We’re excited to introduce you to Helen MacBain. She is currently working on creating an online video yoga series for the DCM community. In the next few weeks, she will commence hosting regular accessible sessions. Be sure to join our Support Group on Facebook to get updates.

What is your name and where do you live?  

I’m Helen and I live in a little corner of East London called Stoke Newington.  

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do when you are not working with Myelopathy.org? What do you do during your spare time?    

I work for a biotech company as the Communications Director but there’s more to me than my job. I love playing scrabble and tackling cryptic crosswords, walking my whippet Blue every day, and exercising. It’s the latter that has led me on my journey to becoming a yoga teacher. 

woman on blue yoga mat doing warrior 2 yoga pose
woman sitting cross-legged on round chair sipping from a mug

I first started practicing yoga when I was doing a lot of running – to stave off injuries. I got a lot from it so I took more and more classes before training to become a yoga teacher in 2022. 

I also love drinking tea and eating far too much chocolate whilst watching Poirot! 

What is your role at Myelopathy.org? Why did you get involved with Myelopathy.org? How did you hear about Myelopathy.org?

I work at bit.bio, which was founded by Dr Mark Kotter, who is one of the co-founders of Myelopathy.org. Working with Mark is inspiring because he is truly 100% dedicated to helping people and patients. A lot of that has rubbed off on me and given me the confidence to volunteer for Myelopathy.org. Through Mark I met Carol Sun-Schuster, a trustee at the charity, and together we realised I could potentially offer something helpful for the myelopathy community. 

The role I’ll be doing is teaching online yoga sessions to anyone who wants to come. I hope to run the sessions at times that suit the global community. They will be 15-20 minutes to start with.  

woman doing a low lunge yoga pose with arms raised on a grey mat
woman doing side angle yoga pose on a grey mat

I will also work on a series of videos designed specifically for the community to access anytime. I’ve spoken with a physio already about what would be beneficial and am doing a lot of research into chair yoga. 

What has your experience been like with Myelopathy.org?

The best bit – and perhaps the most challenging bit – has been meeting some of the community to help shape the sessions.

I thought I knew what teaching accessible yoga was but I really didn’t. They have taken so much time to talk about their experience and their expectations, and guided me towards a style of session that will be useful and beneficial. They’ve been patient, constructive, and so lovely and positive. I could not have done any of this without them and I have learnt so much about what yoga should be and how to think about being truly inclusive. We haven’t even started yet so I’m sure I’ll learn more as the sessions roll out! 

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself
  1. I once starred in a comedy sketch show that was voted one of the top 5 worst shows on the Edinburgh Fringe. 
  2. I hate bananas. It’s the only thing I won’t eat. 
  3. I met Prince (as he was then) Charles at a wind farm opening in my old job as comms manager for the UK Government. 

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