Hi there, and welcome to my biography page.
My name is Jill McCarthy and I’m the founder of Katham Yoga and Wellness, which has been a long-held dream of mine. I set up the business whilst still working full-time as a university academic, so sessions started off quite limited, but I’m now working part-time and building up the yoga and wellness offerings. I’m hoping to have much more to offer you this year (2023), including a more varied yoga programme and lots of holistic wellness therapies.
My partner and I moved into The Old Vicarage, where Katham Yoga and Wellness is based, in January 2022, but it’s a bit (lot!) of a doer-upper, so it’s going to be a while before I can offer Residential Wellness Weekends, but that’s definitely the plan.
I’ve been interested in health and wellness for many years, which started my nursing career and I’m qualified and Registered in Adult Nursing and District Nursing and I’m also a Registered Nurse Lecturer. I then moved into teaching healthcare in university settings and I’ve spent the last 30 years teaching and researching in health-related fields. I hold a Doctorate degree in Healthcare Education, a Master of Science degree in Bioethics and a Bachelor degree in Education (majoring in Healthcare) so, as you can see, quite a long-standing interest in health and wellness.
I’ve had an on/off love affair with yoga for most of my life and wanting to explore this further, I took a career break to travel to India for six months where I studied yoga and meditation and various other holistic therapies. I’m a qualified yoga and meditation teacher and I teach the following styles of yoga – Hatha, Yin, Vinyassa Flow, Restorative, Recuperative and Chair Yoga.
Katham Yoga developed partly through my frustration with large yoga classes and the hit-and-miss approach to entering and exiting asanas (postures), as teachers just can’t give attention to everyone in the group. Katham is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘how’ and Katham Yoga places emphasis on correct positioning and posture, in order to maximise benefits and eliminate injuries.
When I started to practise yoga regularly on my own, I really enjoyed entering and exiting asanas slowly and with deliberation, after holding the pose for several breaths to maximise the benefits. I used to practise in the little orangery of my old house where the sun streamed through the open doors (when we had sun!) and the light danced across the floor, it filled my heart with simple joy which aided my practice. I also enjoy attending yoga classes that really embrace the spiritual side of yoga and don’t just treat it as another exercise class. In addition, I realised that when I taught small yoga classes I could really see my yogi students progress, which was so heartening to witness as a teacher.
Hence the idea was born of the four, unique pillars of Katham Yoga – (1) small classes of no more than six people; (2) in beautiful surroundings; (3) where individual attention can be given to correct positioning and posture; (4) whilst also emphasising the spiritual side of the practice. It’s taken over 15 years for my dream to finally come to fruition, but patience is a virtue and here I am at last.
Yoga is a spiritual practice and I truly believe that it’s important and beneficial to yogi students to learn and appreciate this side of yoga too. Katham Yoga involves setting intentions, guided meditations and deep relaxation, alongside the emphasis on correct positioning and breathing techniques. Katham Studio is a truly beautiful room within a gorgeous Edwardian house surrounded by trees and nature; it’s a light, airy room which enhances one’s mood and brings feelings of peace and joy when practising.
Lastly, and most importantly, the golden thread that runs through all Katham Yoga and Wellness sessions is that they are for everyone, no matter your gender, ability, age, or experience. Think you’re too stiff or inflexible to try yoga? Sorry, but I disagree – I’ve witnessed people recover their mobility through engaging regularly with a yoga practice. Think you’re too old to practice yoga? Sorry, but I disagree – there are 90-year-olds who perform advanced yoga poses such as headstands. Think you wouldn’t enjoy a wellness therapy; think it’s too woo-woo, hippie or airy fairy? Try one, and I bet you’ll be back for more. Also, just to note, yoga, meditation and sound therapy have a strong evidence-base that clearly demonstrates their benefits, obtained through academic, peer-reviewed research projects.
I always laughingly say that if you don’t leave my yoga or wellness sessions floating at least one centimetre above the ground, then I’ve failed you!
Katham Yoga and Wellness is a friendly, peaceful environment where you can put away your day-to-day concerns and really switch off for an hour or two. Book yourself onto a session and float off on a cloud of bliss… I look forward to meeting you there soon.
All good things,