by Angela Clark
Photos by Caroline Finn
The right kind of exercise can improve your mental health, as well as your physical wellbeing.
When asked to try out a Yoga class for this feature on inner change I didn’t quite know what to expect.
I discovered there are many types of yoga practices, so it is important to try various classes to find the one that suits you.
Julie’s Yoga, based in the Beardmore Hotel in Dalmuir, provides classes throughout the week which are suitable for all abilities.
She also offers meditation Yoga classes, these provide time to relax, unwind and slow your breathing, which is especially useful and effective during stressful moments in life.
This was the perfect place for me to start as I’m always keen to learn new coping skills for these types of situations.
The Nidra meditation class began with Julie asking us to lie down on the mats provided.
I also received a clean cosy blanket to cover myself with. The lights were dimmed and soft music started to play as she started a guided meditation.
It wasn’t long before I started to relax and savour this time for me.
It was a peaceful experience and my mind took me beyond the daily stresses of life and instead focused on places where nature thrives.
It was beautiful and I didn’t want it to end.
But all good things do come to an end, even just temporarily.
The next class was another perfect session for me as it wasn’t too intense or strenuous.
This suited me as I wasn’t ready for anything more as I have been out of exercise routine for awhile.
Julie was really helpful, ensuring I was in the correct positions throughout the class to get the maximum benefit from the stretches.
The session ended with 15 minutes of guided meditation that nearly put me to sleep.
Classes For Every Ability Level
Falling asleep in a more advanced class was more difficult as this practice is a little more demanding.
I discovered muscles I never knew I had and found some of the poses difficult.
But with practice, I quickly learned to do what my body allowed me. Like most things you try you have to keep at it to experience the benefits.
Anne Murray is a client who has seen great health improvements after attending Julie’s classes regularly for the past six months.
She said: “I was told about Julie’s Yoga a couple of years ago. I’ve tried quite a few yoga classes but definitely she’s the best I’ve been to.
“It helps me with flexibility and stops me being so tight after exercising.
“The meditation at the end helps my mental well-being as it allows me to relax and focus on breathing techniques that help get my body into the parasympathetic state of healing.”
Julie herself loved the way Yoga made her feel, so she decided to train and has been teaching clients for the past four years. She said: “I loved Yoga and wanted to take it further as I knew there were different aspects to it and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.
Take What You Learn Back Into Everyday Life
“What you practise on the mat you take into everyday life. You get stillness of the mind rather than your head going everywhere; it brings your focus back to the present moment in time.”
Many of her clients have experienced improvements with their mental health and become more body aware of their physical and emotional needs.
Julie said: “It’s absolutely fantastic for mental health.
“We do a breathing practice that slows down everything. If you are concentrating on the breath you are not concentrating on anything outside.
“You might find the mind wanders but you bring it back slowly and through practice you can maintain concentration for longer each time.”
To find out more about looking after your mental and physical health visit Julie’s Yoga on Facebook for a list of classes or contact the Beardmore Hotel on 0141 951 5151.