Become a Mental Health First Aider

I am very happy to be able to offer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England courses both in person and online.

With the current mental health crisis caused by the pandemic it’s vital that we take as many steps as we can to protect our loved ones, work colleagues and of course ourselves.

Internationally recognised MHFA England courses are the only licensed Mental Health First Aid courses in the country and are designed not only to give you the tools to respond to a mental health crisis just as you would a physical one but to notice the early warning signs and respond accordingly. Mental health conditions are treatable and recovery is always possible and likely. The likelyhood of a full and speedy recovery increases massively when caught early on so it’s really important to have the ability to act. MHFA isn’t therapy and we’re not there to diagnose but to have the tools and confidence to support and assist those suffering to get the help they need.

Please see this short video for more information on MHFA and also go to the MHFA section on my website for more information and to book a course.

The course is valued at £300 but I’m offering the online training at a special discount of £230. There are only 16 participants in each training session so book now.

NOIREFITFEST2020

I’m very happy to be taking part in NoireFitFest this evening at 6.15 where I’ll be taking part in a panel discussing mental health in the Black community.

NOIREFITFEST is dedicated to changing the face of fitness. Creating a platform of visibility for Black fitness experts & the black community.

Please see below for links to some of the information I’ll be sharing but please tune in and be a part of the discussion if you can, we can make a change!

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/b/black-asian-and-minority-ethnic-bame-communities

https://www.bitc.org.uk/fact-sheet/black-asian-and-minority-ethnic-bame-women-mental-health-and-covid-19/

Dr Robert Carter & Associates – Race Based Stress & Trauma Injury (RBSTI)

Runneymede Trust – 7 Actions to Change the History Curriculum

USEMI – Black counselling – all boroughs

Oasis – Black led counselling in Lambeth & Southwark

Dr Gail Parker – Restorative Yoga for Ethinc & Race Based Stress & Trauma

Mind in Haringey

My YouTube channel

Is it safe to have massages now?

The government has allowed massage to take place for some time now and triyoga have gone above and beyond what’s legally required to ensure that both client and therapist are as safe as possible.

Many people have reported aching necks/shoulders & backs from poor ergonomics at their home office, wrist and hip pain are also common symptoms clients have mentioned.

Some find that even though they’re working from home they’re actually working longer hours, juggling all the usual family & home life commitments whilst spending hours & hours in front of the computer.

Add to that immobility due to lack of exercise and stress from being cooped up, worrying about covid and financial concerns, it’s fair to say that people have been under an incredible amount of not only physical but mental and emotional stress.

So yes, it is safe to get a massage and the more relaxed you are the better your immune system works (see my blog on yoga, massage & immunity).

Now is the time to refocus on your health and wellbeing and make self-care and getting regular treatments part of your monthly routine.

The Mental Health Emergency

The Mental Health Emergency is a study published by leading mental health charity Mind in June 2020 which looks specifically at the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, and the results are terrifying.

It found that 60% of adults and 58% of young people reported worse mental health.

Young people and those with existing mental health problems were worse affected.

57% of adults and 53% of young people with no prior experience of mental health problems had a lower than average mental health score.

44% young people & 44% of adults have not or rarely felt relaxed during lockdown.

Adults reported concerns about being unable to see friends and family, anxiety about friends/family catching coronavirus, not being able to go out, feeling bored and restless, anxiety about themselves catching coronavirus.

The top five concerns for young people that made their mental health worse were feeling bored/restless, not being able to see friends, not being able to go outside except for essential reasons, feeling lonely and feeling anxious about family or friends getting coronavirus.

The top five positive coping strategies used by adults were connecting with friends or family online, watching TV or films, spending time outside, doing household chores (e.g. cooking and cleaning) & listening to music or the radio.

The top five positive coping strategies used by young people were connecting with friends or family online, watching TV or films, spending time outside, listening to music or the radio and going on social media.

What strikes me about almost all of these things is they are dependant on external gratification and so the chances of disappointment are really high.

When everything around you in life is so uncertain now is the time to start a yoga, meditation & mindfulness practice.

Find something that gives you a sense of inner calm and connection, be your own anchor in a stormy sea.

If you’re struggling with mental health please contact your GP and for further help contact your local Mind or Rethink.

I teach regular yoga for mental health and mindfulness & meditation classes at Mind In Haringey and have uploaded a special yoga for mental health follow along video on my Youtube Channel which you can see below and you can also find other practices on my channel which may be of help during these turbulant times.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga

I’m pleased to announce a 3.5 hour online workshop on trauma sensitive yoga this weekend 10-1.30 for Central Wellness Lincoln.

This workshop will cover theory but will also be practical and is drawn from both my training in and my years of experience working as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist in the mental health and addiction field.

My goal is to give you enough understanding of the theory behind trauma and the practical tools to be able to feel comfortable working with those suffering from trauma and to also make your general classes trauma sensitive so that everyone in the community can practice safely and enjoy the benefits of a yoga practice.

The cost of the workshop is just £35, I hope you can join us.

triyoga opens this week!

I have two new classes at triyoga as their schedule has had to change because of the Covid guidelines. My first class back is in triyoga Shoreditch this Thursday at 12.45-2pm which sold out almost immediately. The good news is that you can still join in online via zoom! I’ll also be teaching another new class in Camden on Wednesday 5th of August 9.30-10.45, this will sell out too so be quick but again you can join via zoom as you can with all triyoga’s classes.

Both classes are vinyasa flow and suitable for all levels.

I’ve cut down my therapy work at triyoga and you can find me in Shoreditch on Mondays 10.30-2pm and Camden Wednesdays and Fridays 5-9pm. Due to cleaning in between clients I will have even less availability so book in nice and early. My first day back for massage is this Friday at 5pm and I still have a space left.

Look forward to seeing you on the couch, on the mat, or online.

Freedom in Isolation

I’m finding it hard sitting here writing this, I feel I should come out with some words of wisdom or advice.  This whole thing is so enormous and so terrifying it’s difficult to put it into perspective.

The fear of falling ill, of loved ones becoming sick, the fear of financial ruin and the fear of loneliness and isolation are very real for many people including myself.

I’ve spent the last twenty years practicing self-cultivation, many hours spent alone in meditation, studying philosophy, psychology, martial arts and of course practicing yoga.

I feel so grateful for this now as I have a great relationship with my family and with myself.  I know who I am, what I’m about, what I want and what I need.  I have many interests and hobbies to occupy my time and when I don’t, I’m happy to be alone and enjoy silence.

Many people at this time will struggle with this.  The sick, the vulnerable, people already struggling financially and those who are already isolated will suffer greatly.  Even those who on the surface appear to have a great life filled with exciting activities, full work schedule, activities with friends and family all nicely structured and ordered, may now find that they don’t have the great relationship they thought they had with their kids and partners.  They may now feel anxious or angry that they can’t play golf, go to the gym, go and see friends in the pub or get to that yoga class.  They may find now that the things that have so far kept them happy and fulfilled are useless and they are left feeling empty and scared.  This will be hard for us all.

This is the time to dig deep into your inner resources and find out what you’re really about and to find the joy in just being.  

We’re lucky that we live in this electronic age and that there’s so much available on the web to help us.  I will, as promised to the clients I teach there, be posting some of the practices from my classes at Mind in Haringey and Rethink on my YouTube channel, I hope that some of these help.

Please try this Yoga Nidra for sleep, pop some earbuds in and listen to it when you’re in bed and ready for sleep.  Even if you don’t think you have problems with sleep, try it for five days in a row and notice any changes in how you feel, you may be pleasantly surprised!

As worrying as this situation is…

…it will pass.

Boosting immunity with yoga and massage

People are quite rightly worried about the Coronavirus and at this time we really need to ensure our immune system is as strong as possible. Time and again massage, yoga and other mind body therapies such as mindfulness and meditation have been shown to boost immunity and reduce inflammation.

In a recent review of clinical research on 15 randomised controlled trials specifically on whether yoga practice could strengthen the immune system and reduce chronic inflammation, scientists found that yoga has a promising anti-inflammatory effect on the body and that yoga practice may exert further beneficial effects by enhancing cell-mediated and mucosal immunity (1).

Various studies on massage have shown that natural killer cells and natural killer cell activity (cytotoxicity) have increased following moderate pressure massage (2)(3).

Natural killer cells are noted to ward off viral cells, bacterial cells and cancer cells.

Massage stimulates pressure receptors under the skin which increase vagal activity. This produces a parasympathetic (relaxation) response which reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and thereby saves immune cells in as much as cortisol kills immune cells (4).

So the more stressed we are the weaker our immune response is, it’s as simple as that.

It’s great to have these scientific studies to back up what we already know…Yoga and massage make us feel good!

We’re all fully aware by now that we have to follow simple rules such as washing our hands thoroughly, avoid touching our faces and sneeze or cough into a tissue.

If you’re feeling unwell, get plenty of rest as sickness is your bodies way of telling you to slow down so listen to it. Check out my YouTube channel for Yoga Nidra and restorative practices you can try at home.

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29429046

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16884341/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15256294/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19283590/

Mind In Haringey – Yoga, Meditation & Mindfulness

My new yoga class has proven to be very popular and I now have a meditaton and mindfulness class too.
In this class we explore the breath, mindfulness techniques, self massage and of course meditation, you dont need to do any stretches or wear any special clothing and this class is generally done seated although you can lie down if you want.
triyoga have very generously donated some yoga mats and we hope to get some more props soon so that we can have a restorative class in the near future.
If you’d like to attend please contact Mind in Haringey and self refer.
They have lots of other activities there too so check out the timetable, even if you want to just have a cup of tea and a natter you can do that too!