Fitness: Walk, talk and do yoga in Thetford Forest
Fancy perfecting your asanas beneath towering trees? Bethany Last, of Serenity Yoga in Suffolk, has launched Walking Yoga at Thetford Forest. Louise Cummings finds out more
How long have you been practising yoga and what attracted you to it?
“I have been practicing yoga since I was just 16, so 10 years! Yikes! I wanted to stretch and tone, becoming aware that as a teen I wasn’t as fit as I could be. I started yoga (Feel Joyous yoga with Wendy, who is now one of my best friends) to stretch the muscles I was using at Zumba and the gym. Funnily enough doing yoga with Wendy taught me how to meditate and the pressures of exams and other teen stresses just melted away. Those once weekly yoga classes were a spiritual solace.
Can you tell us a little about Serenity Yoga?
Serenity Yoga is a combination of Hatha, Iyengar and Kundalini yoga. Anyone, of any ability, age or experience level is welcome at my classes. They are tailored to each participant, meaning every class is ever so slightly different. I founded Serenity after discovering a lack of yoga classes in my area (I teach in some remote villages), which are accessible to all, warm and friendly. I feel that my job is done if I make one person giggle during a class! We don’t take ourselves very seriously; everyone - including me - has days where standing on one leg just isn’t an option!
We'd love to hear about Walking Yoga; when did it start and what is it?
I founded Serenity Yoga Walks in December 2020 after the venue I was using at High Lodge in Thetford Forest became unavailable due to Covid restrictions. After a serious panic about ‘what am I going to do? It’s absolutely freezing to do yoga outside!’, the active forest coordinator at the time, Jake, and I came up with Yoga Walks. I lead a walk up to 2.5 miles long, we chat, giggle, set the world to rights and sometimes tears are shed. After five minutes we take five minutes of standing yoga poses. This pattern carries on through the whole walk until we finish with a 10- minute standing meditation. I run them every other Saturday from High Lodge Thetford Forest, and at Ickworth Park one Saturday each month.
What are the health benefits of Walking Yoga?
Walking yoga is fantastic for stretching without using wrists or knees; if you have issues with these, it can prevent you from doing a mat-based class. Also, the more social element is incredible for our mental health. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Finish all that off with outdoor meditation, surrounded by birdsong and leaves rustling in the breeze - you will leave feeling the weight has lifted from your shoulders.
What has the feedback been from clients?
It has been brilliant. One client said ‘Walking Yoga is beneficial on so many levels, walking through the forest with like-minded people, practicing yoga poses and listening to the wildlife is totally relaxing; this one hour of the week I will not miss! I meditate on a regular basis but meditation in the forest was a new experience for me and so liberating.’”
If you’d like to try Walking Yoga, you can book online at serenityyogasuffolk.com, email email@example.com or call 07930199582
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