Training Testimonials

Here’s what people think about their Ayurvedic Yoga Massage training…

“Why take the Level 5 AYM training course with Despina? I suppose different people will have different variations of reasoning. I was naturally drawn to it because things have lined up in my life that allowed me to continue my pursuit of deeper learning and refinement of skills in AYM with Despina.

Learning from Despina is for me, a deeply personal discipleship, and I don’t think my learning with her will stop after Level 5. What else can I say about the course? If you wish to take Level 5, you’re committing to providing a level of service that goes beyond yourself and your ego. Levels 1-4 prepare you physically in your practice. Going through Level 5 for me is a journey of self-discovery, humility, and attunement to others. We sometimes forget we are conduits for healing, and only by emptying ourselves can healing take place for both the receiver and the giver.

Another highlight of doing Level 5 is that you will meet all the students who, like yourself, are keen to learn AYM beginning from Level 1; amazing people from with all their life’s stories who are here to transform themselves, to help others, and to heal. I’ve witnessed so many profound moments of emotional release during the sessions; the happiness and tears, and wisdom and anecdotes exchanged; moments of strength and vulnerability in between spaces of our breath and practice, and realising the power of connection and the touch we have right here in the space Despina holds, and right here in our hands.

Despina is knowledgeable and has a highly intuitive understanding of the anatomy. Through that knowledge and her breadth of life experiences in giving treatments, being able to receive a close-eyed guidance from her proved highly beneficial for me in the refinement of my practice. My course mate Oana who was also on her Level 5 journey has taught me so much from my receiving of massages from her. Being able to connect, learn, and share knowledge with other AYM course mates has made my experience so unique.

I entered Level 5 thinking that I may become a more skillful therapist, and graduated with confidence that my practice is spiritually supported by the technique and community, and that I might somehow return to spread the AYM knowledge to others when the time comes.

I’m grateful to Despina and everyone I’ve met in this journey.Thank you! x ”

Joy Ng

Ayurvedic Yoga Massage Practitioner

“Despina is the real deal when it comes to ayurvedic yoga massage. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the body and is a natural teacher. I have no doubt that you will love these workshops and will carry the skills you learn with you through the rest of your life.” –

Doctor Yogi

“I’d been looking for a massage course for a long time before finding Despina. Nothing had felt right before. I was looking for a teacher who was wise, experienced, has a heart for people, and an instinctive way of responding to health and the body. Despina is all of those things. She is very knowledgable, and that shines through. She really knows her craft and cares about people and those she is passing it on to. She believes in what she does, and having spent a week with her, feeling the impact of this approach – so do I. I have left the course really excited about sharing, and feeling confident to do so. Not only have I learnt loads, I feel like I’ve been on the most amazing retreat.”

Michelle Owen

Ayurvedic Yoga Massage Therapist

“I was lucky enough to attend Levels 1-4 in Greece with Despina. Not only is she a fantastic teacher, creating easy to follow content and notes but also a fantastic host. I’ve rarely eaten such wonderful food, the beaches were beautiful, the villages we visited all unique and lovely and the people open and generous.

I learnt so much in those 2 weeks it’s almost hard to believe! Back home Despina stays in contact to help with any future learning, gives tips for setting up your business and has brought me in contact with a whole new group of wonderful people as a support network. Fantastic!”

Christina Bolt

Ayurvedic Yoga Massage therapist

Despina is a great teacher. I enjoyed doing L1-2 and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to do this life changing course. I also believe this is the most complete and effective massage course I have done.

Filipa Pinto

Massage Therapist, AYM Level 2

“Despina is a 5 star teacher no doubt about it. She is welcoming, personable and very approachable. She is very generous too! Generous with her knowledge, her skills, her time, as well as all the yummy food she provided us with during the level 1-2 training! While she taught the class she found time to sort out my Psoas which had been making me very miserable. All in a day’s work for Despina!”

Silvia Maquirriain

Ayurvedic Yoga Massage therapist, Ayurvedic Yoga Massage with Silvia

“Just completed the AYM L1 / L2 training with Despina, I loved the relaxed atmosphere and her hands-on approach to teaching. It quickly became apparent that not only was Despina an amazing massage therapist, she was also a natural teacher which allowed myself and the other students to quickly gain confidence in what we were doing. The combination of demonstration, detailed handouts and frequent massage practise sessions worked brilliantly. Whether you’re a massage therapist looking to learn AYM or just looking to add to your life skills I would highly recommend attending one of Despina’s workshops or training courses.”

Alastair Findlay

Massage therapist, Aberdeen, UK, Ali Findlay Massage Therapy

“I recently attended an Ayurvedic Yoga Massage workshop with Despina. It was great! We covered neck and head massage. She demonsrated the techniques very well, so it was easy to understand and remember. She is a great teacher and I look forward to learning more from her.”

Laura Kay

Massage Therapist, In touch, Leeds

“Over the past two years, I have attended a weekend intro course, several 4-hour workshops and L1-2 courses with Despina. It has been just been amazing! Her teaching technique which is very hands-on combined with her knowledge and reassurance has given me confidence in my new found skill. I was able to give sessions to friends just after a few days practice.”

Nawal Careem

Leeds City of Sanctuary

“Despina’s AYM teaching has given me the skills to practice on different bodies in a safe and sensitive way. I always come away from her classes feeling good in my own body too!”

Alison Grace,

Owner, transformation through movement workshops

“I recently attended one of Despina’s 4 hour massage workshops. She created a warm welcoming atmosphere and made everyone feel comfortable as soon as we arrived. Her explanations, insights and demonstrations were all clearly put across and everyone had enough time to practice. She was encouraging and helped everyone to get the most out of the afternoon.

I gained some useful techniques, in a short space of time. I would however suggest you have time to put some of these techniques into practice after the workshop….a bonus for friends and family!

Highly recommended, I felt wonderful afterwards, and enjoyed meeting new people. Well worth it! Thanks Despina”

Gerry Turvey

Yoga teacher and choreographer

When i decided to start a massage course i had no idea where and what i wanted to do. Took me a while to find this amazing massage and a good friend to recommend me Despina as a teacher and a guide into my journey. She is a wonderful person and her energy is pure and authentic.

I was looking for a teacher with a good soul and a big heart. Patience and calm. Someone that i can feel comfortable around and in the same time someone that actually care for their passion.
Meeting Despina was the best thing for me as she’s got everything I’ve asked for.

Thank you Despina for the wonderful experience and the lovely vibes of Chios!
I loved every single minute spend around you, the other students,and your lovely family.
Deciding to come and do the full course with you was the best thing i have done for myself, the best investment in myself, as now I’m absolutely loving it.
Love your patience to teach and your freedom of sharing your knowledge with me. I now feel i have a life time friend that i can learn from and share my experience with when comes to massage and life 🙂

Long course was very beneficial for me as i had a low back pain for years, that i eventually accepted as part of me, however, in the course i have become a case study for the group. Now i can say, hands on heart, that my pain is hardly there, plus i have learn how to massage myself all thanks to Despina and her magical heads.
Thank you for the lovely food, thank you for taking us around the island, thank you for your kindness and thank you for your time

I highly recommend Despina, her treatments and courses to anyone who is looking to do something amazing for themselves

Oana Paunas

“Great experience ! Went to the Head, neck and face workshop (4 hours) and definitely would recommend it. It made me very excited to give more massages to my friends and family and learn more. I have no previous experience with learning massage technique (apart from nice looking youtube videos). I think Despina is a great teacher. The 4 hour workshop was well structured and planned, we had time to receive some theoretical knowledge, watch her demonstrate the technique, practice on each other and share our reflections and feedback at the end of the session. Very impressive planning I think! She brought a printed guide with photos and instructions for everyone – which I loved (you can take your own notes or write directly in the guide). She brought shared lunch so we had time to socialize, eat and get to know each other little bit more. I really liked her open approach to everyone’s own techniques, tastes and needs. Overall fantastic experience.

Jaroslava Tomanova

PhD student, University of Leeds

“I am so grateful to Despina for the Ayurvedic Yoga Massage level 1-2 course! I am very satisfied with the course for many reasons. First, the atmosphere was very friendly and supportive. The group was small, we were only 8. We learned theory, then tried to practise and swapped, asking questions and getting answers. I learned a lot about massage, anatomy, the human body, and other different important things about how to do it right, step by step. Each moment of these days was very useful because of the high level, excellent teaching. Also I have met new friends with the same interest and passion. And what amazing organic food chosen by Despina we had for lunch and breaks! I really enjoyed it! And of course the main thing is that I have enough knowledge to start my practice offering separate AYM sessions or combining it with my yoga privates. One small thing more is that I became more conscious and stopped rushing. I found more meditative way to work, which makes me feel happier.”

Rita Petrova

Yoga teacher and ayurvedic Yoga Massage therapist, Ayurvedic Yoga Massage with Rita

“For quite some time I had a little inner voice telling me to experience an Ayurvedic Yoga Massage session or workshop. I believe that everything is incredibly aligned and I finally got the chance to do a back and shoulders workshop with Despina. She is an incredible and passionate teacher with the warmest personality, a beautiful technique and attention to detail and she makes you feel confident and supported throughout the session! I totally recommend AYM and Despina’s workshops – I am already booked for the next head, shoulders, neck and face workshop and looking at doing the level 1-2 in the near future!”

Sandra Batista

London, UK

“The 4 hour Back and Shoulder Ayurvedic Yoga Massage that I attended at ‘The Shala’ far exceeded my expectations. The atmosphere, intimate group size and the attention to detail combined with the warmth of delivery was superb.

Despina is a skilled and knowledgable practitioner and this is totally embodied in the way she shares so passionately during the training. I look forward to doing more workshops and would recommend this workshop highly to yogis, massage therapists and any other bodyworkers.”

Yasmine Khan

Owner, Yoga Physique

“I really enjoyed learning AYM with Despina, she is extremely knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience that she is able to pass on. The courses are informative, and practical with loads of hand-on practice. I learnt so much! And I thoroughly enjoyed them!”

Amanda Crossfield

Lead Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation, Yorkshire Water, UK

When i decided to start a massage course i had no idea where and what i wanted to do. Took me a while to find this amazing massage and a good friend to recommend me Despina as a teacher and a guide into my journey. She is a wonderful person and her energy is pure and authentic.

I was looking for a teacher with a good soul and a big heart. Patience and calm. Someone that i can feel comfortable around and in the same time someone that actually care for their passion.Meeting Despina was the best thing for me as she’s got everything I’ve asked for.

Thank you Despina for the wonderful experience and the lovely vibes of Chios!
I loved every single minute spend around you, the other students,and your lovely family.
Deciding to come and do the full course with you was the best thing i have done for myself, the best investment in myself, as now I’m absolutely loving it.
Love your patience to teach and your freedom of sharing your knowledge with me. I now feel i have a life time friend that i can learn from and share my experience with when comes to massage and life 🙂

Long course was very beneficial for me as i had a low back pain for years, that i eventually accepted as part of me, however, in the course i have become a case study for the group. Now i can say, hands on heart, that my pain is hardly there, plus i have learn how to massage myself all thanks to Despina and her magical heads.
Thank you for the lovely food, thank you for taking us around the island, thank you for your kindness and thank you for your time

I highly recommend Despina, her treatments and courses to anyone who is looking to do something amazing for themselves

Oana Paunas

Ayurvedic Yoga Massage therapist