Hello, I'm Eleanor Chitham. I have always been excited by ideas, language, literature, travel and writing so started my career in Barcelona where I trained to be an English teacher. It naturally follows that I also love exploring myths, stories and archetypes. After half a lifetime of gaining professional and personal experience, working with all kinds of students preparing for exams in an increasingly pressured environment, I realised that the greatest gift we have is our physical, mental and spiritual health. I had first tried yoga in as a student but it wasn't very accessible to me when I lived in Spain. Back in the UK, I rekindled my love for it and started a meditation practice. After years in mainstream education and experiencing burnout without even realising just how bad it had got, I made a life-changing decision to use the skills I had gained in teaching, counselling and leadership to make a difference to the wellbeing of many people, training with YogaCampus to get qualified as a yoga teacher and online with Michael Stone as a mindfulness practitioner, also through YogaCampus. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In fact, it has felt to me as if I am coming home to my true self! I love teaching yoga and connecting with students from all walks of life. I now specialise in beginners' courses, creating flowing sequences and restorative yoga. I am still learning and always will be. My first specialist training was with Judith Hanson Lasater on her Relax and Renew programme and I learnt all about restorative practice. I also trained in Qi Gong for Yoga teachers with Mimi Kuo-Deemer at triyoga, and I integrate Qi Gong movement and teachings into my classes. Qi Gong teaches us to live with the seasons and this is also part of my philosophy. My classes are often themed around natural elements and the seasons as I love to be outdoors in nature. My other yoga passions are Yoga Nidra and visualisation and I am also a Reiki healer, attuned to level 2. I understand what it is like to have a stressful job, to be a single parent and to suffer from chronic migraines, as I have had all these experiences. I also now know what it is like to be in an older body! If any of this resonates with you, I look forward to meeting you on the mat and hope that practising yoga with me will bring a sense of joy; that it will be both energising and relaxing.
“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Why Lemon Zest Life?
I travelled to Sorrento in May 2017, just before I started my yoga teacher training and what I hadn’t realised was how beautiful and prolific the lemons trees were. If you have ever been there, you'll know that the Amalfi coast would not be the same without them; and it seems the lemon groves date back to Roman times.
Travelling up through the steep terraced hills, you see they are planted absolutely everywhere! There's hardly a family in the area that does not have a lemon grove, passed down through hard work and sacrifice. These also offer stability to the landscape. In fact, in terms of the environment , the part they play is huge in preventing erosion as they put down roots on the steep mountainsides.
I loved being there and I knew I needed a change in my life. I came up with the name Lemon Zest Life, as I visualised a better way of living, not really knowing where my first steps as a yoga teacher would lead me and what the form that life would take. All I felt was that I was burnt out and it had to stop.
Now I realise why the name resonated. It was what I already sensed. Our yoga practice can anchor us like the roots of the tree, and bear bright fruit. Yet it takes dedication, creativity and often patience. It calls for a love and respect for the Earth. Yoga also has a long spiritual tradition which should be understood and appreciated.
Above all, yoga needs to be experienced and lived. This sense of enquiry can change you from within. You cannot learn it by reading, explaining or even demonstrating it and it has to be personal to you. This is what I hope to share, to enable you to find it for yourself.