While most people spend their Saturdays socialising/shopping/slumped in front of the TV (no judgement here), I recently decided to take an alternative approach to the weekend: to embark on a quest to discover my inner warrior.
And before you start envisioning assault courses, an abundance of lycra and cries of 'Gladiators, are you ready?!', this warrior is an altogether different type of contender.
Clad in my comfiest of clothes I headed to a half-day workshop at Wild Wolf's Yoga studio, hidden amongst the hustle and bustle of Bristol city centre.
Here I found a warm and friendly welcome from Fenella Powell; a life coach and mindfulness practitioner - and the guide to my quest. Fenella's mission, and the purpose of the Warrior Woman Workshop, is to remind women how empowered, strong and beautiful they are by releasing the negative voices that say otherwise.
Having been introduced to my fellow warrior women, we stepped into a tranquil haven far removed from the stresses of everyday life. Soothing music, scented candles and a scattering of flowers all served to create a calming environment that would put even the most reluctant relaxer (i.e. me) at ease.
Encouraged to lie back, we soon found ourselves cocooned by cushions and snuggled under cosy blankets, as Fenella guided us through the first of several meditations. Throughout the workshop we were encouraged, but not required, to discuss what had brought us here.
The phrase 'not good enough' repeatedly reared its ugly head, as it sadly seems to do for many of us at some point or another.
We were then asked to further explore these negative feelings and, although it was hard to put pen to paper and write down why we felt this way, we took away the power behind the words – by setting them alight no less – and placed ourselves onto a path of positive thinking.
It was entering into a meditation where we were invited to connect with our younger self that most resonated with me.
This process helped me to realise that it's okay for us to acknowledge how far we've come and, although we might not be where we want to be in life, we can still enjoy where we are.
Fenella reminded us that there's no arrogance in being self-assured, or in recognising our good qualities. So much so, that we then wrote and shared love letters to ourselves.
Had I been asked to write a list of things I dislike about myself, I would have needed another notepad. So I felt surprised, as I'm sure my fellow warriors did, when I managed to note down a multitude of appreciations – ranging from 'I love my freckles' to 'I love my sense of determination'. Proving that, if we put our mind to it, we are all able to find the positives even when we're wading through a sea of negatives.
Four hours to find my inner warrior is no small task but I came away with a real sense of empowerment and the knowledge that I am capable, no matter what that little voice in my head tries to tell me. After all, we are all warrior women - sometimes it just takes a little self-love and care to realise it.
To be the first to hear about Fenella's next Warrior Woman Workshop visit www.fenellapowell.com/warrior-women-workshop to sign up to the waiting list.
Photography Amy Astor-Lewis.