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Yoga for April 2023

Gail Willis is an exponent and teacher of Hatha Yoga.  She brings Choice readers a new exercise every month.

Gail has recruited her mother Janet Rogers to help demonstrate the exercises.

In each picture Janet now in her eighties illustrates the basic position for each exercise – the easiest one for the beginner.  Gail illustrates the maximum position for each exercise.

You should start following Janet’s position and try to increase gradually towards Gail’s advanced level.

“Only build up to a level that you are comfortable with.  Some exercises you will be able to do the maximum level of stretch.  Others you will achieve only the basic move or just a little more. It doesn’t matter because even the easiest will be good for you and make you feel good,” said Gail who is now a full-time yoga instructor in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Hatha Yoga is one of the safest forms of exercise to take up whatever your level of fitness.

“Yoga originated from India over 5,000 years ago.  So it is one of the oldest forms of exercise for the body.  It provides physical exercise carried out at your own level with the aim to stretch, flex and tone keeping the body, particularly the back strong and healthy.

“Because the movements are slow, therefore controlled, the muscles are not put under any tension it is a very safe form of exercise, said Gail.

The nice thing about Hatha Yoga is that it does not matter how old you are when you start and you do not have to be “fit” to begin.

Gail runs local classes, but she can work out programmes for individuals to do at home.  Contact her on 01536 515311 or mobile: 07762 575118.

“If you want to find a class where you live try your county council or local school or anywhere that runs evening classes.  Even the local tourist information centre is a good source,” said Gail.

“If you are on-line, the Internet is a good way of contacting councils and schools, but if not, phone round,” she added.

Caution. If you are taking medication, have recently had an operation, have a chronic complaint or a recent injury, or if your mobility is restricted, check with a doctor or a physiotherapist before beginning.

Rounding the Back.

This position stretches all the back and neck muscles and the raised leg muscles. On lifting the leg it works the hip joint.

How to do it:

Yoga_pose_rounding_the_backSit in a chair and raise one leg up and hold with both hands like Janet and look down to your leg.  That is the gentle pose - hold for up to five seconds and breathe.  Gail takes it further by slowly bringing her knee and nose closer.  Again, you can hold for up to five seconds.

To come out of both poses lift your head as you lower your foot, bringing the hands onto your lap. 

Repeat on the other side. This can be repeated again on both legs but never let it cause pain.

Next month: Variations of “The Tree”

Let us know how you get on.

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