Today I went for a run and was reflecting on how PE lessons in school affected me. I remember being made to feel an outsider as I did not fit the mould of what a boy in a PE class “should” be. I was skinny, weak, effeminate, sexually confused and hated being made the centre of attention. PE lessons were hell and I found any way and any excuse I could to avoid taking part . It was easier to lie and sit on the side then be abused by teachers and other students for not being “man enough” and enduring the shame of partaking in the limited choice of football or rugby. What else would a young boy be remotely interested in…
You may be reading this now and recognise yourself as either the one who loved PE or those who loathed it… maybe you was too queer, too big, too skinny, not sporty or not catered for?! I know this deep seated fear of not fitting in has stayed with me and affected every part of my life.
Fast forward 25 years and it’s taken a lot to change my attitude towards physical exercise. My way in via the back door was through Yoga and by building confidence in my physical abilities I have learnt to love cardio, but still avoid any type of group sport and activity for fear of feeing shamed for not being “man enough” to be part of the games.
In 2018 I opened Anahata Yoga Centre in Leigh on Sea, Essex which offers a therapeutic space for LGBTQ people to practice Yoga and Meditation in a safe a non judgemental environment. We focus on offering support for people’s mental and emotional wellbeing. I hope by opening our doors we represent a change happening and us outsiders feeling better considered and represented when it comes to not fitting the fitness/wellbeing mould.
During the Pandemic I had the opportunity to start a Podcast called “From the Heart” which explores people journey of healing and acceptance through Yoga, Fitness, Therapy, Diet and setting boundaries. It felt important to offer a space for our voices to be heard and where we can support each other.
Sending my love to all those outsiders.
Author: Daniel Groom
Titles: Yoga Therapist, Podcast Creator, Healer