How are you? Out of 10?

Questions that have been ringing in my ears ever since I had men’s mental fitness charity, Talk Club join me as part of my Yoga For Men’s Health series of talks in November. As I wrote at the time, Talk Club shares a similar ethos to YogaDad. We bring like-minded men together in a safe space. No preconceived notion that men need to fit a certain mould. Providing a platform for men to open up by talking, moving, breathing and thinking in a way that supports their physical and mental fitness.

As we wrapped up the talk that night, I knew it wasn’t the end, but the end of the beginning. I kept in touch with Talk Club, and joined their ‘Talk Club captains’ training early in the new year. Captains are the guys that volunteer to lead the Talk Club sessions – organising the events, leading the talk, creating that all important safe space for men to talk openly about their mental fitness. Sharing scores, stories and more with fellow soon to be captains made me realise I was in the right place.

I’ve increasingly introduced the questions – How are you? Out of 10? into my everyday life. Subconsciously, I find that I’m scoring myself as much as anyone else, but it’s taken time for this to come naturally. I’ve initiated a monthly wellbeing survey at Defra for my directorate – a 230-strong team across Environment Strategy. Beyond the profiling questions, the first question is… you’ve guessed it. How are you? Out of 10? An incredible 80%+ of respondents elaborated on their scores through optional free text responses. I was totally blown away. I presented the first set of results to my Senior Leadership Team yesterday, and the richness of the responses I was able to draw upon resulted in a far more in-depth discussion than I imagined, and all important to take in response.

It’s at my Yoga For Men classes though where these questions really matter the most. My classes are very special and I love to see how they’ve organically grown over the past 3+ years. It’s akin to old friends meeting up each week. Nevertheless, we’ve never really taken a step back and considered the positive impact of talking, moving, thinking, sharing space together has on our lives.

and this is where Talk + Yoga comes in…

This week, I trialled something new. Just before the start of class, I asked the 12 guys – How are you? Out of 10? I wasn’t sure how the guys would react, but they embraced it – each giving a score and their reasoning. It may have only taken a couple of minutes to go around the room, but those scores rung in ears throughout the class. At the end of class, I then asked the questions again. I’m pleased to say most of the scores improved, some very strongly, with all others staying the same.

It was a very special moment, and I was buzzing. If i was to score myself at that time, I was a 10.

and so, Talk and Yoga is now born. Every week at my Yoga For Men classes in Keynsham, Bristol on Monday nights and Saltford, Bristol on Thursday nights, the classes will open and close with those all important questions.

I guess, all that leaves me to ask is…

How are you? Out of 10?