Spirit Gym Creator

Dr Tim Saunders 


Welcome to Spirit Gym! I originally created Spirt Gym for trainee teachers and early career teachers from different faiths and none, to support them with their own spiritual development and spiritual wellbeing with a view to them supporting the spiritual development of children. This grew out of a scheme for Wicked RE which I designed to enhance the integration of spirituality and sustainability in 21C Religious Education in UK schools. Then I realised that more people in schools and universities and online learning environments would benefit from a practical approach to peer support which integrates the seven practices of essential spirituality and the enneagram. Above all I realised that parents as first educators might appreciate an approach to spiritual development they could share with their children at home. A little bit about my background …


I first came to live in the north west of England as a student at Manchester University in 1985 and having lived and worked nomadically here ever since, I eventually settled in Liverpool, a stone’s throw from the Mersey estuary.  I count both city regions home and it is the living waterways of the Mersey rivers, many streams one river, that connect the places and people I love in this bioregion and ground my one planet thinking and spiritual practice.


I have taken a BA Hons in Theology and Religious Studies (Manchester University),  MA in Educational Management (Open University), PhD in School Leadership (Liverpool University). My teaching qualifications include a PGCE Primary (Manchester University), PGCert ODE Online & Distance Education (Open University) and PGCTHE (Edge Hill University).

Educational Experience

I have a wealth of experience that includes Primary School teaching (7 years), Headteacher (14 years), University lecturing (7 years), Thinking Skills training in schools (10 years), and Organisational Development Consultant (6 years). Throughout my career I have been interested in Religious Education but even more importantly the holistic personal development of children in terms of their Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development. Crucially this extends to the spirituality of teachers ourselves, without which we cannot even begin to focus on the spiritual development of children and young people in our care.

Spirit Gym Credentials

In addition to my academic and educational qualifications I am affiliated with Co-counselling International (UK), having undertaken the minimum 40 hours training to practice as a Co-counsellor and a further 80 hours supporting the training of other coco practitioners.

I am also a certified teacher and practitioner of the Narrative Enneagram having completed the professional training program with Helen Palmer and David Daniels in 2007. This involved 270 hours of professional training encompassing Foundation, Typing Practitioner and Panel/Teacher training, plus many hours of practice.

In the UK I am affiliated to Enneagram Alive and subscribe to its Code of Ethics.

Spirit Gym for Teachers @ Edge Hill University

I currently run a local Spirit Gym for school teachers and school leaders where I teach and research at Edge Hill University in the Faculty of Education, Department for Primary and Childhood Education.

See my research interests


© 2023 Spirit Gym : The Mindfulness-based Peer Support Network


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