YOGA could help change your life.
That’s the message from a St Annes grandmother, who says the ancient art has helped her with a whole host of problems.
After practising yoga for close to five years, Julie Holmes says she wants to share with other people just what a difference it has made for her.
The mum-of-two said: “There are lots of obvious improvements – improved posture, improved strength and improved flexibility, especially in my spine.
“The relaxation techniques I’ve learned have helped in other situations – if I am anxious or nervous or worried.
“But yoga has also had some not so obvious effects. It has improved my sleep. I had sinus problems and used to wake up with a really dry mouth, but those have been overcome.
“My nerves have been calmed. I have had shingles twice and it’s so easy to get caught up with everything. I feel because I now have greater control over my body, I can control my mind too.
“I was doing lots of exercise like running and so on, but now I’m aware I need to perhaps sometimes be kinder to my body.
“Now because of all these other things, my mood has improved.
“Brenda, the instructor, explains the benefits of the postures and I can now use the exercises in every day life – they are simple, but effective.
“I can now move my toes – about five years ago, when I first started going to yoga, all my joints were really stiff.
“There’s an education aspect to yoga, which I really like too. Brenda tells you about Sanskrit and the names of the postures.
“I think some people have an impression it’s just for elite people, with perfect bodies and so on, or for those who are very flexible.
“That’s not the case at all – yoga is for everyone, regardless of size, shape, age or fitness level.
“If people have injuries or particular problems, Brenda will help them work around them or suggest exercises which may help.”
Brenda Ward, a British Wheel of Yoga teacher, who teaches yoga at various venues around the Fylde coast, started as an instructor 10 years ago after her own back injury was resolved by yoga.
She was a qualified solicitor at the time and gave up that career to teach yoga.
Brenda, of St Annes, said: “My back injury was helped by my own yoga teacher. I gave up practising law and sought to help others in the way yoga had helped me.
“My aim is to bridge the gap between the beautiful, ancient tradition of yoga and the needs of modern-day life.
“There are all the benefits Julie has mentioned – improved flexibility and mobility, improved digestive function, better sleeping, a healthier immune system, people find they have more energy and eating can be become more mindful – with people thinking more about what they eat and wanting to eat healthier.
“A famous yoga teacher once said ‘words cannot express the true value of yoga, it has to be experienced.’”
Brenda teaches at various venues across the Fylde coast – including Bannatyne’s and De Vere, as well as The Dalmeny Hotel, in St Annes, where she teaches Mondays 9.30am until 11am and Thursdays 1.30 until 3pm.