The Day I went on BBC Radio

But right now, around this time every week, we like to talk about how we can look after our mental wellbeing and just our well-being in general. Now, our next guest not only works with adults and children to help improve their fitness, but he also teaches them how to support their own mental health. Yes. We joined this morning by Mike Weeks, who is better known as Yoga Mike. Morning Mike.

Good morning!

Morning. Thanks for coming out and chatting to us this morning. And now I understand you run yoga classes for kids. Tell us all about those.

Yeah, sure. I mean, it all started out when I used to be a primary school teacher. So, I’ve always worked with children for a long, long time and I used to incorporate yoga into the school and I sort of saw real niche there and I thought there was a real need for children’s well-being, I think, more than ever now. And then I kind of left my teaching job and set up yoga in schools and that’s kind of what took off quite rapidly, to be honest. And I’ve got staff helping out and to reach as many children as possible in Teesside. Really that’s the goal.

I don’t doubt for one second that you’re not run off your face and very much busy and in demand. But I’m just thinking now, going from actually teaching and all the pressures from Ofsted and everything that comes with it, you actually doing this, you must be pretty zen’d out now, are you?

I’m getting there. Yeah, I remember when I first set up the business, I remember saying to a few friends, I’m doing less yoga than I’ve ever done before, which was sort of counterproductive. But I’ve managed to kind of take control of that again. And I think that happens in everyone’s lives. You can quite quickly get swept up in a lot of busy and before you know, months have passed and you haven’t been looking after your own wellbeing, you don’t always realise the signs I think.

Absolutely. And kids about I don’t do yoga, I’ve keep meaning to try and start doing a few bits I haven’t as of yet, but my daughter Darcy, she is seven and she often puts it on YouTube and there’s a Lady that does it to like Frozen and things like cartoony type things and she’s just taken to it like a duck to water. They love it don’t they?

There’s a huge response and certainly in schools and I teach some clubs over the summer and stuff as well, I tend to write my own stories because that’s what children engage with and they’re almost doing yoga and all these great things without almost realising it’s a type of exercise as well. And like you say, they just take to it and it’s just exploring and it’s just playing and doing different pauses. We do like superhero themed lessons and stuff as well.

So, it’s great and it can have just a massive effect on your life. Can’t it tell us talk us through the benefits of yoga?

Yeah, sure. I think some of the biggest benefits for me was just learning how to slow down a little bit. And I think people sometimes slowing down as being unproductive. People think you need to be busy and rushing around to get loads done. But actually, if you just take a step back, slow down and do things properly, you find you get a lot more done. So, it’s a bit of a paradox, really. But I think if you just learning to slow down, be in the moment a little bit more and be with people as well, because sometimes we rush to our lives and we say, Hi, people, how are you and we don’t really mean it, but taking time to connect with different people and especially since COVID I think we’ve lost a lot of that has been stripped away from us, so hopefully we can get that element back as well -that connection.

Absolutely it’s tougher than you think. Just to achieve that, that’s a real skill in itself. Talk us through your classes that you’re running for the kids at the Dorman and Museum then, because the sound brilliant.

Yeah certainly, so I am going to be doing them every Thursday and they’re for different age groups so there is a 5-7 group which would be great for your daughter and an 8-11 group as well. Each of those groups are going to be different themes every week so the first week is a dinosaur theme. We’re doing an Egyptian theme, an Australian theme and something about space as well at some point. So basically, we are teaching yoga but through different themes which I know children will engage with. So, we’re doing the Museum stuff and we have been very fortunate to get Lottery Funding as well do some full activity days in Middlesbrough and Stockton as well. They’re already filling up fast. Parents are on the look out for what they can do over the summer and restrictions pending we can accommodate good numbers as well.

Fantastic. I know we have talked a lot about the kids’ side of it. If anyone is interested in the kids or the adult side of it, how do they get in contact with you.

For adult stuff if you go on that’s my official name now, I guess. That’s the adult stuff including men’s mental health things. That’s a great project for getting men into yoga who may have never done it before. If you go on so well b-e-e kids dot com you can go on events and you can see the lottery one and the museum one that you mentioned as well and it would be great to see people there. Get children active and do something a little different over the holidays as well.

Absolutely. Go on! Get on the website. Thank you so much for chatting to us. Best of luck over the 6-weeks as well. Mike Weeks or Yoga Mike as he is known.

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