VETERINARY receptionist Jo Thorne has been supporting the health and wellbeing of colleagues during lockdown by organising weekly yoga sessions.
Jo, who works at Kinfauns Vets in Dovercourt, Essex, is also a qualified yoga instructor and hosts the online sessions every Sunday morning for colleagues working across practices and the central support team at UK veterinary group, VetPartners.
The sessions were arranged by VetPartners, which has 150 UK veterinary practices and 5,500 employees, as part of their commitment to caring for the health, wellbeing and fitness of employees during a challenging time for the veterinary industry dealing with the pandemic.
They are proving popular with team members, who have been learning various yoga techniques such as cat and cow stretches, warrior and downward facing dog, as well as breathing and meditation.
Jo said: “Lockdown and working during the pandemic have proved challenging and stressful for many people so VetPartners has looked at ways of ensuring everyone feels supported and cared for.
“In January, VetPartners raised awareness of the HALT acronym that reminded us to take a moment – HALT – and ask ourselves if we are feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired as when one of these areas is out of balance we will struggle with health and wellbeing. So this simple technique reminds us to address one of these basic needs. It fitted in with the ethos of yoga as it is about balancing mind, body and emotions and I thought offering the weekly classes would really benefit colleagues across the group.
“It is a busy life in vet practice and we’ve had the added pressure of working safely during the pandemic to protect ourselves, colleagues and clients, as well as provide the best possible service for pets and animals in our care.
“The uptake and interest in the classes has been lovely, with both regulars and those who dip in and out when they have time. Doing weekly yoga sessions gives them an opportunity to remove themselves from the pressure, stretch out muscles and release tension. One hour on a yoga mat letting go of your thoughts and focusing only on uniting your breath and movement is so beneficial for your wellbeing and vitality, physically and mentally.”
Jo teaches seasonal yoga, which aims to bring us into harmony with the seasons and incorporates traditional yoga with the ancient Chinese exercises of Tai Chi and Qigong to get the energy flowing around the body and promote a healthy body, mind and spirit.
She has worked at Kinfauns Vets since October 2020 and qualified as a yoga instructor two years ago.
The classes are free but Jo invites donations to her local cat and dog rescue and rehoming centre.