Walking with Men is a workshop run by men for men. This will be the second workshop within a series to be run this year, at The Secret Space. Our long term goal is to build a supportive community for men. The intentions of the workshops is to facilitate a safe space where men of all ages, and backgrounds can come together and share experiences of what it means to be a man in the modern world, the pressures on men in the 21st century and how we can be empowered to find our voice and identity. 

The inspirations behind putting together the workshops, came after an ITV campaign earlier this year. They erected 84 statues at the top of their headquarters, to represent how many men die from suicide each week in the UK. Our first workshop was a huge success where we had 12 men turn up, we realised that this workshop being only half a day, needed to be longer, so this is why we’re running this as a daylong event this time around.

More and more we’re starting to see the vital importance for men having a voice to speak out about mental health and the need to breakdown the old stigmas and social barriers that have been created.

A current campaign that is being run by “Mymanorlondon” which is prompting the statement “ Strong not silent” are making the message that it’s not ok to suffer in silence and that we must get behind men to speak out, is the essence of what we’re trying to follow.

With this week celebrating World Mental Health day never has there been a more significant time for everyone to get behind campaigns like “ Mymannorlondon and ours Walking with Men, to promote and encourage men to come forward and speak out.

In the first workshop we looked at the idea’s around “ man up”  & “boys don’t cry” old and now very outdated messages that many of the men at the workshop had received through either parenting, schooling and social influences.  It wasn’t surprising how the impact of these statements had on shaping men’s views on what it meant to be a man. 

We explored ways in which we as men, can start to change this culture by speaking out and challenge these views. Many of the guys now fathers themselves expressed, how they would ensure that they’re child was encouraged to speak out, be vulnerable and know that its ok for men  to struggle and that it’s important for them to be able to speak up about this.

We wanted to give the guys attending the first workshop a full range of different holistic therapies to try, we felt that when we was taking about how to run these workshops, we wanted guys to know that there are many angles in which they can access support for themselves.

Our workshops consist of group exercises and discussions, dynamic yoga and meditation, and a series of small talks from each facilitator, on why they see the importance of men having the opportunity to speak. The next workshop running in November will be co facilitated by Gary Aldridge, Adrian Dennis and Colin Davis. Austin Fenn, plus to add a different element we are lucky enough to have Leigh Keates a male hairdresser and one part of a small food business whom will be providing the food on the day and giving his perspective on the importance of men’s mental health.

A little about all the men involved with the next workshop

Gary Aldridge is an experienced counsellor, group facilitator and recently trained NLP practitioner, with a background of working in the field of addiction for the last 8 years, with a passion for supporting men through talking therapies.

Adrian Dennis is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner with 3 years’ experience in working with groups and individuals. Adrian is a firm believer that we have the ability and right to reach our full potential, and works in a positive way to assist clients in being the best they can be.

Austin Fenn worked as a plasterer for 25 years before training to be an integrative counsellor and changing his career at the age of 43. After further training in holistic therapies, including seated chair Indian head and Reiki massage.

Colin Davis is a yoga teacher with over 23 years’ experience and with a background of Martial arts massage and shiatsu. He is passionate about the power of yoga to improve physical and mental health and increase strength, stamina and flexibility.

Black Fig Café is the brainchild of a lorry driver and a male hairdresser with a mutual passion for all things food. We will be providing a prepared meal on the day. We bring our favourite foods from around the globe straight to our customer’s plates, using seasonal and sustainable local produce when and where ever possible.

Be it from our food truck, pop up tasting menus or kitchen takeovers Black Fig Café are committed to delivering food that never fails to impress. It’s very important to us that we give back our community so for every main meal we sell, a meal is generated for a local person in need.

Book a space here.

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Elly back bend 8.15

Our lovely Yoga teacher Elly is running a Yoga workshop here on the 12th September.

We spend most of our day in a forward bending position, shoulders and back rounded forwards. Its a position that re-enforcers a feeling of closing inwards and also has implications for the health of our back. Most children and young people are able to backbend easily. As we get older it becomes harder to back bend as we have spend so much of our time in a forward bending position. A healthy Spine needs to be flexible in all directions. We need to try a find a balance by bringing backbends into our daily practise. Practising backbends will help to strengthen the back and re-align the Spine. On an emotional level, backbends help to to increase confidence, compassion and openness.

This workshop is suitable for all levels as we will work with a variety of different backbends at different levels.

Eliane has been teaching Yoga for 10 years. She has managed her own serious back condition with regular yoga practise for nearly 20 years. Eliane is a versatile and enthusiastic teacher who has a keen interest in helping people find better health through Yoga.

£25 or £20 if booked before the 31st of August

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We chatted to Elly Codiroli, one of our yoga teachers here at The Secret Space, about hot yoga, what to expect from a class, and the potential benefits.
          Upright          elaine_cropped_bw 

How long have you been practising hot yoga?
I have been practising hot yoga for around 4 years. I find that the heat allows me to work deeper into the poses. After the class I feel rejuvenated and invigorated, like I’ve had a good workout and my body has really been cleansed.

What are the benefits of practising in the heat?
The hot environment allows for the body to be more open, and therefore allows for deeper work. Practising in the heat means the overall body temperature is raised. This means it is safer to work deeper into poses due to the joints being more lubricated, though it is important to stay aware of your personal ability and limitations. In the heat, you sweat a lot, which is great for detoxing and cleansing the body. It is harder working in a heated environment and therefore the cardiovascular system gets a good workout as it gets the heart working harder. Whilst all yoga practice leaves you feeling like you have worked hard, in the heat, the practice can feel even stronger. The focus is the same as in any other yoga class, so you get all the usual benefits of yoga as well.

  Hot_yoga    Becky hot yoga

What would you say to people who have never tried hot yoga before?
Try it!
It is common in hot classes for people to sit out and rest for a few minutes, or to leave the room. It is important to stay hydrated so make sure you bring water with you. Also be prepared to sweat!

Is hot yoga suitable for people completely new to yoga?
Yes, it is. However it would be best to try a gentler class to begin with as opposed a class like hot power yoga for example which is more challenging.

What should people wear to a hot class?
You will definitely sweat, so clothes you are comfortable in, and preferably ones that dry quickly. You can buy specialist quick dry clothing for practice in a hot environment but the main thing is you are comfortable, and the clothing allows for a full range of movement, same as in any other yoga class. It is also a good idea to bring a change of clothes for after the class to travel home in.

What should people bring to a hot class?
Water is a must. It is very important to stay hydrated. It is a good idea to have a towelling mat over the top of your yoga mat to help prevent slipping. At the Secret Space these are available to hire for hot classes for a nominal charge.

Are there any health conditions that would mean practising in a hot environment was not suitable?
Women who are pregnant should not practice in the heat, and any people with pre-existing heart or other health conditions should speak to their doctors, same as for any other form of new activity you take on.

                                            Group hot yoga

And finally is there anything else you would like to say about hot yoga?
Some people may be concerned about how hot it is in the room, and that it may feel claustrophobic, or constricting. It is actually the opposite. In a properly heated studio, the heat is not uncomfortable, and as already said, allows the body to open up more easily. It is however extremely important in a hot class that if you feel unwell in any way at all, for example if you feel dizzy or light headed, that you leave the room for a few minutes. We always have someone available outside the room in case people need to sit out for a short time. No form of yoga is a competition. It is about working with your body. It is especially important to stay very body aware in a hot class and be honest with yourself about your limits. As stated earlier, it is very common to sit out for a few minutes, or leave the room for a time during a hot class.
Following a class, it is important to replenish minerals, electrolytes and nutrients. When we sweat, we don’t just lose water, so some form of sports drink may be useful after a class to help keep everything in balance.
The other big benefit of hot yoga is the added emphasis on mindfulness and body awareness. Being encouraged to listen to your body even more, and pay attention to what you do and don’t need, and where your limits are, are extremely useful skills for all aspects of life. This increased awareness and active practice of coming into a centred place can help to decrease stress and increase focus.
We have hot yoga classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, as well as on Saturday mornings. For more information on our timetable or to book, please go here: Book Online Or call us on 01992 503141, or email info@thesecretspace.org.uk

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Reflexology - correct
Over the coming weeks, we will be adding blogs about all of the holistic therapies offered here at The Secret Space. First off, we have a little more information about reflexology.
What Is It?
Reflexology is based on the principle that reflexes in the feet and hands correspond to each organ/structure in the body, and are linked to these by energy channels, zones or meridians.
Reflexology is a pressure technique applied using the thumbs and fingers on these reflex areas. When illness, pain or disease occurs, the corresponding energy channels become blocked.
Reflexology works to balance/unblock the energy flow and induces relaxation. It can help improve circulation, boost effective functioning of the immune system and encourage relief of stress and tension, thus helping to bring all the systems of the body in to balance.
                                       reflex map

A Short History
There is evidence that therapies involving stimulation/massage/manipulation of the feet and hands
were being used as far back in history as 4000BC in China, Egypt and other Ancient cultures. 
Modern reflexology has its roots in zone therapy; linked with Dr William Fitzgerald (1872-1942).  This theory states that the body can be divided into ten longitudinal zones, five on each side of the body, and that applying pressure to certain points within these zones produced an anaesthetic effect on other parts of the body. 
Sir Henry Head (1861-1940) produced research regarding the principle of dermatomes, which stated that a dermatome is an area of skin supplied by nerves from one spinal root, and that loss of sensation in a particular area of skin corresponded with a problem with the nerve root it was linked to. He showed the correlation between diseased parts of the body and parts of the body that were sensitive when pressure was applied.  He found that healing processes could be encouraged by massaging painful areas. 
Sir Charles Sherrington (1861-1952) was a Nobel prize winner for his work “The Integrative Action of the Nervous System”.  His research included showing that nerves transmit signals around the body, and that they control/co-ordinate body functions.  He indicated that the brain, spinal cord and reflex pathways controlled bodily activity.
Dr William Fitzgerald investigated the application of pressure to specific sites to produce a pain relieving effect on other parts of the body.  His theory was of ten vertical zones of the body that ran from the head to either the toes or fingers.  He and his student, Dr Joe Shelby Riley, came up with a detailed diagram of the feet. Eunice Ingham (1889-1974) was Dr Riley’s assistant.  She further developed the zone therapy Fitzgerald/Riley had discovered.  She concentrated on working on the feet, inventing the Ingham Method and the term “reflexology”.  She mapped out more detailed diagrams of the feet, in terms of which parts of the body was linked to which areas on the feet.  She found that congestion/sensitivity in a reflex area on the feet corresponded to congestion/tension in the part of the body linked with that reflex.  She is deemed the mother of reflexology.
What To Expect
Upon arrival you will be asked to fill out a confidential consultation form, then the therapist will escort you to the treatment room. The only clothing that will be removed is shoes and socks. Generally you will be treated in a reclining chair. Music and lighting will be adjusted to your liking, and you will get a choice of oils. Treatment begins with a few relaxation techniques applied to both feet, and then reflexology is performed first on the right foot, and then on the left, followed by a few closing movements on each foot. After treatment, you will be given a glass of water, any relevant feedback, and an aftercare sheet.
Reflexology uses a holistic approach to health which means it treats the whole person, rather than just the symptoms. The holistic approach assures that all areas of compensation, stress and tension that may be present throughout the physical (and emotional) body are treated as well as the presenting symptom patterns. Potential benefits include deep relaxation, release of tension throughout the entire system, improved sleep, improved mood and an increased sense of well being.

Does it tickle?
No. Quite a firm touch is used and it is very uncommon for people to find the sensation ticklish.

Are there any times reflexology is not suitable?
Most conditions can be worked around. Anything contagious or infectious such as Athlete’s Foot is contraindicative to treatment, however in such cases, treatment could be given on the hands rather than the feet. If suffering with thrombosis/DVT then treatment is not advised, however once the condition is stabilised, then reflexology can go ahead with caution. Things like verrucae can be covered and worked around.

What should I do after treatment?
Relax! Listen to your body. Drink some water to support the body physically. Every person is unique and so is their reaction to treatment. Reflexology tends to bring you more into awareness, and so you may find you feel thirsty, or hungry for certain foods, or feel tired. Some people feel energised or recharged after treatment. It tends to be that the client will get whatever it is they themselves need from the session. Reflexology works with the body as a whole being, and facilitates the body to function at it’s best.

Our reflexologist Claire is available to treat most days of the week, including weekend and evening appointments. Please contact us on info@thesecretspace.org.uk or go here to book online: Book a treatment. Or you can contact Claire directly on 07564 905164.

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