Meet Gabriella Espinosa
Each Monday, yoga and meditation teacher, nutritionist and hormone specialist Gabriella Espinosa will host a complimentary Women’s Circle, ‘At Home in Your Body’, as part of our new online events programme. During the hour, Gabriella will share practices and rituals to help soothe your nervous system. As a group we’ll also share wisdom and empower each other. We spoke to Gabriella to find out more…
How are you finding the lockdown so far?
The first week of lockdown I experienced the feeling of being cocooned within the safety of my home with my husband and three kids – which was reassuring. I was deeply grateful that we were together and healthy. Given my training in nutrition, I focused on planning menus, making sure my pantry was well stocked and everyone was well fed. As the severity of the global crisis became more apparent, I found myself experiencing a heightened fear and anxiety for the safety and wellbeing of my older relatives, neighbours, friends and the collective at large. However, I realised that all my years of practising and teaching yoga, movement and meditation have prepared me for this very moment – to make space for the full spectrum of emotions, feelings and sensations this one precious life gifts me. Knowing this allows me to honour the ebbs and flows of my inner experience in the face of change and uncertainty in the outer world. My self-care practices and rituals expand my capacity to self-soothe and welcome where I am in any moment during this challenging time with love, compassion and acceptance.
What practices and rituals have you found most useful during this time?
Here are my top five:
Taking moments throughout the day to pause and connect with my breath, using it as an anchor to keep me calm and grounded in the face of whatever is going on around me and within me.
I use the sense of touch to check in with how I am feeling both emotionally and physically: placing my hands on heart and belly, I tune in, feel and observe what emotions or sensations I am holding in my body, giving space for them to arise and be acknowledged.
I engage in a practice called the Non-Linear Movement Method – a powerful somatic modality that soothes my nervous system, allows me to identify and process emotions, connects me deeply to bodily wisdom and gives me access to the aliveness, wellbeing and pleasure available in my body.
Making the most of the limited time outdoors, noticing the Earth beneath my feet and connecting to the sights and sounds of nature brings me pleasure.
Finally, I am enjoying more than ever the deeply nourishing practice of cooking! Feeling immense gratitude for the fresh food before me and infusing the meal with loving and healing energy while listening to my favourite playlist is incredibly therapeutic.
What inspired your passion to help women during their natural transition into perimenopause, menopause and beyond?
My own journey of moving into perimenopause in my early 40s was confusing. It made me realise that as women we experience hormonal shifts during our lives that can take us into unfamiliar territories of fluctuating emotions and physical sensations. We have been conditioned to believe that our bodies are no longer working, that we are broken or need to be fixed. Menopause is one of these shifts in which a new narrative is essential to enable us to experience our bodies differently. I feel the time is now to embrace this natural and life-affirming transition and to connect with the rich and multi-layered aspects of being female. I offer this guidance to other women through my own tried and tested tools of somatic movement, breath awareness, yoga, nutrition and lifestyle modifications. My hope is to empower women with the knowledge and resources to tune into their bodily wisdom and be their own best health advocates.
What do you wish you could share with all women?
KNOW YOUR BODY – only you can know what you are feeling or experiencing in your body, so don’t give this power away. The knowledge and awareness of our own body are so important in how we respond to its signals of pleasure and wellness, as well as to signs that things are changing and that something is potentially just not right. Knowledge empowers us to be our own best advocates for our health and wellbeing. So the first thing is to educate yourself on how your cycles and hormones function and the key role that nutrition, exercise and lifestyle play in supporting you through life’s stages and hormonal transitions.
Who is the ‘At Home in Your Body’ Women’s Circle for and what can we expect?
‘At Home in Your Body’ Women’s Circle is for women who want to come together to honour our unique experience as women and support each other in our shared wisdom during this unprecedented time. Now more than ever, we are being called to deeply consider how we nourish our bodies in every way – from the food we eat, to how we rest, move, breathe, experience pleasure and connect with others. I want to make the most of this time at home by sharing tools and resources to reconnect with our bodies’ intelligence. You can expect a safe and welcoming space to share your experiences as well as mindfulness- and somatic-based practices and rituals to nurture your WHOLE body.
Tell us about your typical day at the moment before 9am.
I usually wake around 7am, while everyone else is asleep. I love taking in the silence and the stillness at this time. With the warmer weather, I love to step out into my garden with a cup of hot tea, feel the ground beneath my feet, look out into the morning light and listen to the melody of birdsong. I go back inside for breath, movement and meditation practices and journal any thoughts or feelings that came up for me during this time. Those two hours are so precious to me right now. They set the tone to welcome and accept whatever the day has in store.
What mantra do you live by?
‘Feeling is Believing!’ As women, we have been conditioned to question, doubt or cast off the sensations or feelings that arise in our bodies. Only you can know what you are feeling or experiencing in your body at any given moment. No one else can teach you that or tell you that. Everything you feel makes sense. Taking the time to tune in and listen to what your body asks of you and what you can give back is key to feeling alive, well and safe in your body.
The ‘At Home in Your Body’ Women’s Circle runs from 7pm to 8pm each Monday – click here for the Zoom link and to find out more. At the end of the session you’ll leave with the tools to help empower you to reclaim your wholeness during this challenging time.