092: Amy Slevin: Flow Motion, pain, and routines

Episode summary

Amy Slevin LINK (250)
Amy Slevin

Not quite fitting in can seem negative, but it is what inspired Amy Slevin to create something new. She unpacks the role movement holds in her life, and how she came to create FlowMotion Yoga. Amy discusses her thoughts on pain and injury, particularly within parkour. She shares her personal routines, habits, and what she’s been reading.

Amy Slevin is an osteopath turned yoga instructor who teaches in London, UK. She founded FlowMotion Yoga to help people feel better in their bodies, while sharing her love of movement and playfulness. Amy also teaches workshops about movement, pain, and injury, and is passionate about empowering her students through both movement and mindset.

Highlight [0:00]

Amy (00:04):
I think especially when it comes to something like parkour the kind of injuries that happen there is I think common threads that occur, and I’m not talking about physically common threads. I’m talking about mental or situational common threads.

Craig (00:20):
Themes, right.

Amy (00:22):
And I think a lot of injuries happen when people are showing off, and people are not concentrating, or people are too tired, and that moment where you’re like, “I’m just going to do one more. Just one more.” And it’s in that moment, often, not every time at all, but often, because you’re tired, because you’re like, “It’s just the last one,” you’re probably not concentrating quite enough, and that’s when it’s just like, “Ah.”

Introduction [0:46]

Role of childhood movement [1:58]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Loved sprinting, sprinted competitively
  • Memories of riding her bike up and down her childhood street
  • Danced as a teen, and really fell in love; It evolved with her as she grew. * Sprinting was in primary school, because of the school

From childhood to present [4:27]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Discovered parkour, and loved it
  • Began to study osteopathy, got into yoga
  • Never felt that she fit in the yoga world; Disconnect with the philosophy, but fell into it because of personal things
  • Mental side of yoga didn’t help, but connected with the physical side
  • Finished schooling, became an osteopath, but didn’t want to pursue it as a career
  • Started combining her various movement experience and knowledge through yoga, to create something new and more diverse: FlowMotion Yoga.
  • Giving herself permission to play, try things, add diversity

Craig (05:53):
What was it about the yoga world that you thought you didn’t fit with?

Amy (05:58):
I guess I struggled to connect with a lot of the philosophy, and I also had the impression … Basically, I started doing yoga, I succumbed, because my sister had died shortly before. I was studying osteopathy, my sister just died, and there was another family thing going on at the same time, and I was just like-

Craig (06:25):
The confluence, right.

Amy (06:26):
Yeah. And then, Bertie, my boyfriend at the time was like, “Why don’t you try some yoga?” And I was like, “Boring.” Because I’d done it I don’t know, twice, about 10 years previously, and it was a very long story, but I’m going to try to make it more succinct. I started doing yoga, never connected with it, but I wanted it to help me. I wanted it to help me with my anxiety, with my grieving, and all that kind of stuff, and it just never did.

Continue reading…

Amy (06:49):
But the physical side of yoga I really connected with, and I found it quite interesting exploring these different ways of moving my body in the yoga capacity, and seeing how that compared with parkour. I then completed my osteopathy studies, but never really wanted to be an osteopath, and I was like, “Shit, what am I going to do now?” Because I’d spent four year doing this, but I don’t really want to do it now. But then, I had been doing yoga during that time, and I was like how can I help people with the tools that I have, and the tools that I had were movement, yoga, and this vast knowledge from osteopathy.

Amy (07:34):
And so, I just decided I’m going to teach people yoga in a way, and I never really committed to it, because I never really connected with that yoga in that way. Do you know what I mean? I felt like a fraud for a long time, and because of that, because of me feeling like a fraud, and because of me feeling like I wasn’t really connecting with yoga, and my love for parkour, and loads of other different types of movement that I discovered also along the years I was like, how can I now marry all of these things together, bring in a bit of parkour experience with my yoga, and develop something from that? And that’s basically how FlowMotion was created.

Amy (08:15):
I was like, okay, let’s just give myself permission to bring in movements from here, there, and everywhere, and to bring in that kind of playful element that I really love from parkour, and the diversity. That was really the thing that [crosstalk 00:08:33] me.

Practice and students [8:31]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Teaches classes and private lessons, but works out of other studios
  • Ideal student is someone who loves movement, interested in trying things, new to yoga or movement
  • People who love moving, or want to love moving
  • Type of yoga for everyone; spiritual, physical, mindful, etc. Amy’s style is more physical, and less mental

Challenges of tele-teaching [11:42]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Serendipitously had filmed for some online classes just before everything closed
  • Differences between pre-filmed vs Zoom classes
  • Learning so much about how to cue instructions, tricky demo-ing, using multiple cameras and angles

Injuries and pain [14:56]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Something she loves discussing, and relevant to parkour world
  • Pain as an impetus; why people seek help and osteopathy
  • Chronic pain, how it changes the body and brain, essay in school
  • Began a quest to learn as much about pain as possible; universal experience
  • Discussion of injuries, illnesses
  • Pain and current practice, deliberate connection; marketing as someone who can help pain through yoga and movement
  • Even split of students who just do yoga vs people who are managing pain

Amy (15:16):
I love talking about injuries and pain, and I know that’s a real issue in the parkour, not a real issue, it’s a thing that happens in the parkour world, people get injured. It’s not exclusive to parkour by any means, but it’s one of the subjects that I find really fascinating, and also ongoing and long-term pain. I find that really interesting too, so if you’re happy to go there.

Craig (15:44):
Yeah. I was going to say, why are you obsessed with Pain? [crosstalk 00:15:48].

Amy (15:47):
You know why. Because as an osteopath people come to you, and I remember being in a lecture of osteopathy and the question that was being asked by the lecturer was like, “Why do people come to osteopaths?” And we all just sat there like, “I don’t know.”

Continue reading…

Craig (16:08):
I’d at least punt and say because they want help with something.

Amy (16:12):
Yeah, and basically it all comes down to pain. No one comes to you and says, “I think that I have a leg length discrepancy and that’s all.” They’re like, “I think I have a leg length discrepancy and it’s causing this to happen, which is giving me issues and pain.” Right? Everything in osteopathy, physical therapy, chiropractic is generally related to pain. There’re other examples as well, like digestion issues, and that kind of thing, but on the whole it’s a musculoskeletal pain.

Amy (16:43):
And I think the reason I find it so fascinating is because in my second year of osteopathy, oh my god, we had to write an essay on the changes that occur locally, and in the brain, when it came to chronic pain, and I remember sitting there trying to write that essay and it was so difficult, and I remember just feeling completely inept, and completely just like I have no idea, but it was also not long after my sister died so my brain just wasn’t functioning properly.

Amy (17:13):
And so, having that experience with that essay left a huge hole in my … I don’t know what you call it, but there was a void. I felt like I knew nothing, and all of the patients that I was seeing had long-term pain. Very few of them were like, “It started last week.” These were people who had it for years, and that essay would’ve helped me to understand what was going on for them, but I just couldn’t get my head around the essay.

Craig (17:41):
I have to ask if you can wrap your head around the topic now?

Amy (17:47):
Yeah. It sent me on a quest of trying to understand as much as I could about pain, so that’s why I find it fascinating. I think pain is quite common. A lot of people are living with pain, whether they want to do anything about it, or not. I think some people resign themselves to living with pain and some people are lucky enough never to have it, but I don’t even believe in that.

Craig (18:14):
I’m coming to believe that’s not true.

Amy (18:16):
Everyone experiences pain at some point in their life. Haven’t you?

Pain and parkour [23:34]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Injuries and common threads: showing off, not concentrating, too tired
  • Injury from not listening to your body, not knowing when to stop; peer pressure
  • Advice for people in the “age of fire” - If you don’t regulate yourself, the universe will do it for you.
  • Sebastien Foucan’s ages / seasons of life and practice, see his Movers Mindset episodes (ep16, ep18, and ep20)
  • Parkour tends to teach self-regulation by necessity (or reality); mental process is a necessary step, deciding on risks
“ I think the environment tends to lend itself towards self-regulation a little bit, and if you don't self-regulate then as previously discussed you will be regulated by the environment. ”

Amy Slevin

Craig (26:08):
Are there any tips or ideas you have about somebody who thinks they might be susceptible, and they’re the kind of person who doesn’t listen to their body? What can they do other than listen to your body more? Any tips?

Amy (26:18):
Okay. I hear you. I think that you’re talking about sort of youngish people.

Craig (26:23):
I don’t want to be agist, but yes.

Amy (26:27):
Okay. We can put it a different way. Seb Foucan has a way of describing different mentalities I guess.

Continue reading…

Craig (26:35):
Ages, yeah.

Amy (26:36):
Okay, so you know about his age of this, age of that, age of-

Craig (26:39):

Amy (26:39):
Okay, so it’s age of fire, right?.

Craig (26:41):
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amy (26:41):
Where you’re like, “It’s so cool. I’m so full of energy. I want to try everything. I want to throw myself around.” I’ve been there. I was age of fire until 25 minutes ago. No, I’m joking. Until relatively recently, and the universe, or I don’t know what it is, karma, or something will come along. If you don’t regulate yourself the universe will regulate you for you. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

Craig (27:10):
Yes. Yes. Concrete is hard. Reality is objective.

Amy (27:12):
Yeah. And so, if you choose not to listen to your inner voice, or listen to your body, or whatever, or your intuition, or whatever it is that’s saying “Don’t do this,” or if you hear it and if you choose to be like, “Whatever. I can’t.” [inaudible 00:27:36]. Then you’re going to get a repercussion potentially. Not every time, but there’s a potential repercussion.

Amy (27:46):
If you choose to succumb to the peer pressure you’re going to get your ass whooped by something.

Personal Routines [35:02]

  • Chapter’s transcript…
  • Drinking water immediately upon waking up, assist in the wake up process
  • Movement snacks to combat sitting down, and mind and body benefits
  • Using a standing desk, or pausing to stand and move legs
  • Moving while thinking or reading, bite-sized movements, mindful moving

Reading [38:57]

“ I think that we do have the capacity to choose, and I think a lot of people think that they don't, but we absolutely do, and sometimes it just is a question of shifting your expectations of what you expect from the world, and what you expect from yourself, from other people, and I think that can also set you free, and I think we're often prisoners about our own making regardless of our circumstances if, for example, we think that life should be different, or if we think that someone should behave a different way, so manage your expectations. ”

Amy Slevin

Contact and further information

To learn more about Amy and what she does, you can visit her website, FlowMotion Yoga, or follow her on instagram (@flowmotionyoga).