‘Like I Was Floating on Air’: Relaxation in the Rose Garden

With all the stress of the pandemic intensifying the pressure of daily life in poverty, over the past year ATD core team member Corrinna Bain began a project in Glasgow called ‘Relaxation in the Rose Garden’.  Below, she describes how it has been unfolding.

As a small group, we do gentle movement, stretching and breathing exercises. We also learn acupressure points to support health and well-being. We began in person with a small diverse group of community members from Bridging the Gap in the Gorbals, Glasgow. This became a weekly gathering through autumn and winter last year.

With lock-down in early 2021, we shifted to an online get-together via Zoom, with participants being supported with any obstacles they faced to get digitally connected. With the current easing of restrictions, there will be new opportunities, hopefully in early summer, to meet in person again. We aim to go outdoors to local parks and also to meet indoors in a local community venue, including to simply have a chat and a cup of tea.

‘Floating on air’

People who participate face the impact of poverty, and for some destitution, and have found it compounded through the COVID 19 pandemic.  They speak about many challenges including feelings of isolation and worries. It has been important to them to break isolation and reduce stress and anxiety.

One participant who faces many pressures in the hotel they are living in while seeking asylum said about our relaxation workshop:

‘I felt like I was floating on air. Practising some of these exercises can help me with sleeping.’

The movements we practise are designed to lift the spirits and to ease some of the physical aches and general stiffness that we can get from sitting and being indoors a lot. Simply having a chance to relax for a moment has been important to people taking part. People who say they face loneliness and pressure at home, say that they feel less stressed and more calm after a relaxation session.

One person recently said:

‘I have a sense of calm and feel so relaxed. It’s a support to do this as a group as it’s hard to do it on my own.’

The relaxation sessions continue to be shaped together with community members of Bridging the Gap. People clearly appreciate connecting as a group and sharing and learning ways to relax more and increase general well-being.

 – Corrinna Bain , ATD Fourth World and volunteer with Bridging the Gap and final year student at the Glasgow School of Shiatsu