Attitudes to yoga have changed dramatically since the days when it was first marketed as a relatively new age pastime.
Traditional images of challenging stretches made a lot of people think the ‘relaxation’ technique was anything but. Over the years however, experienced teachers have totally rebranded yoga and Pilates and made sure that people of all ages from toddlers right up to the elderly can gain positive health benefits from the increasingly popular therapy.
Derry women Eileen Donnelly and Sharon Cameron opened a purpose built Yoga and Pilates studio in Derry in September, and are now seeing between 60 and 70 people through their doors every day. This is no small operation. From toddlers right up to senior citizens, everyone is catered for.
Yoga and Pilates it seems, is anything but nine to five Monday to Friday and Eileen says as teachers, their job is to help people escape from the pressures of everyday life.
“A lot of people think yoga is just about being able to do big stretches and having people stand on their heads but it’s way more than that,” says the local yoga expert.
“We practice Iyengar yoga, in fact Sharon and I were the first people to actually bring it to the North West.`
Evelyn first started using yoga methods to treat a problem she incurred after running marathons 13 years ago.
“I had quite bad back pain and that’s what first made me take up yoga,” she explains.
“It worked for me and I loved it so much that there was really no going back. When I met Sharon and we trained in Iyengar yoga in Sligo things really took off from there. We recognised that there was a big demand for it here in the city and decided to start teaching. We work with parents, toddlers, teenagers who are dealing with exam stress and we do pregnancy yoga as well.
“Times are tough at the moment and people are under a lot of stress money wise. We’re seeing far more people who want to find a way to switch off and relax in body and mind and that’s what we try to do. With our teenage yoga classes we work with a lot of young people who are getting ready to do exams and are funding themselves under real pressure.
“We’re also excited about working with Derry’s Pink Ladies soon as well. Often, people who’ve had a lymph gland removed have a restriction in shoulder movement and yoga can really help that.”
As well as yoga, Evelyn and Sharon have a therapy room at their centre where users can avail of a number of holistic treatments.
And for people who worry that they might have to stand on their heads, Evelyn has an answer for that too.
“We actually do wall rope yoga which is like anti gravity yoga so that gets round the headstand thing,” laughs Evelyn, before getting ready to take another class.
Find the Derry Yoga and Pilates Centre at Templemore Business park or for more information visit www.derryyogaandpilates.co.uk