Once yoga was the domain of ancient gurus dressed in saffron loincloths and sporting waist length beards on some hippy ashram in India, but these days, it’s one of the best all round forms of exercise, combining movement and mindfulness.
Whether you’ve not moved from your office chair in years, can’t recollect what your toes look like, or take part in sports regularly, yoga has something to offer. It’s a great way to gently increase your core strength, flexibility and balance while reducing stress, and it works for people of all ages. You’ll work at your own pace without being pressured. Studies suggest that regular yoga sessions can help reduce blood pressure, alleviate depression and reduce the risk of falls for the elderly. Best of all, there’s no need to wear a loincloth – loose clothing is preferred.
There are many different styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Iyengar and Sivananda as well as the relaxing and soporific Yoga Nidra. You’ll find classes in many of the towns and villages throughout the region, with classes held in gyms, sports centres, community and town halls. David Lloyd Aberdeen, for example, offers both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga as well as beginners classes. Look for a well-qualified teacher, such as Louisa Craig, who runs classes in Aberdeenshire and teaches during Capo Cottages Yoga retreats too, or try the Yoga Centre in Aberdeen.
There are also a number of yoga fusion variants, combining yoga with pilates and dance for an all-round work out, such as Barre Concept. Denise Gracie of Body Grace Newmachar and Emma Duncan of Epic Fitness both offer Barre Concept classes.
Whatever you choose, you’ll be taking those first steps towards a healthier lifestyle and a form of exercise that you can practise for years.