Mindfulness Sessions at Yoga on the Lane
For the past three weeks, Circle Collective trainees and job coaches have been attending a weekly mindfulness session at a fantastic location close to our Dalston social enterprise store. We’re really pleased to report that our trainees have been finding these sessions helpful in reducing some of the effects of stress and anxiety on their daily lives, and we’re keen to share this positive news and to encourage more people to try it.
Strolling down to Dalston’s Yoga on the Lane studio you experience the typical London buzz: busy roads filled with traffic and busy people bustling from A to B. From just this brief walk, it becomes easier to understand how difficult it must be for young people to face this atmosphere during times of uncertainty (like travelling to and from interviews), often without access to a safe space in which they can breathe and escape.
Working in such an inclusive community and facing such a dramatic increase in new trainees experiencing forms of stress or anxiety, we at Circle want to take every opportunity to offer holistic methods of managing these symptoms and ultimately improving the quality of life for young people across London. As their website states, Yoga on the Lane has become a Dalston institution, a refuge from the hurly burly, a space to breathe, but most of all a place of community where yogis of all stripes can get together to move mindfully, relax and restore. This was the kind of space Circle trainees needed, and so we took the opportunity to partner with this wonderful organisation straight away.
Each Monday session was around an hour and a half long, and our trainees learnt an impressive amount about the mind and body for a relatively short space of time. Instead of simply teaching breathing exercises and stretches, which is closer to yoga than mindfulness practise, teacher Anna went into some depth about why the body does what it does when we are faced with triggers or moments we find difficult to cope with.
Learning about The Stress Response - from the initial source of threat, to the physical alarm bells this sets off in the body, to the stress hormones released throughout the brain in these moments of panic – allowed our trainees to regain some confidence and even control over themselves, because it reduces fear and uncertainty when anxiety starts to take effect on the body.
With this information in mind, trainees were then asked to try some simple breathing exercises to connect their bodies with their minds. By placing feet flat on the floor and really tuning in to the rhythm of our breathing, we can achieve a greater sense of control over these fight or flight responses - responses which can be so scary when they appear seemingly from nowhere.
In the days following these sessions we have had trainees reporting better sleeping patterns and ease of drifting off to sleep, along with a reduction in the more extreme effects of anxiety on their daily lives. For us all here at Circle this reflects a resounding success of the trail sessions. We will begin implementing the mindfulness techniques learnt, and we truly hope to provide more young people with access to these holistic methods of support.
To sign off we will leave you with a brilliant piece of wisdom learnt from our mindfulness coach:
‘Often much of our sense of stress is kept alive by thoughts like “what if this happens...” or running over how badly something might have gone in the past. Mindfulness is a practise that invites us to really sense into what we are feeling, rather than thinking, here and now’.