Yoga: mind and body

Jeanette Iles, Retirement Community Manager and Julia Jones from our Westbury Fields  Day Care service are now yoga aficionados and are keen to share with us the benefits their practice is having on their minds and bodies.

Jeanette and members of her team are currently completing the well-being challenge and regular yoga practice is one of the pledges Jeanette and Julia have made to themselves.

Other than trying yoga once on holiday – when she giggled all the way through it – Jeanette had never given yoga much thought.  It was only after she fractured her shoulder, broke her hand, her ankle plus had a pelvic injury (she self-identifies as ‘accident prone’) that she found exercise and mobility were becoming difficult.  She inevitably started to put on weight and felt she needed to do something to address her core strength.

Julie tells us “I’ve always been of an anxious nature and found it quite difficult to relax generally. I did try a yoga class some years ago , but the person running the class seemed to be drawn to me and kept using me as an example to others in the class demonstrating different moves!  As you can imagine for someone who’s least favourite thing is to be the centre of attention I quickly decided it wasn’t for me.”

2017 brought about a lot of change to Julia’s life, which prompted her to try something that would benefit her physical and mental well-being.  “Jeanette and I both wanted to join an exercise class of some kind, we just weren’t sure what. When we looked into it, Flowing Yoga, seemed to tick the boxes for both of us.”

They soon found a ‘Flowing Yoga’ class locally and Jeanette and Julia went on a taster session.  Twelve months later, they’re both converts.

The emphasis of the class is around strength, balance, relaxation and mindfulness.  They concentrate on breathing and ways to cool you down and relax – “you go into a kind of drifting zone and sleep really well that night” says Jeanette.

Their instructor is motivating and checks that people are getting the best benefit safely throughout the class.  People do things at their own pace and although they’re in a group, there’s no feeling that anyone’s comparing themselves with each other.  The class includes a wide mix of ages – from 25 to 75.

Now Jeanette and Julia go to yoga every Monday and do some in their own time.  Jeanette says yoga has improved her back aches and pains.  She says: “it’s tightened my stomach muscles a heck of a lot and improved general fitness – when we go out walking I can easily walk five to six miles without getting tired or feeling aches and pains.  It is sort of addictive – but that’s not damaging to my body. It may be coincidental but haven’t fallen in ages!”

Both Jeanette and Julia enjoy having Yoga to look forward to, “it’s a positive start to a new week” says Julia.   “The stretches have helped to improve my flexibility and, because many of the exercises  focus on areas that are prone to tension, it’s definitely helped to reduce my levels of stress.”  While Jeanette loves the stretches, Julia’s favourite part is the deep relaxation and mindfulness, “I really lose myself during this part and don’t really want it to end. I’ve found myself utilising the breathing techniques more and more naturally in my day to day life.”

Thanks for sharing your stories Jeanette and Julia – we hope this motivates others to give yoga a try.  And, well done to the Care and Support Westbury Fields group, who are all motivating each other to get the best out of the Trust-wide Well-being Challenge.


If you’d like to try out yoga, there are now a number of classes available online. You could give any of these options a go. 

Lee Scott currently has an instructor teaching YOGA for Be Military Fit Bristol. He’d like to offer this class to St Monica Trust employees for free until the lock-down is lifted.  Anyone who wants to take part will need to email him . The class is hosted by ZOOM so you will need to sign up to Zoom on your mobile device, laptop or PC.

See the poster here: