Finding serenity

A former Emmerdale actress shows Alex Jenkins how to introduce calm and peace into her life.

In our frenetic life there is not enough time to relax and unwind – this is the case if you work full time, have children, or have both.

DM15228125a.jpg etc magazine feature. Leah Bracknell, Yoga teacher and former Emmerdale star, runs The Friday Night Serenity Sessions in Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin

However actress Leah Bracknell, who is a fully qualified yoga teacher and shamanic healer, is keen to show there is room to take a breather – even if it is just for two hours every so often.
The Serenity Session is a blissful, candlelit evening of complete relaxation, offering people a chance to de-stress and let go of their worries in a tranquil environment.
The evening is incredibly restful, with Leah urging attendees to do what their body needs – even if it means dozing off for the entire time.
And with the dark room lit by candlelight and soothing background music it is hard not to drift off in a blissful state.
“It is a chance to focus entirely on yourself and recharge,” explains Leah.
The class consists of guided relaxations, meditations, soothing gentle yoga suitable for all, and healing breathing exercises.
This is not yoga you would find in your once a week class, I only did one downward-facing dog the whole session. Instead, the movements include swinging your arms around, stretching, clapping and the like.
The session I attended was in Worthing’s St Paul’s Centre – a venue that, as we went to print was under threat of closure.
However, the next Serenity Session will take place on January 29 at The Barn, Field Place, Worthing.
Leah admits the session’s popularity has taken her by surprise, thinking when she started she would ‘get ten people’ rather than the 50 plus she attracts.

DM15228087a.jpg etc magazine feature. Leah Bracknell, Yoga teacher and former Emmerdale star, runs The Friday Night Serenity Sessions in Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin

“This is a really lovely event, and I get people from Brighton and Haywards Heath coming for it,” she says of the session, which usually takes place every six to eight weeks.

“It just seems to have filled a gap or fulfilled a need for people, it is very gratifying.
“I get a lot of energy from doing it,” she adds.
The Serenity Session is not the only class Leah runs, with others including regular yoga active and gentle yoga classes, as well as pop up workshops throughout Sussex.
A recent workshop she held was at The Loft in North Laines, Brighton, where she merged yoga and shamanic rituals to help people ‘learn, grow and heal’.
“I merge the two quite a lot,” Leah says when talking about yoga, which she took up in 2004, and shamanic healing, which her partner is also involved with.
“I went to a yoga class when I was in my late 30s to try something different,” Leah explains. “I went to my first class and I absolutely loved it and it felt like coming home.
“Yoga has been a source of great strength and inspiration to me, guiding me through life’s challenges large and small, along a path rich in discovery, learning and personal healing.”
This passion for yoga led to the actress, who is best known for her role as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, dm15228134atraining for three years with the British Wheel of Yoga to become a teacher.
Here she learned about the postures, breathing, meditation, how the body works, different texts and sacred scripts.
Whereas some people take part in yoga for health and fitness reasons, others prefer the spiritual and meditative side of it.
“There are so many different sorts of yoga and ways of practicing,” Leah agrees. “I found I was comfortable working with people who need to relax or need relief from stress.”
And this had led to some fascinating and inspirational stories, with one of her pupils attributing her IBS abating thanks to Leah’s shamanic yoga classes.
Whatever your reason for attending a class or a Serenity Session it seems there is one thing you can be certain of – that this offers a chance to escape for a rare couple of hours and unwind, and what can be better than that?


What is shamanic healing?

Shamanic healers believe the human spirit suffers every time we experience shock, grief and trauma.
Untreated, it means you can experience years of emotional and physical disease and distress, resulting in you feeling disconnected from life.
A shamanic healing is simply the ‘healing of the soul’, which finds the root of a problem and releases negative and toxic energy to bring about healing.
“It is empowering people to find their own healing, their own medicine,” explains Leah.
For more information, please visit

A ‘pop – up’ Serenity Session will be held on Friday, February 26 from 7pm until 9pm at The Loft at Little Dippers, 42 Upper Gardener Street, North Laines, Brighton.
For information, call 07580 895509, email or visit

Pictures: Derek Martin


admin December 29, 2015 Fashion and Beauty