Petra is an NHS-accredited Well-being coach and a qualified DRU yoga teacher. She has done her CPD in Mindfulness and Meditation. In her coaching practice she focuses on stress reduction and personal development, using relaxation, breath work, meditation, visualisation, positive autosuggestions and other techniques. She teaches her clients how to activate their relaxation response on purpose.
Petra has created a 6-week course 'WELL-BEING AND STRESS REDUCTION' for staff/educators (currently working with the staff at University of Nottingham and scheduled workshops for Buckinghamshire New University staff in autumn 2023), and an extension programme called 'WELL-BEING AND THE POWER OF SOUND' to be introduced at University of Nottingham in autumn 2023 and spring 2024.
Her 'ALIGNED MUSICIAN PROGRAMME' focuses on the challenges of being a professional musician or a serious music student. See more below to read more about both programmes.
Latest projects includes co-founding MUSANITAS well-being online platform for Sustainable Development Goals and wokrshops on wellbeing at the Festival of Rejection for University of Nottingham, School of Law and School of Business.
Petra also offers 1:1 coaching sessions for stress reduction and personal development.
Petra has been interested in natural healing and eastern philosophies since she was a teenager. She took part in Reiki healing course (stage 1 and 2) in Prague before she moved to the UK. After relocating to England in 2012 she studied Body Mapping, loosely based on the Alexander technique, designed specifically for instrumentalists, with Lisa Marsh and other specialists (mainly online from the USA from 2013 until 2019) to understand postural alignment and anatomy in movement for her piano practice and teaching.
Her interest in yoga has led her to pursue a DRU Yoga Teacher Training Course in Snowdonia (2015 - 2018) and Petra fully qualified in 2019. She further explored meditation and mindfulness as a CPD online, including 8-week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course with Oxford Mindfulness Centre, followed by the Autogenic training introductory course.
Petra is currently studying Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, accredited by British Psychological Society, to use these techniques in her 1:1 sessions.
Courses currently available:
WELL-BEING AND STRESS REDUCTION COURSE
this course is structured in 6 hours (1 hour a week), with practices being given between the sessions
it can also be presented as a 1-day workshop
Week 1: Movement and Breath Work
At the beginning of the session we learn about what is stress response, types of stress response (fight/flight/freeze/fawn), sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and how to activate relaxation response on purpose. We discuss various types of exercise and postural alignment, particularly in an office related situation. I then introduce a few practical yoga stretches and breathing practices.
Week 2: Mindfulness and Meditation
Reviewed breath work from week 1 as a part of mindfulness meditation practice. Mindfulness of the senses, emotions and thoughts will be explored in practical exercises. Introduction to brainwaves and how alpha/theta brainwaves occur during these practises, lowering stress levels and initiating natural healing processes. We discuss how to introduce mindfulness into our everyday activities.
Week 3: Relaxation, Autogenic Training and Autosuggestion techniques
Deep relaxation and autogenic training in practical exercises; learning how to reprogram the subconscious mind using positive auto-suggestions. Knowledge about brainwaves and relaxation response is explored further. Learning about the vagus nerve and its function, including exercises for its activation to promote relaxation response.
Week 4: Nutrition and Sleep
Discussing healthy nutrition and emotional eating/cravings. The 'Where-Why-How we eat' questions as opposed to only 'What we eat'. The science of sleep - circadian rhythms, daylight exposure etc. The impact of caffeine/alcohol/stress on our sleep. Exercise: yoga nidra (yogic 'sleep'). Further exploring theta and delta brain waves.
Week 5: Creativity and the Arts
'A state of Flow' as a measure of happiness. Exploring types of creativity and finding our own state of flow. Music - mindful listening - being fully present while listening and accepting our feelings. The benefits of sound healing - how sound waves can facilitate healing. Breathing exercise accompanied by live Tibetan bowls, followed by humming practice for vagus nerve toning.
Week 6: Positive Mindset and Emotions
Discussing elements of positive mindset, looking at cognitive distortions that can prevent positive thinking, understanding basic human emotions. Techniques - RAIN of self-compassion, loving kindness meditation, gratitude practice. Visualisation techniques to attract desired outcomes. Brain and heart coherence - communication between the heart and brain; how to achieve coherence by breath work and positive emotion.
THE ALIGNED MUSICIAN PROGRAMME
this course can be offered as a 4-hour introduction for groups, or explored further in more detail over a longer period of time
some elements, such as postural alignment and particular stretches, are best taught and demonstrated on individual basis
1. Anatomy in movement
Efficient movement is often based on knowledge of how our bones, joints and muscles work in motion. Postural alignment training results in subtle corrections while sitting or standing. This part of the course covers the basics of anatomy in movement, in order to avoid misuse of our body, followed by undesired repetitive stress injury. I use anatomical models of full-sized human spine and arm, pictures and videos to demonstrate what we experience while practising an instrument.
2. Yoga based stretches
There are certain muscles that get overused while playing an instrument, or shortened while sitting for long periods of time. Carefully designed, gentle yoga based stretches get you back on track. I use visuals to identify the muscles and become aware of their functions, so that we can look after them better. I then design a healthy stretching routine to suit an individual's needs.
3. Mindfulness and breath work
Learning some breathing and mindfulness techniques will enhance both your practice and performance. Being grounded in the present moment is important for building mental resilience and focus. It also lowers our stress levels and increases cognitive capacity. Breathing exercises help release tension and oxygenate our body. Natural breathing also helps phrase music more naturally, even on instruments like piano or strings where breathing is not linked to creating tone itself.
4. Relaxation/Meditation/Visualisation techniques
These practices are important to lower performance anxiety by activating the relaxation response on purpose. We learn about stress response and how it affects our behaviour/performance, the types of stress response and how to deal with it in a performance situation. Visualisation can also help imagine and prepare for a successful performance, increase confidence and self-belief, using positive auto-suggestions.