Matthew Munson: A time in the week to just stop…

Yoga and meditation

A few years ago, if you’d have asked me what I thought about yoga and meditation, I’d have probably been quite dismissive. I’m glad to have been educated out of that view and it’s all thanks to a bad back.

I have a fracture on three of my vertebrae and, short of risky surgery, there wasn’t anything that could be done, except to strengthen the muscles surrounding the vertebrae to reduce the risk of damaging the fracture any further.

So, to cut a long story rather short, I ended up going to physio where it was suggested I try a Pilates class that was being offered at the hospital. When my 6 weeks were up, the teacher approached me and invited me onto a private Pilates class. I was surprised to find myself eager to continue.

A different challenge

After a few months, however, I felt that I had gone as far with it as was good for me. I suspected that I needed a different challenge. It was then that someone suggested yoga – low-impact, highly effective, and thoroughly enjoyable.

It’s always a fateful decision, to try something new, isn’t it? Would I have gone along to a yoga class if I hadn’t already tried pilates? Probably not. One Thursday evening, I therefore took a short stroll, with a friend of mine, along to the Yoga-is studios in Broadstairs.

I then met Glenys and Alan for the first time, a lovely couple who have been studying and teaching yoga for more years than they will admit to – because they’re not the type to brag. However long it’s been, it shows; their expertise, ability, patience, and humour all shine through and I immediately felt connected to something bigger than just myself. It felt like a large family of sorts and I really enjoyed myself from day one.

For the last few months, I’ve not been able to go, but I’m already planning to resume a class every week; in a different format, because that works for me. A friend and I will be doing some yoga together every Tuesday evening, and I’m excited about starting again.


With the classes at Yoga-Is, there is a short meditation period at the end of the class, and this made me particularly interested in the field of mindfulness. Again, it’s not something I ever considered doing, but found myself really enjoying that part of the class; it gave me a sense of stillness that I began to really value.

As a result, myself and a few friends decided to set up our own little “class.” We started off with one of the group leading us, but then her own commitments meant that she had to pull away. But the remaining number have remained a solid group ever since.

What’s interesting is that, in a short gap we’ve recently experienced, I’ve realised how much I miss the weekly meditation we do. So we’ve been able to resurrect the class and plan to start again at the beginning of April, with some familiar and some new faces; a small group of four will be kick-starting the class, and we’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing hour every week.

It’s good to be able to find time in a busy week to stop and focus on what you’re feeling and experiencing. If you can do that around a group of friends as well, then even better!