About Me

Heather Shaughnessy-Cato, MA
Wholehearted LLC

Hello and welcome.

Navigating life’s ups and downs with compassion, wisdom and ease is my favorite topic to explore, study and teach.

I have had a portfolio of professional experiences, and have landed on focusing on my favorite things: coaching and teaching practices for compassion and embodied well-being.

I am an Integrative Health Coach; Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher; mindfulness and yoga teacher; Designing Your Life facilitator and coach; and am a parent, spouse, daughter, sister, auntie and friend.

I previously served as a staff therapist for college students at Vassar College, and worked in development and fundraising at UNC Charlotte, Discovery Place and the Charlotte Symphony in Charlotte, NC. I have a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a number of teaching and coaching certifications to support my work.

I draw from a range of evidence-based practices and wisdom traditions and enjoy sharing the context for these practices, and the science and research which support their efficacy. I also enjoy encouraging each client and participant to creatively engage in a process of self-discovery and growth, and to apply learnings to their lived experience while also honoring their values, worldview, and goals.

I continue to be inspired by the clients and students with whom I have worked — by the creative ways in which they applied wisdom teachings to get unstuck, to grow in their ability to love themselves, and to face life’s challenges with courage and resilience. 

Through my personal practice (with yoga and self-compassion, mindfulness, Life Design), I have an appreciation for varied challenges that present themselves along the path to transformation and change. I therefore tend to approach coaching and teaching with some humility, humor and an invitation to be honest about and learn from all of our experiences.

I am both a teacher and a perpetual student, and aim to create an inclusive and equitable environment in which we can engage in work that matters deeply — for our own well-being, and to support how we show up for others and for our communities.

My background

  • Small business owner of Wholehearted LLC
  • Small business co-owner of Fieldbrook Advising, offering facilitation for groups and organizations
  • Yoga teacher, 200 hour certification
  • Miindfulness teacher
  • Previously served as a therapist (while under supervision during licensure process in NY).
  • Previously served in Development and Fundraising roles within Higher Education and Arts & Culture.


  • M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Summa Cum Laude, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • B.A. in Psychology, B.A. in Sociology, State University of New York at Geneseo


  • Coaching Certifications through YogaMedCo
    • Integrative Health Coach
    • Well-being Coach
    • Yoga Coach (incorporating yoga and yoga philosophy into coaching)
    • Yoga Personal Training
  • Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher, trained through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and under the mentorship of Beth Mulligan.
  • Certified Designing Your Life Coach and Facilitator through the Designing Your Life Group
  • Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, 200 hour through Gates Yoga
  • Certificate in Mindfulness through the Nalanda Institute
  • Certified Wellness & Health Coach through Real Balance, offered by MaineHealth

Additional trainings:

In addition to the certifications noted above, I have engaged in a number of mind-body related trainings.

  • Compassion Based Resilience Training
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  • Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training
  • Trauma-Informed Children’s Yoga Training
  • Chair Yoga Teacher Training
  • Training on trauma and efficacy of mind-body practices with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
  • Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness Training, self-paced course by David Treleaven
  • 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Course (silent retreat)

I continue to participate in trainings for my own study and practice, and to infuse what I learn into my offerings.

Given the prevalence of trauma, I have engaged in these trauma-related trainings to make my teaching more accessible and inclusive. I have included these as background for my approach. I offer mind-body practices with inclusive options for practice however I do not offer trauma treatment or trauma therapies of any kind.

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