Danika Michelle C-IAYT, C-BBM
Danika is an internationally certified yoga therapist, and buteyko breathing instructor, who has spent almost 20 years helping people with chronic illness, including cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammatory, and mental health conditions using the holistic framework of yoga therapy. This is a form of mind-body medicine that combines physical practises, mindfulness, breathing practises, meditation, and positive psychology to promote complete health of body, mind and spirit. She is the founder of Breathing to Heal and Yoga Wellness Clinic.
Danika observed that despite the diverse backgrounds and medical histories of her clients, they all had something in common - they all had dysfunctional breathing patterns, despite sometimes being yoga practitioners themselves. When these patterns were corrected her clients improved rapidly. Realising just how fundamental correct breathing is to health, Danika explored other breathing techniques including the Wim Hoff and Buteyko Breathing methods. Employing a range of breathing techniques allowed Danika to resolve her own lifelong struggle with chronic asthma, and accelerated the progress of her yoga therapy clients. This ultimately led her to start the Breathing to Heal Clinic with the intention of helping even more people to develop more stability and peace in body and mind.
Danika was trained by the best of the best, studying yoga therapy with Drs Pooja and Sridhar Maddela, and the Buteyko Method with Patrick McKeown, a leading Buteyko practitioner and author in Ireland. Being an avid reader of research in areas such as respiratory health, yoga therapy, nutrition, clinical exercise, behavioural psychology and manual therapy, she incorporates the latest evidence-based techniques into her programs.
Danika is a compassionate healer who approaches every session from the heart. She keeps longer term goals in mind while meeting her clients where they are at on the day. Her life has always been defined by a sense of reverence for all living beings, and a desire to contribute more kindness and compassion to the world. She brings a unique combination of strong intuition, and rigorous analysis to every session, and to every program, so that her clients can lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.
Dr Christian Thoma BSc, MSc, PhD ACSM-CEP
Christian is a nutritionist, clinical exercise physiologist, and senior lecturer with an enduring fascination for how diet, physical activity, sleep, staying in tune with nature’s rhythms, and breathing can be used to restore health and optimise mental and physical performance.
His previous research reflects this broad interest and includes work looking at the effects of diet and/or exercise on vitamin status, cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. His current research is examining the effects of different traditional breathing techniques and technology augmented breathing on the central and autonomic nervous systems, so the brain, and the part of the nervous system that shifts us between a fight, flight, or freeze state, and rest and digest state.
As a lecturer he teaches courses on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, physical activity, health and wellness to health science and allied health students. He also enjoys sharing his passion with the broader public in-person and online via videos and workshops on similar topics, but with more focus on application.
Although mostly blessed with reasonable health, a lifetime of hay fever and animal allergies leading to a lot of mouth breathing in his sleep and during exercise, meant that he has had to be proactive about retraining his breathing. The development of some food intolerances in later life also gave him an appreciation for the importance of personalising diet and indeed all therapies to the individual.
When not working, Christian enjoys spending time with his family. His daughter in particular is a great source of joy and learning, especially of the self-knowledge kind.
MSc in Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
American College of Sports Medicine – Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist
PhD titled Exercise, Glucose Control, and Liver Fat: Providing the Evidence for Translation into Clinical Care, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom