Back to the future
PUBLISHED: 15:58 21 April 2014
Carol Wilkinson runs yoga classes in community centres and village halls throughout Norfolk and says it is something which can be enjoyed by any age group.
“People usually start for a physical reason; your joints might be aching or you have a problem with your back, but in fact it works on the body in lots of different ways, improving strength, flexibility and posture. As well as working on the muscles, it also works the nervous system, which brings that sense of calm and helps you deal with anxiety and stress.”
Carol, who is Norfolk representative for the British Wheel of Yoga, the charitable governing body in the UK, says before signing up to a class, it is essential to do some research.
“There are lots of different types and levels of yoga so it is important to get the right class so you are not put off. Look at the Yoga East website, detailing all the local classes, and speak to the instructor to find out more,” she says. “Yoga is for everyone, you will never be too old or too unfit. If you have a medical condition, we are able to either refer you to a specialist instructor or tailor the yoga specifically for you.”
Three years ago Carol launched a number of unusual yoga retreats – starting with Retro Yoga at her friend’s vintage caravan park on the Isle of Wight. She was inspired by The Women’s League of Health and Beauty, the fitness movement from the 1940s founded by Mary Stack who had lived in India.
“Mary found that Indian women seemed to benefit from yoga with better posture, grace and flexibility, so on her return she developed her fitness programme based on yoga poses put to music. It encouraged women who had lost loved ones in the first world war to exercise together - it was the forerunner of the modern women’s fitness movement,” she says.
“I am hoping to start the retro weekends here in Norfolk but can’t find a suitable venue at the moment so any ideas are welcome.”
And breathe . . .
Sue Aberdeen has been teaching traditional yoga for 20 years and says its benefits go far beyond the weekly class and can make a huge impact on your whole lifestyle.
“I don’t see yoga as exercise. I love the fact it is completely holistic, working physically, mentally, internally and externally. You work at your own pace and shouldn’t feel under pressure,” says Sue, who lives near Watton.
“The best thing about yoga is it is something you can bring into your day-to-day life. Whether you are waiting for the kettle to boil and do a few stretches in the kitchen or are sitting in traffic lights focusing on your breathing, it can make a huge difference to how you feel.”