in-person kundalini class and began another life changing chapter! 

As a practice kundalini yoga brought together everything I knew (from my personal experience) that's essential for living a healthy, fulfilled & self-aware life. As well as the added benefits of helping me  negate the impact of stress & bringing me a form of self-awareness & connection that feels razor sharp.

Kundalini's not a flow style yoga. It’s a practice unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It works fast on many levels. And it's different because the focus is not just on the 'physical asana' aspect of yoga.  It brings together each of Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga Practice 'to develop the entire spectrum of body and mind' as an interconnected system. 

So kundalini feels more like a spiritual practice to me. It uses movement - some classic yoga poses - some hatha - some kundalini some non-yogic -  some strong some less strong, it's our choice. The breath, meditation, deep relaxation, single pointed focus & mantra chanting. And yogas ethical guidelines - the Yamas and Niyamas to explore our connection to life, our existence & choices of being. 

My experience of practising 'yoga' in this way is profound. It's more than a practice on the mat. It informs how I live my life & make my decisions. And it's brought together so many other aspects of my wellness journey.

It feels like I've come full circle. To the place I was seeking at the beginning of my quest but didn't fully know it, until I experienced it.  Cheesy? No just the truth.

I have a deep understanding that self-awareness and interconnected practices are at the centre of me making choices that support my wellbeing. And some of those choices and nudges have been completely transformational. in fact, they've been life changing! 

NB. Kundalini's not like other forms of yoga. It's known as a 'householders' yoga because it's accessible to all & can be practised at home wearing loose clothing. 

Tell Me More About Kundalini Yoga

The Practice of Wellbeing is born.

Practices for Life - every aspect of your life. 

The Pillars of the Practice of Wellbeing were developed out of my yoga, coaching & personal life experiences. AKA  my quest to optimise my wellbeing, lifestyle and feel well. This quest showed me the key pieces I believe we need to take care of our wellbeing. Because it’s not just one thing or one practice that supports optimum health & wellbeing. It’s a real-life 'pick n mix' of practices! And that’s actually ‘yoga’ too.

Because yoga means union, to join or unite, it's a conscious, way of living and being, connecting with your awareness & the power of your mind & body.

We need movement, breath work, meditation, awareness, good sleep, deep relaxation, nourishing self-care rituals, nutrient dense food - that fuels our needs, some sort of devotional or spiritual practice - prayer, meditation, mindfulness or journaling. Practices to negate the impact of stress. 

Each of these forms part of the ever evolving practices I use to support myself each day. There's no magic solution. Except for elevating your self awareness.

Once you do this, you can really tune in to what your body, mind & soul are calling for. That's why I love my kundalini yoga practice. It's been the ultimate life changer. 

Now I bring together all my experience to provide you with the opportunity to experience it too! Through The Practice & The Practice Membership. Because being well is developing Practices for Life. All aspects of your life.

Life as in energy & life force and life as in your actual life!! A combination of these simple tools have the capacity to change how you live & feel in your  life. They support elevated wellbeing & self awareness. So you can live in the optimum version of you.

The Practice of Wellbeing has been born! Please join me if you're hearing that voice inside nudging you to explore it or you're simply open-minded & curious. Just as I was. Trust your gut. 

I can't wait to meet & guide you!   

Big love, Zoe x 

Take me to The Practice Membership

Professional Bio

Zoe Swan, Founder, The Practice of Wellbeing

I’m an innovator. Devoted wellbeing activist. Highly intuitive mentor & space holder. Lifestyle champion. Caring human, mother, wife & beagle Mama. With QUANTUM ENERGY! 

  • Yoga Therapist (In Training, Kundalini Medicine School, Guru Dharam Singh Khalsa 2020). 
  • Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Teacher 2018 (International School of Kundalini Yoga I-SKY) RYT 220.
  • Health Coach, Institute of Integrative Nutrition, 2016.
  • Interpersonal Mediator, Mediation UK, 2014.
  • Senior Lecturer-in-Law, Law Programmes Leader, Barrister Non-Practising, Masters in Law, PGCERT HE, PgDip Law, Personal Tutor, National QAA Law Subject Bench Mark Review Group Member, Digital Mentor for Pearson, Academic Adviser for Routledge, Member of Inner Temple, Conference Speaker, Researcher, Panel Member & Independent Reviewer in Law. 

"Zoe mesmerised us with her voice and accessible, practical tips on self-care."

Caroline Strevens, Professor of Legal Education, Head of Portsmouth Law School.
Awards & Prizes

Awards & Recognition

I care about what I do, it's written into my DNA. 

My innovation & dedication to teaching, learning & supporting others has been nationally recognised by students, employers & a range of institutions.  

  • 2019 Innovative Teacher of the Year, Brighton Student Union (BSU).  
  • 2019 Excellence in Learning & Teaching Award, University of Brighton.
  • The Times 2019: Zoe’s ground breaking wellbeing work incorporating wellness into taught law degree programmes, receives national recognition in the Press.
  • 2016 Extra Mile Award, Student Union. University of Greenwich.
  • 2015 Teaching Law with Technology Finalist, Routledge & Association of Law Teachers.
  • 2014 Excellence in Facilitating & Empowering Learning Award, University of Brighton.
  • First Prize Research Poster, Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference 2014. 
  • Second Prize, University of Brighton Annual Research Poster Competition 2014.
  • First Prize University of Brighton Annual Research Poster Competition 2013,
  • Finalist, Law Teacher of the Year 2011 Oxford University Press.
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