MANSTRESS is very keen to give any charity a platform where they can promote the amazing and tireless work that they are doing within their communities. The lives of hundreds of individuals around the country are being changed and improved dramatically because there are small dedicated groups working with restricted budgets, providing valuable help to some of the most vulnerable.
I had the pleasure recently to meet Helen Baldry from Norwich-based St Martin’s Housing, a charity which is simply doing amazing work, with amazing individuals.
As an organisation, St Martin’s is running a whole host of workshops that provide a safe and focused environment where individuals can regain or learn new skills that for many reasons they have lost or never explored.
In the case of David, through St Martin’s, he discovered the virtues of yoga and mindfulness, two time proven activities that will help those (most of us) address the crazy thoughts and beliefs that are destroying lives. What? Because of various sabotaging programmes that sit in the depth of our sub-conscious, can only be addressed when the mind is calm and relaxed.
David discovered yoga at Under 1 Roof and he has noticed a positive change in his anxiety levels and mental health.
Under 1 Roof is a training and development centre for homeless people, run by homelessness charity St Martin’s.
In his own words, this is David’s story.
“Back in the spring of 2013 I was advised by my probation officer to attend Under 1 Roof to learn some I.T. skills and gain access to an email address. I started attending the Tuesday basic I.T. class and I achieved those aims. Whilst doing the computer training I became aware of a yoga class taking place at Tuesday lunchtime, but never gave it another thought. I continued with the training and became more curious as to what this “yoga” was all about”.
“I have always been interested in keeping fit and I was and still go regularly to the gym. A mate who I met at computers attended the yoga every week and eventually persuaded me to give it a go. This was spring 2014. I went along thinking I would be sitting crossed legged humming. How wrong I was. The whole experience was great, lots of movement, a challenge to my mind and body, and most important to me, a reduction in my anxiety levels”.
“As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic I look out for any tools which will help me on my journey towards my aim which is contentment. After a while I started attending other yoga classes as well as the Under 1 Roof class and started noticing progress both physically and mentally. In most things we do in life we judge and are being judged all the time. I found the yoga environment different. The atmosphere in all the classes was calm and relaxed, but full of energy. A real challenge, but not a competition. Just gradual progress. I now do several classes a week and have taken up the Mindfulness classes that are also available at Under 1 Roof. Both practices complement each other as learning breathing techniques is the key. Since then I have noticed my anxiety is much lower and my general mental health is much more under control. I am 100% convinced that yoga has played a huge part in achieving this. I strongly recommend it to everyone who has mental health issues. Why not give both yoga and mindfulness a go, after all, what have you got to lose?”
Individuals who are struggling will find themselves being increasingly isolated and this will unfortunately allow their minds to play tricks with their thought, beliefs and consequent behaviours. Everyone of us is amazing but due to a quirk of nature many amazing individuals are really struggling to feel anything other than unwanted and alone. For men, historically we have been told that to show any kind of weakness is a weakness and so we are left to address problems in silence…and this is destroying lives…because this is not how it was meant to be.
I would urge anyone who is struggling to throw away the ridiculous macho misinformation handed down from previous generations and seek help, through either organisations like St Martin’s or if you feel uncomfortable talking face to face, write about your experiences on this safe, non-judgemental site…you could find it extremely cathartic and start your journey to a better future..
And finally if you are running or have been involved in similar organisations to St Martins, please feel free to tell your story on this platform.