Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day; and thus, despite being half way through a very intense four days of yoga teacher training, I wanted to blog about the second yoga event I’ve attended since moving to Sydney a month ago run by mental health charity OneWave.
Following on from last Friday’s incredible sunrise yoga, I signed up for OneWave’s Fluro Friday event which my friend and fellow yogi, Ali, had helped organise. And so, despite having been in the studio since the crack of dawn, when class was dismissed at 5.30, a handful of us hung around to participate in a further 90 minute power yoga class; albeit one in which everyone dressed up in fluro yoga gear, that was to benefit this incredible charity.
Last week I spoke of how inspiring the sunrise practise was, and while this one was no less so, I also found it very moving. Yoga often brings a lot of sentiment to the surface, and when Grant Trebelico, founder of OneWave, addressed the class to talk about his experience of mental health, I found myself thinking of those nearest and dearest to me who too, have suffered hugely at the hands of mental illness, and got quite emotional.
The practise itself was an intense and a sweaty one, with a focus on partnership as we were often encouraged to use our neighbour to inspire, encourage and steady ourselves throughout the ninety minutes. Following on from the class, we decanted into the smaller studio to watch the OneWave Surfing Experience documentary. Joel Pilgrim, a qualified occupational therapist who launched the OneWave Surfing Experience, gave an introduction to the short film, explaining how the surfing program gives mental health clients the opportunity to learn how to surf and turn their life around.
It was both humbling and inspiring to watch the effect the Surfing Experience had on its participants and it solidified the importance of the charity, not only in the Bondi community in which its based, but across the rest of the country, and indeed the world. Joel finished the evening by encouraging everyone to use World Mental Health Day as an opportunity to spark dialogue around mental heath; and indeed, with the stigma still surrounding both the illness and its suffers, it could be the most important conversation you have.
If you’d like to donate to OneWave’s crowdfunding campaign, you can do so here.