“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” ― Christopher K. Germer


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We hear it talked about a lot, don’t we: “beating the blues”. There are a growing number of articles appearing in the papers and online discussing ways in which we can fight our way back to good health during these cold and dreary winter months. That out there, somewhere, there’s a quick fix that will cascade sunshine through your bones and the whole world will feel right again.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stop fighting against that which we find unpleasant and uncomfortable in life, and instead find ways to be open, loving and accepting of our experiences instead, no matter how difficult our minds may perceive them to be?

This may seem easier said than done, but that’s where mindfulness training really comes in handy.

Training in mindfulness encourages us to observe our experiences – our emotions, thoughts and sensations in the body – with a sense of openness, acceptance and without getting caught up in the age-old habit of judging what’s going on for us. And as we progress through certain tasks - like yoga, pilates, reiki & meditation for starters - we learn arguably one of the biggest life-lessons necessary during our time on this planet: self-compassion.

The daily practices we engage in during mindfulness training move us closer towards developing a kind, friendly and nurturing relationship with oneself. Research shows that as our level of self-compassion grow, so does our overall psychological well-being. We experience a notable increase in happiness, life satisfaction and emotional resilience, as well as a significant boost in optimism.

Now, we know it’s all about putting the theory into practice – so we’ve spoken to the individuals that are at the forefront of the wellbeing industry in Liverpool & ask them about their own personal journeys, and the tips they'd give on how to get stuck into giving yourself that much needed TLC. Prepare to be inspired.

Robin Ellis – Yin Yan Yoga

Ambling around town, you might see Robin now again with his hound Carter. A chartered surveyor for 20 years, letting offices and managing assets for commercial landlords, 2 years ago he set up YinYan – a wellbeing company that works with landlords to create inspiring places that help people & business thrive. He’s passionate that if you get the environment right for people, it’s inevitable that success follows on the balance sheet.

We asked Robin what was the turning point – what made him head out into the world of wellbeing & yoga? And what is it about practicing that he loves now? This is what he had to say:

10 years ago I started getting chronic back pain, which got steadily worse and eventually lead to mental health problems – I felt like a dead man walking. I went through the recommended treatments – physio, tablets, pilates etc., and ended up having surgery through my front to put an artificial disc in my spine. It didn’t really work though, just replaced old pains with new ones!

The things that changed my life were meditation & yoga. Initially I thought yoga was a bit of a con as I’d tried a class which made my back worse. However, once I found the right class I literally bounced out wondering why I hadn’t been exposed to the right mentality earlier – it’s irrelevant how flexible or strong you are, if you practice with the right attitude and start working with your body instead of against it, you can’t fail.

I want to use my experience to help people avoid the problems I had, so YinYan provide ways to feel good at work – we do yoga, pilates, talks, workshops and we’ve just started the YinYanBand, a beginner-friendly ukulele sing-a-long group which is awesome fun!

People don’t tend to get excited about going to their workplace, but through YinYan we can change that! And it works for landlords too – I used to let empty offices so I know they’re there and smart landlords want added amenities to help with marketing, CSR and engagement – it’s win win!

You never stop learning and afterwards you always feel better – even though sometimes it can be an effort to get onto the mat! When you practice there’s no phone, no overflowing inbox or whatever – you’re in the moment, just doing what feels right for you and focusing on yourself; it’s just the real you.

Any tips on how people can ween it in amongst their busy lives?

@yinyanuk #clinicalpilates #officepilates #liverpool #icancometoyouroffice 😉

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Firstly – make a plan! Research a class that will meet your needs and identify a regular slot in your diary, treat it in the same way as you would a doctor’s appointment i.e. not something you ignore because you’ve got a few emails to do! Commit for 6-8 weeks, then you’ll have a basic understanding of if it will help and it’ll be easier to keep up as you’ve made it a habit.

Secondly - stop saying “I’m too busy”, it’s the grown up equivalent of the dog ate your homework! EVERYBODY has things to do but ‘busy-ness’ is a state of mind and it’s too easy to use as an excuse. Instead try saying “it’s not a high enough priority at the moment to make time” – better to be honest (with yourself at least) before you let yourself off the hook, especially for something as important as your health.

Finally, know that the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in yoga or pilates is walk through the door to your first class – after that you’ll wonder what you were worried about and why you didn’t start sooner.

Yin Yan holds regular yoga, pilates & ukulele sessions with their friendly & professional teachers across Liverpool City Centre – everybody is welcome to join! Take a look at www.yinyan.co.uk or call them on 0151 236 7620 for more info. 

Christine Vaudrey 

Working in regeneration for over 18 years, Christine is currently Head of International for the International Business Festival. Responsible for promoting the festival overseas and attracting delegations of buyers, investors, suppliers and innovators to the Festival in June - she's also somewhat of a dark horse out of hours - by night she's a yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner.

How did your wellbeing journey start?

I ran for the City of Liverpool as a sprinter for over 10 years and was training hard in the hopes that one day I would be in the Olympics. Unfortunately, due to a knee injury I was advised to stop running and look into other options which has less impact on the joints. I had heard yoga was good for healing so joined a class one night at my local gym and was hooked straight away!

My first experience of yoga was an Ashtanga style of class, which is quite challenging but I loved the mix of being physically challenged and the feeling of bliss at the end of class. This led me to attend more classes and workshops and try out various types of yoga. I also loved the philosophy behind yoga and immersed myself into the associated scriptures and spiritual benefits of the practice. I think I was lucky to start my yoga journey with fantastic teachers such as Chris Norman and Debbie Radcliffe and many of the other students I practiced with during that first class are still great friends.

I've now been practicing for over 16 years and decided to train as a yoga teacher around 7 years ago. I visit India each year to further my training and also attend workshops and seminars to ensure I maintain my knowledge base and enhance my understanding further.

Probably my favourite part of practicing is the asana (physical) practice. I really enjoy it & the challenges that it brings up physically, emotionally and mentally and the fact that every time I step on the mat it creates a new experience. Whilst I am confident enough with a home practice, I really love the community aspect of a yoga class and the energy it generates. Yoga has so many amazing benefits but I love the state of mind it provides at the end, which is a complete feeling of contentment, liberation, bliss and peace. It always fascinates me how the mix of emotions yoga stirs up reflect life off the mat, at that moment in time.

Yoga has given me strength both physically and mentally, especially where there are any negative situations or attachments that I don’t need.

Breathing practices such as pranayama and meditation are excellent coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety and I believe everyone should be equipped with these from an early age in order to cope with life situations that can often lead to mental health issues.  

Give us some tips! 

Come to a class and try it! If that is not doable then dedicating 10 minutes a day to sitting in a quiet space and practising focussed breathing will have so many benefits! Yoga can be as simple or as challenging as you make it but it’s important that people understand that the true essence of yoga is purely about finding peace of mind!  

Christine teaches at Planet Yoga on Smithdown Road at 6pm on Tuesday evenings, the Rotuna ABC in North Liverpool on Fridays & Saturdays and until recently, she taught at Yoga Hub and White Wolf Yoga based in the city centre (which she highly recommends!). Take a look onlineif you're interested in attending any of her classes. 

The Wellbeing Campus

Mindfulness and self-compassion lie at the heart of everything that those at The Wellbeing Campus do, which is why the principles of yoga and meditation form an integral part of their service. In previous years, The Campus have worked primarily with mental health service users and have gathered a great deal of evidence demonstrating how wonderfully transformative this approach is in helping people to overcome their struggles with anxiety, depression and periods of overwhelming stress.

Their aim now is to make their services widely accessible to the rest of the Liverpool City region. Every week in Britain, 1 in 6 adults experience a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression and 1 in 5 adults has considered taking their own life at some point.

You can find The Wellbeing Campus sessions in Liverpool every Monday Lunchtime at Love Thy Neighbour on Bold Street from 12:15. Self Help book club at Love Thy Neighbour is also on every other Tues evening frin 6.30pm. No need to book, just turn up!

Take a look on their Facebook for more information. 

Happiness doesn’t mean perfection, nor can it be attained from external factors in the long-term. Like many things, it begins internally. Be patient with yourself, do the things that make you feel on top of the world and ask for help if you need it - the rest will follow.

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