You know that awesome yoga filled weekend I had a few weeks ago? Well this post is all about the Sunday yoganess that happened.
Sunday morning, it's 9am and I find myself making my way to Central London to attend a 'Yoga for bloggers' workshop being hosted by the lovely people at Simplyhealth.
Side note: my goodness, Sunday morning travel up to Oxford Street beats Monday mornings travel anyday. Ass whooping. And the streets, oh they were empty and it was divine!
So back to the point...Simplyhealth specialise in affordable private health care plans and they've partnered with Backcare UK to develop an incredible app to help us look after our backs better. What better way to create awareness than invite a group of lovely lifestyle, fitness and health bloggers to an event all about back care?!
According to new research, a massive 84% of 18-24 year olds have admitted to suffering some incidence of back pain in the last 12 months and what's mad about all this is that I wasn't surprised by that statistic at all. Not one bit. I've had so many conversations with my friends, family and work colleagues about back pain because it seems like most people in my life struggle with it just as much as I do. Back pain is the reason I started practising yoga in the first place!
The Back Care App allows users to record and input information about their back pain and offers exercises, information, videos and even hints and tips to help you start to move with more ease, monitor your pain and help your back pain. I had a real good play around on the app before the workshop and I really found it useful and super easy to use. Definitely worth a download guys especially as for every download, Simplyhealth will donate £1 to the BackCare charity, which provides information and support to people affected by back pain. Win win!!
So back to talking about the workshop now...once we arrived at the Danceworks studio we all had a bit of a mingle, introduced ourselves and had a good old natter before the fun began! Our super knowledgable instructor Colin came and spoke to us all individually before the morning session to remind us that he was there for us to take and steal as much information from him as we could possibly manage! The guy has over 20 years of experience in yoga and working with back pain so this was an opportunity I wasn't about to pass up!
After our natter we all settled down on our mats for a 20 minute conscious breathing exercise. My kinda heaven. This may sound totally weird but breathing is one of my favourite exercises, even as much as moving my body around my mat! Colin guided us through how to breathe nice and deeply whilst being aware of the points of contact between our bodies and the floor. We added some gentle movements to get the spine moving and after the 20 minutes whizzed past we all sat up to talk about our experiences. It was amazing to see how everyones excitement from arriving had been replaced by a grounded sense of calm. Oh the wonders of breathing!
Next up we explored our posture and how we stand. We explored some simple exercises and movements that helped to discover how we can adjust our posture to minimise pain. Always being so tall has meant that throughout my life I've slouched to make myself seem shorter. I do this by shifting my weight between my feet instead of distributing it evenly, standing up tall and proud. I even noticed how I place more weight into the inner edges of my feet which also shifts my posture in the wrong way too. All of these little discoveries were fascinating and so useful to my yoga practise. My mountain pose probably looks no different from how it did before this workshop but it feels tonnes different in my body.
After exploring a few twists and learning how to protect our backs in forward bends you could just tell that everyone in the room was benefitting from the class and having a great time. Personally, my favourite aspect of the workshop was the way that after every exercise we came together as a group to talk about how we were feeling in our bodies and the benefits of the exercises we were doing. Colin was a fantastic teacher and really taught us the importance of looking after our backs in a way that was right for us as individuals.
The biggest lesson I learnt? To remain present within my body as much as I can. Habits like slouching when standing, leaning forward when sitting at the desk, not taking many breaks to move my body throughout the day...all of these things can really creap up and cause me pain if I'm not careful. Awareness, kindness, movement! Got it!
Thank you so much for the fantastic workshop Simplyhealth!!
All pictures kindly provided by the lovely team at SImplyhealth.
You can find the Simplyhealth BackCare App here.