Sarah Varela learnt Reiki in Australia in 1998 and set up a practice ‘The Reiki Room’ in Colchester in 2003. She became a Reiki master and started teaching Reiki in 2006. Since 2014, Sarah has been running spirit-lifting day and weekend retreats. In 2016, she trained in Nia - barefoot dance classes with feel good factor.
"What I love about everything I do - Reiki, Nia, the retreats - is that it's all suitable for absolutely anyone regardless of age, physical health, fitness level, emotional state, belief system, background, education or past experiences. If you'd like to restore balance, wellness, harmony and flow in your life contact me and we can work out the best fit for your needs."
Sarah has a ‘teacher practitioner’ membership with the UK Reiki Federation and a license to teach Nia with Nia Technique Inc.
My background is in health journalism. After uni, I worked at Cosmopolitan magazine for three years and over the years I've written freelance health and wellbeing articles for a wide range of publications including Marie Claire, Psychologies and The Sunday Times. I have also written several patient support programmes, helping people to manage long-term health conditions. In 2008, my cousin Amanda Saunders and I co-wrote a best-selling book: ‘Bipolar Disorder - the ultimate guide’ to help us make sense of the condition that affects our family (my dad and sister, Amanda’s mum and our grandfather).
Finding Reiki in 1998 was a life-changer. My husband Anthony and I had taken a year off work to go backpacking, and in Sydney I stumbled across Reiki 'by accident'. Thanks to this incredible practice and the unswerving support of my beautiful teacher Faye Wenke and her inspiring teacher Dr Ranga Premaratna, I began to untangle and release the grief, anger and fear I'd stuffed down into the depths of my heart. My dad was knocked down and killed by a drunk driver the night before my 16th birthday, and for 10 years I'd stored the pain. I was also doing quite a brilliant job (unconsciously, of course) of burying all the feelings of sadness, loss and fear I had about the illness in my family - my dad was diagnosed with manic depression (as it was then called) when I was eight, and my sister was diagnosed with bipolar (as it is now called) when I was 24.
With Reiki, I started to heal. At first, I had fleeting moments where I felt light, free and fearless, and I had the briefest insights into what it's like to feel utterly connected to everything and everyone, to sense myself as energy, to feel my heart centre overflowing with so much joy, peace and love that there simply wasn't any room left for the pain. I understood even in those early days that it was in my hands to cultivate those feelings and that I could choose to lean into the joy - so I resolved to do whatever it took to heal. I committed to using my Reiki practice daily, I read a shelf of self-help books, I faced and am learning to accept and love my shadow side.
Finding Nia in 2016 was another defining moment. I've always eaten healthily and walked the dog, but the word ‘exercise’ made me shudder. My body was feeling stiff and sluggish. Then I tried a Nia Dance class and it was love at first step! I signed up for the first level of training (white belt) with a fantastic teacher in London, Dorit Noble, and have also now gained my green and blue belts in the Nia teacher grading system. Today I feel stronger, fitter, freer, leaner, lighter and more present in my body. Dancing the Nia way – and teaching the classes - is so much fun!
Co-hosting retreats with my friend and retreat partner Charlotte Haigh makes my heart sing with joy. For that day or weekend, the two of us take such pleasure in nourishing and nurturing our guests so together we can explore ways to invite more joy, love and peace into our lives. Our aim is to create a beautiful bubble around the group so we all feel safe and free to express our true selves.
What I can see clearly now is that a peaceful life isn't a life without any noise, mess or hassle but a life with ways to keep calm within and see the beauty of the chaos. That's what my trio of healing practices do for me... the Reiki, the Nia, the retreats - they support and sustain me, helping me to cultivate peace whatever happens to be going on around me...
As a mother of three boys, a Reiki practitioner and master, a Nia Dance teacher, a retreat host and a health writer, my mission is to share all the amazing practices I'm lucky enough to know and to infuse everything I do with love.