Danny started adult life working the the theatre and teaching drama to high school students. His interests in physical training, health, nutrition and meditation soon became his focus and he trained to become a personal trainer. After many years of successful training, research and development of his methods he decided to study to become an Osteopath at the British School of Osteopathy (BSO).
Graduating with a Masters in Osteopathy (M.Ost) in 2015 he further developed his understanding of emotional wellbeing by travelling to Bhutan and partaking in several courses on GNH (Gross National Happiness). He is a member of the General Osteopathic Council of the UK (Registration number 9046) (Osteopathy is protected by law in the UK – see here for more information about Osteopathy in the UK).
His personal research and practices are diverse and in depth. He draws upon his experiences in martial arts, sports, dance, acting, music, philosophy, history, science, strength & conditioning training to develop his own methods of teaching.
Significant ‘parent’ arts have been:
– Stretch Therapy, under Kit Laughlin.
– Osteopathy, at the BSO (Now UCO)
– Wrestling & Grappling arts
– Gymnastic Strength Training
– Physical Theatre & Circus Arts
My personal history of meditation
I first visited South Korea when I was 20. I was reading lots of eastern philosophy and practicing parkour a lot, and trying to understand Zen meditation. I had come to Seoul to prepare for a trip to Mongolia where I was going to try to do some reconnaissance for an expedition I wanted to get funding for (Exploring the territory that Grigory Grumm-Grzhimaylo wrote about was the goal). I spent the winter is Seoul, tutoring English and trying not to spend all my money. The owners of the guesthouse I was staying in were king enough to let me stay, for much less money, at a room in their home nearby. It was there I met a monk who was friends of the owners, who fortunately spoke English. He introduced me to Hua Tou practice (Koans), which were completely confusing, but the practice of questioning them was enormously helpful to me. I started practicing every day.
Several months later I met man from Finland, who had spent a year at a temple as a monk, and was returning to Finland to live. I was sharing a room with him (at a different guesthouse) and he had spent all day carrying around heavy gifts to send back to Finland. Every post office he went to sent him to a different one yet again. Four hours later he was virtually dragging his heavy bags and boxes as he arrived at the guesthouse – exhausted and unable to post his packages. I smiled, said hello and offered him a beer and some snacks. He turned down the beer, but was excited by the thought of snacks. We sat, chatted a little bit, and he told me about his stressful day. Suddenly he closed his eyes, paused, then smiled and said “I’ve been letting this day stress me. I was having a really bad day, I remembered that I can choose how my day is. Thank you for your kindness and conversation, it reminded me that I can choose to see happiness.” (I’m not sure if those were his exact words it has been ten years since that experience). I believe I am still friends with him on Facebook, perhaps I will ask him if he remembers that experience. I asked many questions about meditation and practice. I was left with a feeling of wonder: That we have choice, we have control of how we emotionally react when things happen to us. This was my new focus.
My last encounter with meditation in Korea was when I had turned 21 (I never made the trip to Mongolia), and was hiking in the mountains. It was winter and very cold. I found some shelter from the wind and was eating lunch (Gimbap), when an old man came to sit next to me. We shared food (and he gave me some Makgeolli, which is mildly alcoholic) and we spoke about how nice and quiet the mountains are in winter (they are very busy in warmer weather). I spoke about meditation and he said he has been meditating all morning “Walking is my meditation. Never take a wrong step, make every step perfect”. We parted ways and I tried to ‘make every step perfect’. It sounds easier than it is.
On returning to the UK I studied, practiced and read. I had a few meditation teachers, and lots of self learning. Years of working, becoming a personal trainer, becoming an Osteopath were shaped by my continued practice of formal and informal meditation as well as studying about the human body, psychology, neuroscience and meditation. During my Osteopathy studies I was lucky enough to be trained in ‘OsteoMAP’ which is ‘Osteopathy, Mindfulness and Acceptance Programme’ for persistent pain. Taking patients through elements of mindfulness and understanding their inner selves was something I had spent years doing myself. It felt good to give what I had spent a long time learning.
More recently I got deeper into my meditative practices and made several trips to Bhutan. I learnt a lot about incorporating mindfulness into training, what people found benefit in and how to teach things. I also saw how people embody kindness and caring. There is less emphasis on the individual and more on emphasis on helping their community and family. There is an implicit understanding of our interconnectedness and mutual responsibility for the world around us. I studied Gross National Happiness (GNH) and learnt how communities and even a country can attempt to develop their inner selves.
Meditation I have studied or practiced
My personnel practices have followed several paths which have overlapped and faded. Practices I have done for more than two years, or still do:
– Mindfulness Meditation
– Zazen practice (Zen sitting meditation, Soto School)
– Daoist Shen Gong practice (Daxuan specifically)
– Tibetan Tummo Meditation (Inner Fire)
– Wim Hof Method
– Tibetan Mindfulness of Death
I have also been strongly influenced by:
– Tibetan Ngöndro practice
– Tibetan Lojong Practice
– Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations
– John Kabat-Zinn’s works on mindfulness
– Otto Scharmer’s ‘Theory U’ work
– Dr Tho & Dr Kim from the GNH centre in Bhutan and the work they are doing.
– OsteoMAP (Thanks to Hillary Abby, Lorraine Nanke & Danny Church)
– Kit Laughlin (Founder of Stretch Therapy & meditation teacher)
Qualifications: (In no particular order)
– Masters Degree in Osteopathy (M.ost), (Registered with the General Osteopathic Council in the UK – Registration number 9046)
– Master Trainer Diploma in personal training (Level 3 REPS),
– Certificate in Medical Acupuncture,
– Certificate in Taping Techniques & Strapping,
– Attended the Gross National Happiness (GNH) in education programme in Bhutan
– Certificate from the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan for attending their Youth Leadership Programme
– Stretch Teacher Certificate in Stretch Therapy,
– Certification in Functional Movement Systems (FMS) level 1 & 2.
– Completed the OsteoMAP (Osteopathy, Mindfulness & Acceptance) programme at the British School of Osteopathy,
– Certificate from the MIT x U.Lab 1.1 programme
– Various conferences and workshops