Mental Health Awareness Week is in May in the UK. We have increasing numbers of people suffering from bad mental health, or at least opening up about it. Bad mental health is not a good thing, but opening up is. It is the first step to fixing it. Mindlessly and continually scrolling through social media, with phone notifications going off 24/7, and this ‘always on’ connection to work can leave many of us over-stimulated throughout the day and our brains fried. You can become so used to mindlessly going about your day that you forget to check in with yourself, see how you are doing; you forget to be mindful.
Being mindful is being thoughtful, attentive, aware, and caring. So, we decided to put on a free event for Londoners, with two of the most mindful activities: yoga and climbing. Yoga is about mindfulness at its very core, aside from being a fantastic practice to help limber up and stretch your body. Climbing is also extremely mindful, because when you’re 12 metres up a wall, with sweaty hands and tired forearms, it’s pretty difficult to be thinking of anything else but holding on. For those reading this who are climbers you know what we mean. For those who haven’t climbed – we highly recommend it and after trying it, you will know what we mean.
Ascent and Asana was born
The event was hosted at Everyone Active Westway Sports and Fitness Centre, where the Westway climbing wall sits – one of the biggest and best in London. The centre also has a MoreYoga studio, where the yoga session would take place. But we were in need of something to tie the two together, a rightful compere to bring a crowd and host. As the youngest British woman to climb Everest and also a keen yogi, Bonita Norris was the perfect choice and she agreed immediately. Having faced many challenges herself, she understood the importance of this event.
We contacted London press about the event, inviting a few key journalists down for the evening, and for coverage so that Londoners could sign up. TimeOut London included a beautiful listing in their ‘Free London’ section, which generated many sign-ups. Entry was capped at 100 people for safety and space, and there was a considerable waiting list as people flocked to sign up.
The event was a massive success, with all attendees loving the joint venture of yoga and climbing. We had a professional photographer attend the event to take photos, and we asked attendees to keep their phones with their belongings in the lockers. This event was to be about the moment, experiencing everything being as mindful as possible, and not to get content for their Instagram.
Bonita hosted the half-time talk, regaling us with her incredible adventure stories and adversities she faced when climbing the biggest mountains in the world, and even skiing to the North Pole. Many attendees left with the beautiful balance of fatigue, satisfaction and peace that follows exercise and mindfulness.
It was a job well done. We brought in hundreds of people to the Westway Sports and Fitness centre, showing them the facilities and giving them hands-on experience with the climbing walls, yoga studio and instructors. In fact, the event was so popular and with so many people on the waiting list, that we decided to host another a month later for those who missed out first time around. Westway climbing has also since introduced Yoga for Climbers sessions too, noticing the popularity and symbiosis between the two.
Do you need help creating an event? Get in touch. We can help.