Friday, September 30, 2011

Running Home for Alex

Some of you loyal Freedom Followers may remember a blog I wrote last year called Precious Lives about 2 families who had been dealt a completely crap hand health wise and were stuggling on, to overcome illness.
I wanted to catch you up with the good news and tell you about the most incredible day I was lucky enough to witness last Sunday.

Sam, my sister's friend who was hospitalized almost overnight with a very rare and paralyzing disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome was in hospital for the best part of a year on a ventilator, unable to communicate with her husband and small son. Well, the great news is that her perseverance and strength as well as of course the wonders of medical science sees her now out of hospital, several stone lighter and a little shaky on her feet but making a complete recovery. For her family who were called into her hospoital room on more than one occasion "to say goodbye" it must seem like a dream come true to... to Sam too. I am sure it has left them all exhausted but with a new found understanding of the important things in life and perhaps a new zest for living.

The other person I mentioned in my previous blog was a brave little boy named Alex Sharp. At only 3 years old he was diagnosed with a very aggresive and rare form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma. The last 17 months have been, as you can imagine, an unfathomably difficult time for little Alex and of course for his parents, Ben and Miranda, and their gorgeous daughter Jennifer. Alex has been through some frankly awful and drawn out drug therapies including chemotherapy radiotherapy and immunotherapy as well as surgery to remove the abdominal tumour.
The great news is that last weekend marked Alex's last night in hospital after more than 100 nights having completed all his treatments.
A truly noteworty occasion.
The family are unwaveringly positive and determined for Alex's long and happy life ahead. They have had untold support from The Neuroblastoma Society and The John Radcliffe Hospital and in true Ben and Miranda style they had to do something big to mark the day and make sure they could give a little back to help families in the future dealing with this disease as well as raise awareness about Neuroblastoma and the much needed funds for research.

Now Ben is a bit of a superman!
He hikes and cycles and runs...but not your average Sunday afternoon ramble in the woods to a nice tea shop or a bike ride down to the shops for a lolly, oh no! He is a serious iron man type.
Hence, last Sunday he embarked upon "running home for Alex". Ben took on the amazing feat of running 35 miles from The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to their home in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.
Bloody Hell!
I know...that's like a marathon and then another 10 miles!!!!
My sister-in-law who is great friends with the family decided she wanted to join him in the last 10K and roped my sister in along with her running partner Wendy. My running skills are slightly lacking and I opted for support vehicle and cheering on!
Ben was super organised and emailed all his supporters a list of where he hoped to be and at what time with OS references and everything!!!!
So he was due at Annie Baileys pub at 3pm on Sunday, which is where we dropped his running sidekicks before we sped off to see if he was on schedule.
"It is Ben Sharp!", said my brother! And he was right, infact Ben was stalling for time as he was ahead of schedule!!! When we caught up with him at a makeshift feeding station just before the pub he looked completely amazing! Not a drop of sweat, and fresh as a daisy.
From The Radcliffe he had been joined by two mates who were running in relay an hour at a time to keep him company and motivated. He also had a support car stashed full of bananas!

Wendy, Louisa and Kate

Waiting for Ben to arrive
Ben with his support team

Getting ready to roll out

The final leg

By the time he got to the pub having already run 29 miles he had picked up two more runners. Then at the pub there were seven more who joined in.
We - my Brother, his girls, my Mum and Dad and several other husbands and wives - decided to cheer them along the route, so we zoomed in our cars to the next vantage point and clapped them along their inceredible journey. I think it helped the runners, not knowing where they were going to see us next, but knowing that every mile they would get a little boost of energy and confirmation that they were doing a great job! And every time I got back in my car I cried my heart out at what a fantastic thing Ben was doing and for the most worthy of causes. I cannot imagine having to go through what that family and millions of other families across the world go through, wondering from one day to the next if your child will make it through.
Louisa and Wendy just before a nice cup of tea!
By the time the posse got into Little Chalfont they were more than 20 strong and had been joined by several children on bikes for the last mile or so. Then about 400 yards before the house, a gaggle of scooter riding rugrats and a gang of supporters on foot took the final trek home. Along with Alex sat atop his Mum's shoulders.
As Ben and the other runners got to the house, it was hugs all round and in true English style, mugs of tea and slices of cake in the cul-de-sac. Then photos galore and many pats on the back along with several tears.
Ben is truly an inspiring man.
Not only has he pushed his body to a test of endurance that only the truly brave would consider, he managed to raise more than £10, 000 for The Neuroblastoma Society to boot,which is remarkable.

I am sure there were more than a few beers in the Sharp household that night and perhaps a couple of aching legs on Monday!

But what it makes me realize is that if you put your mind to it, you can be strong enough to achieve anything.
Congratulations Family Sharp!
Check out Alex's Blog here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Youtube Rocks!

In my quest for Freedom Yoga world domination I have been madly trying to cover all my bases to get the word out. I blog, I tweet, I email, I post flyers through letterboxes (well strictly speaking, my overly paid nephews do that for me!) I network at social events, bloody hell, I even recruited my hairdresser last week! So for someone who is a complete drip when it comes to selling herself, I am pretty chuffed.
Drum roll please...last week I had 12 new clients in my classes!
How amazing is that?
Now whether they all come back for week 2 is another question entirely but the fact that the word is getting out there is nothing short of fantastic.

So I decided I needed to make a video to put on my website as a little taster so people could see exactly what Freedom Yoga is all about. I think lots of people think that doing yoga means lying on a dusty floor in a cold village hall being forced to "Omm" whilst incense chokes you and you contemplate your navel! I have to dispell the myth. Actually I don't think it's a myth, I think there are classes out there like that and thats why yoga has such a bad reputation - For goodness sake if you want to lie down and omm at least sweep the floor and get some hetaing on!

Back to the video!

I would reccommend to any of you trying to move forward in your business to get a teenager in your life. It is so handy! Anyone born after 1995 can help you with anything in the technology department. It seems to be in their DNA or something!
A couple of weeks ago my gorgeous nephew jack showed me an amazing video that his friend Tom made of him when they were on holiday in France. I won't do it justice by trying to explain it so just watch...

I was then introduced to Tom's YouTube channel. By the way, "It's called a channel, not a page, becasue it's like a TV channel, duh Sophie!" and for future reference, in regards to Facebook you have a Wall not a Facebook page!!!! And "hip" is not cool but "next" is and you are no longer "buff" you are now "Hench". Got it?!!!
Anyway, I was really impressed with Tom's creative ideas and Jack who texts like a fiend quickly recruited him to film my video. Heaven forbid anyone should actually talk to each other now!

I got the impression Tom thought I was a bit batty during our production meeting at my sister's kitchen table over bacon sandwiches and custard creams on Saturday evening. "So you want to look thin and amazing?!"

Of course my place of choice was the fabulous Coombe Hill. Such a beautiful spot, overlooking the Chilterns with just a really lovely there is always an ice cream van at the entrance so you can get a lolly on your way home!

So on Sunday afternoon we all traipsed into Wendover headed for the hill.
Me, Louisa, Jack, Will, Tom and Charlie...I needed moral support. Of course the carpark was full to bursting. Perfect, a billion people to watch me how embarrassing!
We spent about 45 minutes filming from various different angles and I was knackered at the end of it! I was flowing on an adverse camber so it was quite a challenge! Tom was happy with his footage and knackered too I think scrambling around like a monkey up the monument to get ariel views!

I was more than nervous to see the finished product. Excited of course but having spent so much time practising away from a mirror you have no idea really what your body looks like in these postures.

Last night on my way to work I got an email from Jack: "Tom's uploaded you to YouTube!"
I took a deep breath in as I skulked in the hallway at work and loaded  it onto my iPhone...and then a deep breath out and a huge smile as I watched the video unfold.
I love it!
I love the sky and the ramblers and the view and the fact that my bum looks not too big at all infact!!!!
The main thing is that it shows a bit about what Freedom Yoga has to offer.
See what you think...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A change is as good as a rest!

Hello lovely people, I have missed you all so much! 
Apologies for not blogging for a while but life has been a little hectic of late, plus I sort of dropped out for a few weeks! That makes me sound like I went a bit mental for a while doesn't it? How could you tell?! Actually, I had an opportunity to spend a whole month in the Med and as any sane, travel loving, sun seeking, ever so slightly spoilt person would do, I jumped on it! So this usually super disciplined yogi left her mat at home (naughty) and hopped on Ruby Princess for 26 days of drinking great wine in Italy, shopping in Spain, visiting ruins in Greece, hobnobbing with the rich and famous in Monaco and generally lounging about and being waited on. Poor me!
The good news was that the gym on-board was fab and so I did manage to pilfer a mat and ease my conscience with a few down dogs on the trip. I also whipped into a speedy Warrior in all the good touristy spots for a photo so thats something!!! Not exactly a dedicated month of yoga practice but hey, a girl needs a break every now and again!




Rubbish warrior, Rome!

Venice - most people would have one with a canal in the background!!!

So apparently September is the month of change! Well you can say that again, but lets not get all deep and meaningful! I love this idea of September being the month where, it's not only acceptable to say "Out with the old and in with the new", but it is actually a good healthy activity! So I have been thinking hard about the changes I want to make in the little world of Sophie and for once they are not all about getting rid of the wrinkles, having a bottom transplant and being as thin as Posh Spice! I have real life grown up changes to make my friends! I have decided that I am going to be a little more discerning with the people who I choose to share my life and in a non-selfish way, I am also going to do the things that I want to do, not the things that other people guilt me into doing. The change needs to be a positive thing and enhance your life so...I have also changed from Persil to Fairy non bio...environment and all that ;) I have even changed my hair do!! How about that for radical?!!
What was it my old mate Ghandi said? "Be the change you want to see in the world". Do that by all means but why not be the change you want to see in you! And September is the time to do it!
I dare you!