Brothers Barrie and Martyn Chalk are used to new challenges. Their film production company Chalkstar Films takes them on frequent adventures; finding stories, making movies and handling stars. It’s a creative and energetic job, needing fitness, calmness and a great eye.
Their yoga journey began at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Martyn noticed his balance was off and old injuries including a fractured back and ankle were painful again: “I realised I was leaning against a wall to put my socks on, my back was hurting and I couldn’t move with ease – not great for a man in his forties with an active job hefting cameras”. Older brother Barrie had considered yoga some years before when his leg started cramping while driving his small sports car. Eventually, encouraged by the fact that ever-youthful celebrity Sting is a famous advocate, he signed them both up for classes. “It was a bit daunting at first”, says Barrie, “probably not the thing that big blokes think of as an exercise choice but we’ve worked with many charismatic and capable men in the film business who also do yoga, so there wasn’t much resistance to giving it a serious go – certainly not consciously”.
They began with one class a week and are now going together three or four times weekly. “The benefits are just huge” says Martyn “and I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me. As long as I keep doing yoga, I don’t have pain. Learning to breathe properly and stay calm is also enormous. It fits my more spiritual leanings and I fully appreciate the joy of little victories”. Martyn is now flowing through many repetitions of press-ups and lower-downs as part of his regular yoga sequence. He can feel certain postures stretching his hips and correcting his back issues. “I am stronger and more flexible without a doubt”.
Barrie says he has only had to see his osteopath once since starting regular yoga practice. He has fewer muscle issues, his back is better and he feels calmer. When asked about his favourite yoga pose, he elects Warrior Two – a powerful standing pose “which makes you feel ready for anything. And when I go into Triangle, I feel my back click into place”.
Chalkstar is about to begin a major new feature film project in Spain, which could take Martyn and Barrie away from home for a few months. But they are not concerned about leaving their yoga behind as the lead actor’s coach is a prominent local yoga instructor and there’s a keen practitioner in the cast. Lights, camera, action boys!
Our Tales from the Mat come from the wonderful Joy Le Fevre, yoga teacher and founder of yogidup.com.