Yoga session on Chiltern Railways to tackle phone zombies

Yoga instructor Ellie Di Martino and Chiltern Railways passengers in the 'mindfulness zone'. Photo: Chiltern Railways NNL-180504-154437001
Yoga instructor Ellie Di Martino and Chiltern Railways passengers in the 'mindfulness zone'. Photo: Chiltern Railways NNL-180504-154437001

Chiltern Railways passengers experienced the UK’s first ever yoga session on a train as a carriage was dedicated to mindfulness yesterday (Wednesday, April 4).

The 12.55pm train from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone included a trial ‘mindfulness zone’ where commuters were encouraged to relax and put away their phones, tablets and laptops.

Yoga instructor Ellie Di Martino demonstrating the 'signal post' pose in the middle of a train carriage. Photo: Chiltern Railways NNL-180504-154448001

Yoga instructor Ellie Di Martino demonstrating the 'signal post' pose in the middle of a train carriage. Photo: Chiltern Railways NNL-180504-154448001

Stopping at Warwick Parkway, Leamington Spa and Banbury, passengers were invited to join in a yoga class or partake in other mindfulness activities including adult colouring in.

Chiltern Railways’ commercial director, Eleni Jordan, said: “People are glued to their phones everywhere they go.

“Whilst a crucial part of our lives, there is great benefit in taking time to switch off and explore your creative mind through meditation, colouring or even yoga on the way to work!

“Since we’ve also recently partnered with mental health charity, Mind, as our charity of the year, we wanted to create a space to promote mindfulness - where our passengers can sit back, reflect and reenergise.”

Customers were encouraged to put down their phones, pack away their laptops and enjoy the beneficial mindfulness activities.

It was explained how it can improve performance in the workplace through the development of greater resiliency, regulation of workplace stress and increased emotional intelligence.

Chiltern Railways worked with the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre to devise the zone, and London Marylebone Indaba Yoga Studio instructor, Ellie Di Martino, created yoga poses specifically for train journeys.

Mindfulness centre director Willem Kuyken said yesterday: “We live in an age where we don’t usually stop to think about how we’re feeling or what we’re doing.

“Mindfulness teaches us to do exactly that, with practices such as yoga and meditation.

“Reports have shown that mindfulness activities can help people from all walks of life.

“From improving student focus levels to helping relieve stressed out workers - and today assisting Chiltern customers!”

Chiltern’s social media advisors will be tweeting images of suggested yoga poses, including ‘choo-choo’, ‘aisle twist’ and ‘train tracks’, and mindfulness tips created by Ellie.

The yoga poses will also be available for download on the Chiltern Railways website.