Founder of YOGADOO, Lucy Aston took to the stage to receive the award and was overwhelmed with emotion: “It was complete surprise as we only launched YOGADOO just over seven months ago. I had to try and cobble together a speech but in truth, every possible thought went from my mind.”
So I wanted to explain why I felt so emotional and maybe try and put my thoughts into a more coherent speech here:
There was a reason why I was so emotional, although it didn’t feel right to talk about this on the night. In November 2015, I was in Paris training to become a kid’s yoga teacher (at first to just teach occasional classes at my son’s school as I was working full time as a PR Director at a Marketing agency in Bath). What happened on Friday 13th November, changed my life forever.
At the end of my first day’s training, I realised I was about ten minutes away from the devastating terror attacks which took the lives of 130 people in Paris on that night. On the Saturday morning after, as I lay on my yoga mat to begin the second day of the training, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I realised how precious, delicate and short life is. I knew I wanted to do something more worthwhile with my time. My work / life balance was all wrong and I knew from that moment, I wanted to teach yoga and mindfulness to children, to equip them with those skills for life. I am not a religious person, but this was as close to ‘a calling’ as I can imagine.
So a few months later in February 2016, almost a year to the day of the Bath Life Awards, I gave my notice in at the Marketing agency where I worked and started to plan the launch of YOGADOO. After serving my three month notice, I went off to Goa in India – leaving my husband and young son behind for five weeks, to train as an Adult’s Yoga teacher. I got back from India in June and began to teach adults and children straight away. As the months went on, more and more schools got to hear about YOGADOO to the point where now, seven months later YOGADOO works with almost thirty schools across Bath and North East Somerset. Since the awards were announced, we have been inundated with more interest for YOGADOO to teach in Primary and Secondary schools in both the state and private sector.
There are so many people I would like to thank for all their support in helping YOGADOO get to this point. Firstly all the amazing people (more than 200 adults and children a week) who have come to YOGADOO classes – thank you. Over 75% of people who come through YOGADOO’s doors have never been to a yoga class before and we love your enthusiasm and passion for yoga, and are privileged to help you along your yoga journey.
Thank you to all the pupils and teachers at the schools where we teach, the staff always make us feel so welcome and the mini yogis are always so full of enthusiasm to learn how to 'do yoga'. Thank you to the team at BANES Sports Partnership for introducing us to the schools, and thanks to all the venues where we teach throughout Bath.
Thank you to my friend Nick Clarkson, who helped to build the YOGADOO website and was always so incredibly patient with ‘technical’ questions. Thank you to Rik at Elusive Press for printing and producing the YOGADOO range of clothing and merchandise. Dave at Minuteman press for all the last minute printing requests we throw his way!
Thank you to the wonderful Alice Denning, the YOGADOO events manager, who makes sure that all of our (sold out!) Hygge Yoga retreats run so smoothly. Thank you also to Amelia, Sue, Jane and Jules at the Combe Grove Hotel who always make us and our Hygge Yogis feel so welcome at their beautiful hotel. We can’t wait to continue working with you and run lots more fantastic events in 2017 and beyond.
Thank you to Emma Hughes who has recently joined YOGADOO teaching young people and our teen classes, you’re incredible and a great friend.
And my love and thanks go to all my friends and family for their support – my parents Maureen and Jim, my brother Ian and his fiancé Bonnie, my cousin Sarah for being my business guardian angel, but most of all thank you to my husband Tim (who was there on the night of the awards and I didn’t even think to thank him) and our son Freddie (whose idea it was to train as a kid’s yoga teacher in the first place). I am so grateful for your support and love (and patience) and I couldn’t do this without you.
I am fairly sure everyone of you reading this (or someone close to you) will have been affected by some form of mental health illness at some point in your life. It is a subject very close to my heart. In fact, yoga is my ‘ctrl, alt, del’ button. I couldn’t be without it. Our children are growing up in a world where they have access to more information, ‘entertainment’ and opportunities than ever before. A world with 24 hour rolling news, instant messages, cyber bullying, and interactions through screens rather than face-to-face. I feel sure that yoga and mindfulness, a 5000 year old practice, is more relevant today than ever before. By equipping our young people (and anyone for that matter!) with these life skills to help us to relax, connect, focus, feel calm and ourselves again is essential.
YOGADOO teaches yoga and mindfulness to hundreds of children in primary and secondary state schools all across Bath and North East Somerset each month. Not only that, YOGADOO is increasingly teaching staff how to use yoga and mindfulness with their pupils in the classroom. Our adult classes for beginners, runners and our wonderful ‘Bros’ at our men’s only BROGADOO classes are accessible and incredibly popular. Most of the people we teach would never go to a traditional yoga class in a yoga studio, proving that yoga really is for everyone.
The future for YOGADOO is exciting and this is just the start of the next chapter. Thank you again, all of you.