Reacting & Adapting: Virtual retreats unlock a new worldwide community for yoga teacher Megan

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In this blog series we’re catching up with entrepreneurs who are ‘Reacting & Adapting’ to make sure their business can survive and thrive through these unprecedented months.

Next up, we’re speaking to Crosby born yoga teacher Megan Halewood who has been running virtual yoga retreats since the start of lockdown to help support people’s mental health during the pandemic.

We first met Megan last year when she needed some support in growing her young venture, Megan Marcelle Yoga & Retreats, which has been running in the UK and Spain for the last four years.

Today, the picture is much different for Megan and her students as they come together for virtual classes, but one thing remains the same: Megan Marcelle Yoga & Retreats’ supportive community.

Megan tells us that her passion for sharing yoga is primarily for supporting mental health and wellbeing, having graduated with a Psychology degree in 2012. She believes that getting on the mat to practice yoga can help people to manage their everyday stress and anxiety, ultimately giving them the opportunity to lead happier, healthier lives.

It is this connection between mental health and wellbeing is central to Megan’s teaching.

So, when the UK went into lockdown, Megan knew that her classes, workshops and retreats could provide an all-important escape and support system to help people through the difficult months ahead.

Postponing all her usual face-to-face sessions, Megan quickly adapted and set up a virtual yoga retreat, where she could support people every morning and evening.

Initially intended to run through the first week of lockdown, every day for seven days Megan taught an early morning flow session to start the day at 7am and a gentler evening yin class at 7pm.

Megan explains: “My aim was to inspire people to get up early and make an active start to their day, giving them purpose and establishing a routine. Each day I provided tips and tools people could take off the mat to help manage stress, anxiety and fear; emotions many people are currently experiencing.”

Her goal to create a supportive online community during these challenging times has brought together people from all over the world, including India, USA, Australia and of course closer to home in Liverpool.

With overwhelmingly positive feedback from her students, Megan decided to extend the virtual retreat until the end of lockdown.

So, how did she find the process of adapting and reacting to the current crisis?

It all comes back to remembering her intention and making the most of the online resources and support available.

She says: “It has been a journey adapting to ways of doing business in the current crisis and not always a smooth one, but I always come back to my intention and it is this which keeps me going.  My intention has always been to support others, I think everyone has an intention for setting up their business and a reason why they set out to do it and it is especially important to have this at the forefront of your mind during such a difficult time.

“We are very lucky to have access to online platforms which can help us reach our clients and I highly recommend trying it out, it can be a rather strange transition for those in a  customer facing business but people needed your business before the crisis and will need after, if not now.  In my case I felt people needed what I do more than ever which is why it was essential for me to carry on the work I do.

“Despite it being challenging at times, continuing to work and adapt has given me a sense of purpose and routine.  If you are able to move things online, I recommend the following:

• Remind yourself of your intention
• Do not overthink technology, you will learn as you go
• People are very forgiving and if you make a mistake or technology fails on you

Megan also received support from her business advisor here at The Women’s Organisation, having first come to us in November 2019 for support in growing her young business.

She says: “I was appointed Yan as my business advisor and she has been phenomenal, I am beyond grateful for all the support she has given me. I wouldn’t be where I am now without her guidance. I also attended all of the growth courses which were incredibly helpful and only wished I had attended them earlier on!”

The retreat is open to everyone and sessions run twice a day (7am and 7pm) from Monday to Friday. People are welcome to drop in and out, joining as many or as few sessions as they like. To make the retreat accessible to everyone, payment is on a donation basis. All sessions are free for NHS workers.  

To find out more or to join the retreat, click here. You can also find Megan on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

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