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Blondy’s People …Joke Murray


Come and sit down and take a break for Episode 13 of Blondy’s people.

Self care is something I have always been bad at, even from a young child. In my life I have never had a massage, never been to a Spa, never had a pedicure, never had a facial…. the list could go on and on. I make very little time for myself and it has always been like that…

Blondy was caring for others before she earned the name Blondy. Living with a parent who has mental health is not something you can truly understand until you have lived it. You kind of switch from being a child to a parent depending on your own parent’s state of mind. Blondy has been caring for others since she was about 7 …before that even.

There were times as a child that no one told her to brush her teeth, to brush her hair. It was not like that all the time, but it was like that a lot of the time. There was no bedtime routine from about the age of  8. Once you take away those very basic self-care rituals a child will struggle to maintain any kind of self-care unless they decided to do it themselves. Blondy did not. Could not. I don’t know what one is true. All I know is once you have had to wash your own hair with washing up liquid for a whole summer at 11 years of age in stone cold water,  self-care seems like something that is not for you.

As you may well imagine, If Blondy was not able to maintain the basic hygiene needed then her self care around mental health and well being was also very poor. Mental health and well being were never spoken about in a positive way and was something you kept secret in Blondy’s world. When she first started having panic attacks, she automatically knew that you didn’t tell people outside the house about it or you would have to go to the doctors or social services could become involved. And she could not tell her “Friends” about what was going on in terms on anxiety and mental health because you can’t show that kind of weakness on the street or you will become a target.

As further trauma started to creep into Blondy’s world and body, self-care just stopped. She almost felt unworthy. What kind of trauma does a child go through when they feel unworthy of self-love and care. The closest she came to self-care was when she could not cope with herself any more and would run a bath of almost boiling water and empty a whole bottle of Dettol disinfectant into it and just sit there , scrubbing, until the water become too cold to bare.

Flash forward and I am still poor at self-care. The difference is…. I now know that I deserve to be good to myself. I just do not really know how. I know how to work and be on the constant grind. I struggle to make my mind still. I am always planning and worrying about tomorrow, next week next year. If you know me personally you will probs be nodding your head as you read this.

I don’t like to spend money on myself and I would the closest I get to self-care now is getting my nails done every six weeks and new trainers. That… is… it.

Lock down hit me hard in lots of ways. I still have not really blogged about it …because…I’m still in it, I guess. Within days I could feel my mind racing beyond control. I was worrying people as I started to fret and worry and over think. By about 10 days in my body hurt from being locked up. I am usually very active. I don’t drive (Another self-care thing I need to sort out) so I walk and cycle everywhere. Early lock down put a stop to that. I was laying in bed feeling very low and I reached out to someone , my friend Amanda…(Or Mandem as we call her) and she said “Why don’t you come along to a morning online yoga group I am part of”. I said yes just because I didn’t want to say no to yet another thing. I had no intention of getting up each morning and doing yoga. Mandem sent me the link and said, “See you in the morning”. The next morning, she texted me again saying “Yoga at 9, see you there”. I sighed and lay there looking at the ceiling. That was my morning routine now. Lay and look at the ceiling, wondering how I would find the strength to do another day of lock down. I got up and dragged on a hoody and some leggings and set myself up in the living room not knowing what to expect.

When I logged into the yoga, I was greeted with all these faces and people chatting and laughing. I t was like walking into a coffee morning of old friends. Joke, the lady who delivers the sessions, greeted me and I jus sat and watched all these people interacting and chatting. Then it was time for the yoga. I have done yoga a few times before and enjoyed it but could easy go without it. Joke’s voice filled my living room, talking about being in the moment and how good this was going to feel. For the first time in 2 weeks I didn’t feel alone in my house. I felt like I was part of something with other people.

That first session killed me. I struggled to keep up and could only hold poses for seconds. When it was over, I went through the rest of the day calmest I had been since lock down started. I set my alarm for the next morning and I did it all over again. Yoga become part of my daily routine for 2 weeks and then as my workload increased have been dipping in and out weekly. Sometimes I have done it 3 times in a row each morning…. sometimes only on a Sunday.

Them Yoga sessions were the only set routine I had in them chaotic first few weeks and solely by having the online sessions each day I was able to ground myself and find a new routine. The poses become easier and the breathing become deeper. Joke talks throughout the sessions and her voice and message of hope and that we only need to worry about what is happening right now…in this moment…has given me a new way of living. I don’t know if my loved ones have noticed…but I am a lot less impulsive than I used to be.

I get emotional now, thinking how bad those first few weeks of lock down were for me and my daughter. But it become the norm that we would wake up, have breakfast and then she would go and chill and I would shout up the stairs each morning “Just doing yoga, when I finish we start school work”. And that was our morning routine. I do my yoga sessions in my living room facing my window that looks out on the close that I live in. During my Yoga sessions I have seen the seasons change, ambulances come and take people, arguments between people and whoops of joy when family members have come to see their people.

I have also seen the season change in me. I am now ready for self-care. I deserve it.

Today I introduce you to Joke Murray, my yoga teacher. She is based in Canterbury and owns the Manor Barn, centre for peace and personal development. They offer many services in this beautiful setting including Shiatsu, counselling, hypnotherapy and of course yoga to but mention a few. I have not been there yet but have looked at the website and have told Joke to get ready because I will be booking in for a weekend away there with a friend or two when the madness clears.

Joke is one of Blondy’s people because she has got me through some dark days without even knowing and has also set me on a new path. And of course, Have to say a big thank you to Mandem for introducing me to Joke in the first place…. everything happens for a reason

She is also one of Blondy’s people because if she had been around when I was younger or even been able to make a connection with my mum, life would have been very different. Our young people do not get enough support with mental health and wellbeing. Every school should have a yoga teacher…. just saying.

So, sit back…. breath….and listen to the delight that is Johanna Murray…This is what she had to say…

Yoga at Home by Johanna Murray

During those amazing transitional times my regular yoga classes had to stop. The world is in lockdown and social distancing is required.

What is important during this time, I thought, and what can I do?

I came up with daily yoga classes online, Yoga at Home, I called it. Every morning 9 till 10 am, and available for everyone. Like me many others saw their income dry up overnight, contributing to anxiety. The aim of the classes is to help people to stay centered and positive. We are creating our future and believe me, a future created from trust is very different from a future created from fear.

The yoga sessions have several focal points.

Firstly, they help people to get out of bed and be physical active. Waking up and start the day positive.

Next is centering your energy, feeling ’home’ within yourself. This virus and all changes in society have created lots of fear and anxiety in society. This is the opposite of what we want. We want to be centered, creative and happy. Trust in ourselves to create the future we want. Every morning again we reinforce this to start the new day with excitement.

Lastly is practicing staying in our own power while connecting to the global consciousness. We do that by entering through being in the present moment the quantum field of no space/no time, the field of all possibilities.

Big words which might need some explanation however practicing it and experiencing it is more powerful.

Everything is frequency. Every emotion has a frequency varying from low, fear and anger, to high, love, gratitude and joy. It is easier than you think to enter high frequencies, just feel the emotion of love, gratitude or joy. Become that feeling and practice to stay in it.

By keeping yourself in a high frequency your immune system is stronger, you heal and are more creative and happier.

My yoga journey has brought me over the last 40 years many insights and contributed to my personal development greatly. I am eternal grateful to the transformational process I have gone through. Through the awareness it has given me it has sustained me through the many difficult patches that came my way.

You ask why I started teaching?

I wanted to share what I am passionate about.

Besides teaching yoga, I practice as well as a complementary therapist, helping people to stay well and improve their well-being.

I have been trained in several disciplines over the years, however my way of working is tuning in to my client and working with whatever comes up. This might be a combination of physical, emotional, mental or spiritual needs. We will do bodywork or just talk.

How is teaching during lockdown different from my normal face to face sessions?

My normal sessions are quite hands on and interactive, I respond directly to the needs of the group. My aim is that my clients feel better, are more centered and energy better flowing when they leave.

Lockdown teaching has proven to be a good experience on several fronts. Yes, I do miss the interaction and seeing people face to face.

However, friends I have not seen for years have joined the online classes as well. It is lovely to see them again. Also new people have joined who I would not have met otherwise.

Online I teach for one hour continuously. I am speaking, explaining, imagining the difficulties people might have etc. Also, my aim is to give people the experience to enter that field of all possibilities, to be in the present moment and to feel love, gratitude and joy. The only way is to be there and feel it myself. It requires a deep concentration and to be in the flow and more meditative. This has proven to be easier in the online classes than the face to face classes.

You ask, I want to start yoga, where do I start?

There are nowadays thousands of yoga teachers all with a different experience and approaching it from a different angle.

My advice is to go to different classes and try out what fits you.

Most important is that you have time to listen to your own body. I always say, listening to your own body is more important than listening to me, and never give your 100%. When you give less, you have time to go within and feel what is happening.

Also how do you feel after the yoga session? Greater sense of well-being, more centered and happy with yourself. Freedom within yourself.

You are asking what I do and about my company?

I am proud to say that the Manor Barn, my center for health and well-being has just had its twentieth birthday. We opened in 2000 just after Easter.

I work myself at the Manor Barn, teaching yoga and giving treatments one to one but also rent out spaces to other therapists and teachers.

Creating a spot of Light and Love in the world where people can find health, well-being and peace and carry that forward in the world.

The online teaching has added a new dimension to my company, and I will definite continue with that as it has proven to be interesting and beneficial.

You are welcome to contact me on or send a text to 07794943534

Follow The Manor Barn on Twitter HERE

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