A look inside Headway East London's Relaxation Group

Find out what happened when our intern Kitty joined members in one of the weekly relaxation sessions at the centre....


‘I feel more at peace with myself. I feel my troubles are over’- Avy

One of the many therapeutic sessions at Headway, the relaxation group has been around since ancient times. Well, not that far back… but it’s a Headway East London golden oldie so Kitty Edwards, our intern, thought she’d give you a new perspective inside the popular session!

 A tranquil space in Headway’s bustling day centre, the relaxation group provides a moment of quiet contemplation for our members. The leader of the group each day follows their own methods to guide the members into a peaceful state. For Toni, one of our co-ordinators and relaxation group leaders, a text book with a variety of meditative, narrative instructions is her aid of choice. Before the session began, Toni offered some insight into the group: ‘It’s a different experience for everyone, some drift off and barely hear the words your saying, they just follow the sound of the voice and the music – others follow the instructions of the narrative. The reaction after varies too, some feel ready to sleep, some feel really rejuvenated.’

Though some after the session, more simply put - ‘Just need a fag.’ - Lesley

As the group began the lights were turned off and the ‘Yoga’ playlist began; a loop of varying deep notes that conjured a calmness visible in all the members. Everyone settled in for the session, eager to be led away. The session began with a definite sense of getting into a meditative state, with a heavy focus on breathing that really allows your mind to let go of whatever it’s occupied with. The session, rather than just a mental exercise uses physical sensation too. Toni led the members to slowly relax each part of their body and mind.

‘It’s unifying, what we’re doing; with a sense of reconciliation.’- Raphael

The story led the group into an experience of sky and landscape, following the rising and setting of the sun into the night sky, a cyclical expression of the members as they journeyed through their minds. The pauses in the story allowed for the soothing music to wash over the group and as time went on, some of the members started to really drift off…

‘The music washes over you, you can hear a voice but that’s it.’ Richard

Words like ‘safe’ and ‘peaceful’ were scattered through the story creating a sense of warmth and safety. As the session wound up after twenty minutes, the members were gently instructed to stretch out their arms and legs and feel themselves present and energised in the current moment, free to leave whenever they were ready.

Find the same version of our relaxation script at: