Heidi Trautmann

82 - People living in our midst - Viola Edward


Holistic Coach, Psychotherapist, Organizational consultant, Rebirther/Breathwork trainer, writer and internationally recognized lecturer


By Heidi Trautmann


Curiosity is the key to our world –


“Everything at its time…smile….Recognize old habits, accept them, let them come and let them go with love; thank them that they were with you and that they served their purpose. Bid them farewell like a beloved guest and close the door behind them….in order to be free to open a new door.”

A quote by Nossrat Peseschkian, born in Iran  (M.D. Doctor of Medicine, lived in Germany since 1954, founded Positive Psychotherapy in 1968 and also Wiesbaden Academy of Psychotherapy)


A good formula to start the interview with Viola Edward.  It is a formula Viola has lived by all her life. Keep going, don’t stop. She keeps some of this wise man’s books close to hand because there are many eye openers in them for her clients to read, tools to better understand oneself, to understand the relation between oneself and the world around.


Viola Edward smiled when I met her in the entrance of her house in Çatalköy, a house, she told me, that was bought in 1973 by her husband Michael de Glanville, who was born here and regards Cyprus as his home country: a real hide-away.

A house with surprises, several levels, steps down, here up or around walls to living spaces, open but in different colours, warm colours, bright yellow in the kitchen, orangey red in the studio her colours? I asked. “My husband’s,…. my colours are blue based. I want to repaint the kitchen furniture, all in white…” Blue for air, coolness, white for clear vision? Or even further… for freedom to fly, to think?


Viola leads me through the house and then through the garden to her studio, a simple room, warm with comfortable armchairs. Books along the wall and words within a graphic drawing on a writing board. Is this the place she works with her clients, I ask. It looks very businesslike.

“Yes, here we sit face to face and talk, questions and answers sharing with my clients, I often explain my words by using diagrams on the white board to make them visual, to break them down to a simple drawing, often easier to understand than words….”  Formulas, I say, one cannot apply formulas to people, as we are all individuals.

“Yes, people are unique individuals, but they have to learn and accept that, which is why they come here in the first place. My role is to accompany them to their potential and remind them that they have many resources and qualities that they are already using in a way to overcome their problems….”


She tugs her feet under in a big armchair the material of which reminds me of an Indian pattern; she is totally relaxed, like a cat. Her face is open and beautiful, a beautiful face formed by the freedom of her way of life. Her face is smiling, inviting to trust her: Look, you can read me like a book, nothing hidden. And so I start entering her personal house finding the doors wide open.

“I was three years old when my father died, He gave me my name Viola, he was a musician, you know, his Viola. After his death, my mother took us, my sister Layla and me, from Kirkuk in Irak where I was born, back to her home country, to Lebanon. We lived in Beirut for eight years. My mother is a Lebanese Maronite, my father was Assyrian. Fortunately we left Lebanon in 1972 before the civil war broke out, so my memories of that part of my life are sweet and challenging.”


“In 1972 we immigrated to Caracas in Venezuela, where my mother and her brother and had already been for some years. I was thirteen years old and spoke nothing but Arabic and French….in Beirut I had attended a school run by French nuns. In the new country we started to adapt ourselves, children learn fast. The Latin people are warm hearted, friendly and show their feelings, you know. We touch and hug a lot. I am glad to be a Latin for this reason.”

“Being immigrants affected us all, we had to work very hard to survive, my mother did sewing and cooking and myself, at the age of 13 years, was working too. Further education had to wait until I was 16; only then could I join evening classes to finish my secondary education.”

What kind of work could you find at your age, I asked.

“My first job was at a shoe shop, then I worked for a hair dressing saloon and then I started climbing the ladder from being a receptionist to secretary in an Embassy, I was in public relations and was successful as sales woman and in marketing.  I was very ambitious and I knew I would only get somewhere when I worked hard. When I was 20 years old I became a national coordinator for an optical company and that took me travelling around the country. Then I got into the insurance business which I went on doing for ten years as a marketing manager.”


You said that you took up studies to follow a dream you had since childhood, the dream to study psychology?

 “I have always been interested in psychology and philosophy. I think that when you have worked as much as I did, in so many different fields, then you pick up some deep experiences about humans and accumulate some wisdom…. I have always read a lot on the subject since I was 11 years old. When I was a young grown-up and wanted to deepen my knowledge, then I took courses like ‘Transactional Analysis’ at private institutions and also at the university, and, although they would not give me any degree certificate in the academic way, I was able to accumulate knowledge. Also I tried to see things by the laws of nature to understand people’s behaviour, to explore the depth of it and find not only the reason, but the solution, that was my dream. People nowadays have become more and more aware of alternate methods, of movements such as transpersonal psychology and philosophy, positive thinking, of ways to restore self-respect, and the general atmosphere we are living in, is changing.”


I look at Viola, the way she talks with her hands and there is a fire in her eyes as she recollects the events to her development, and I think to myself that we all need to discover our own impetus, develop our own dynamic, which comes automatically when you have started moving. We must not stand still. Everything in nature moves, although we don’t see it. Nature is constantly changing, growing, dying and being reborn. We live on an ever moving plate on this globe with living fire under our feet, subject to changes. The same fire is stored in us and we must use this energy to spread our wings and fly.


“Between 24 and 34 years of age I was firmly settled in the insurance business, I was successful but I smoked too much, drank 20 coffees a day to keep me going. One day I said to myself, enough is enough; my inner voice was moaning loud. So at the age of thirty I undertook - as a patient  - 3 years of psychoanalysis; after these three years I took part  in group therapy in ‘Transactional Analysis’, and trainings in meditation, Then I discovered ‘Breathwork/Rebirthing’ and continued with ‘Transpersonal Psychotherapy’. Those were amazing years of self discovery and heart opening, that one day I felt that I was ready to go my own way.  I had formal training in ‘Breathwork’ by Leonard Orr at his Rebirthing Centre in New Jersey, USA.  It is he who developed this is a practical science in the early 1970’s.”

I try to visualize the younger Viola, the Venezuelan Viola, beautiful, ambitious….did she have friends, or a closer relation?

“Oh yes, I had many friends, artistic and intellectual friends, I admired the arts and the artists and I envied them for their kind of freedom, freedom of mind, however, to develop any long term close relationships…that took me a long time.”

Your mother, did she remarry? “No, she didn’t, but we had a very familiar and social house, an open house the Latin-Lebanese way. We have never felt as strangers in our neighborhood, we grew up in a sort of warm embrace without any pretending.”


At the age of 34 years Viola arrived at an important crossroads in her life to either continue the old way or follow the call of her dream.  “After I came back from New Jersey, I created the ‘Centro Rebirthing de Venezuela’, a holistic Breathwork Therapy Centre. I dedicated myself to giving private, couple and family sessions and later on I began to give trainings on a professional level, in coaching and breathwork. My students came from various background, they wanted to learn and deepen their knowledge of this amazing technique. We shared the knowledge with psychologists, medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists, students, nurses or communicators, business men and women or also house wives. Thus I developed my personal experience and carried it forward into the field of holistic relationship between psychotherapy and business management”.

This resulted in the establishment of another company ‘Edward & Associates Business Consultancy’ through which she carried her knowledge of Transpersonal Psychotherapy back into the business world of human resources.

“In 1995, my sister Layla came back from Chicago where she had been studying and working for seven years,  and together we directed the two companies. It was a beautiful partnership. I have to mention one event here which took place in 2002 which represents for me an amazing completion of my work in Venezuela: My sister Layla, my husband Michael and I, hosted 207 people from 30 different countries at the Global International Conference of the International Breathwork Foundation on Margarita Island, off the Caribbean North coast of Venezuela. It was a wonderful rewarding experience.”


Can you explain, with simple words, the deeper meaning of ‘breathwork’ which seems to be one of the central points of your work?

“In a relationship it is only our own actions and thoughts that we can really control, so it is about ourselves that we should develop deeper knowledge; awareness of how we are living and breathing, how we are relating to others, what we say and do. We have the choice and the power to change the pattern of our behavior and to become aware of who we really are is an essential step towards resolving the difficulties in our lives.

Breathing is our most fundamental physical action. We can manage for some time without food, water or sleep, but we can only last a few minutes without our breath. Breathwork develops a personal consciousness of the power of breath. By understanding the effects of different breathing patterns on how we behave, how we think and feel and how we interact with life, we can consciously create the changes we are looking for.

The physical process of breathwork therapy is to learn breathing in a conscious way, accompanied by a breathworker, for 50 to 60 minutes. This is not as easy as it sounds, but with good help the technique is acquired and the breathing process can lead us to a state of mind where we reconnect deeply with disturbing truths, feelings, emotions and our clarity of perception that we have hidden away in our subconscious memory in order to protect ourselves at times of vulnerability. Through the breathwork we gain access to our inner knowledge which guides us towards resolving our difficulties. It is this consciousness that I am working on and along with it comes the consciousness of so many other things in life.

Rebirthing means what is says, to be reborn, to get rid of what has been stuck around your soul, what parents told you, teachers, friends and the media, all influential institutions that try to manipulate you, often in the name of love of course. You, the individual, you are told what to wear, what to think and what to believe. Even being a conscious person it can take you years to find your personality, your abilities…and this is what I do, I shorten the hard journey to this point. The same applies, basically to the management consultancy: to fortify your personal core to the best use of the company.”

Two years ago, Viola included colour analysis and image consulting to the spectrum of her work. She now represents the ‘House of Colour UK’ in North Cyprus.  “Through our life's journey, we may change countries, move house, or change the friends we go out with. Aspects of our personality may get highlighted or diminished, our body shape may change, but the pigmentation of our skin and the colour of our eyes remain fundamentally the same, as do the core elements of our personality. These are the essentials of whom and what we are and the secret of feeling and looking good is being in harmony with those essentials. So it follows that certain blends of colours and styles of clothing will suit us beautifully and there are others that do not. Colour Consultations are both fun and informative, either on a one-to-one basis or for couples or small groups and they are equally relevant for women and men.”

Through her work on self development, Viola became very successful and her knowledge and experience highly appreciated in different countries.  She gave lectures at international conferences and did workshops.  She wrote the book ‘La Conciencia del Exito y el Arte de Renacer’, first edition in Spanish in 1999;  the first edition in English came out in 2001 ‘Breathing the Rhythm of Success’ – Reflections and Exercises to transform your daily experience into a celebration of life, and first edition in Turkish ‘Basarinin Ritmini Solumak’ in 2006.

It was on the occasion of one of these international conferences in Spain that she met her future husband, an Englishman born in Cyprus.  Michael de Glanville had his base in the South of France working in the same field of personal development but more focused on bodywork.

“It was worthwhile to have waited that long in my life to meet the right man, and he is my right man. I moved to Cyprus to live with Michael in the house he had renovated on the north shore close to the sea. We got married in 2003. My sister Layla is continuing our work in Caracas and my mother is still there but both come visiting regularly. It took a while to get to know the people of Cyprus but they are very similar to my kind, open and friendly. Together with Michael we founded Kayana Ltd.  (Personal and Organizational Sustainable Development).

Besides being available for private sessions at her comfortable studio in Çatalköy, she also lectures at the ‘Management Centre of the Mediterranean’ in Nicosia, and she follows invitations for lectures. The list of successful treatments is long. I personally know of five people who have changed their life style, their beliefs and feel the celebration of life. 

In her friendly open art, she makes people feel at home, including myself, and you let go of the defence work that you have built up so carefully. This may be one of the things she is teaching: to let go and to smile.

During our work for this interview, Viola and Michael agreed to contribute a regular column in Cyprus Observer to share their knowledge in the field of self-development with the readers. Should you have questions write to Cyprus Observer or contact Viola directly.








Mom Rosa with daughters Viola and Layla in Beirut
Mom Rosa with daughters Viola and Layla in Beirut

Viola aged 13 years, the time she arrived in Caracas
Viola aged 13 years, the time she arrived in Caracas

Viola Edwards and the colour scheme
Viola Edwards and the colour scheme

Viola Edwards at the launch of her book
Viola Edwards at the launch of her book

Viola during the interview
Viola during the interview

Viola during the interview
Viola during the interview

Viola with Leonard Orr, the founder of Breathwork and Rebirthing
Viola with Leonard Orr, the founder of Breathwork and Rebirthing

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