Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are excellent low-impact activities that provide substantial health benefits. They primarily focus on improving balance, flexibility and core strength; however, are also known to boost mental health and wellbeing. A good instructor can adapt these exercises and as a result make them accessible to all, irrespective of age or ability level.
Evidence suggests that these low impact activities can be beneficial if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, muscular dysfunction, joint complaints such as arthritis, neurological disorders or are at risk of falls.
Furthermore, mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress can also benefit from these forms of activity.
Yoga: is an ancient form of exercise that is largely based around performing different postures called asanas, connected by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by rhythmic breathing and often ending with relaxation.
Yoga is truly a mind and body exercise, it has been shown to improved strength, flexibility and balance. In addition, it has a strong focus on breathing, which is proven to improve mental health and wellbeing.
There are various types of yoga: Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa (flow) or Power to name but a few.
Pilates: was initially developed by Joseph Pilates, who during World War 1, was interned as a prisoner of war. During this time he worked as a hospital orderly, and developed highly successful exercise regimens for patients. After the war he moved to New York where he opened ‘The Pilates Studio’, which quickly became world famous amongst ballerinas such as Martha Graham. Since his death in 1967, Pilates as a form of exercise has continued to thrive and evolve worldwide.
Pilates today can be either be based on a mat or reformer (resistance bed), and uses body weight or small equipment such as resistance bands or exercise balls. It aims to strengthen your body overall with the emphasis being on improving core strength and stability, whilst performing movements from a stable base. The health benefits of Pilates include improved posture, muscle toning and better balance and mobility. Evidence also suggests that Pilates can be beneficial if you suffer from back pain.
Tai Chi: was originally created as a form of martial art. The essential principles of Tai Chi include the integration of the mind with the body; control of movements and breathing; the generation of internal energy and mindfulness. The ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate the life energy (qi) within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body. There are various styles of Tai Chi which differ in speed and the poses you are required to hold.
While you can do most Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi exercises at home yourself, with the help of an app, You Tube, book or DVD, it is advised that you start by going to a class and learn with a fully qualified instructor.
Since anyone can set up Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi classes please ensure you check your instructors level of qualification prior to commencing a class. Whilst classes held in established gyms and recreational centres generally require their instructors to be qualified to a certain level, plenty of other well organised classes can be found running out of village and church halls.
A good instructor will always request you fill in a pre-participation health screen, in order that they are able to take into consideration any health conditions and adapt exercises to your individual need. They will also be able to signpost you to the most appropriate class to get you started.
An instructor led class will be able to correct any mistakes you may make, and advise on stretches, poses and manoeuvres best suited for you. In turn, this will reduce the chance of strain or injuries compared to practicing by yourself, and enable you to get the most out of the activity.
As for equipment, you will need comfortable clothing which allows you to move and stretch freely. You may also need a mat, as some classes require you to bring your own.
Redbourn has several classes and practitioners. To discover the right exercise type for you, speak to a local instructor and find a class that suits your individual need and goal.
Spinal specialist physiotherapist and Pilates instructor, offering group and 1:1 classes.
A) Pilates for low back pain class 7:30-8:30pm Wednesday evenings
B) Pilates for runners class 8:30-9:30pm Wednesday evenings.
As part of AIR’ coronavirus support Sarah has produced free wellbeing workshops which can be accessed on You Tube. Here are the links:
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 1
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 2
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 3
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 4
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 5
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 6
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 7
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 8
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 9
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 10
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 11
Sarah Parr Pilates Week 12
Lucy qualified in 2014 as an advanced clinical sport and remedial massage therapist. She is an experienced practitioner who treats a wide range of patients from marathon runners to elderly patients, pre and post-natal ladies and office workers.
She is also a qualified personal trainer and yoga teacher and is passionate to help patients to achieve pain-free movement off of the massage couch. She likes to encourage patients to continue to move and stretch to help manage and prevent injury. She is a big believer in the principle “use it or lose it!”
Each patient Lucy sees, she treats with undivided care and attention and tailors the treatment plan to their individual needs. “Every body and everybody is unique”.
Contact Lucy for private treatment or to attend classes at:
Body Mechanix, 69B High St Harpenden, AL5 2SL
Tel: 01582 945900
As part of AIR’ coronavirus support Lucy has produced free wellbeing workshops which can be accessed on You Tube. Here are the links:
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 1
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 2
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 3
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 4
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 5
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 6
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 7
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 8
Lucy Hurley Yoga Week 9
Nicola worked for 10 years as a nurse – left her post as Sister of Gynaecology outpatients to go to Japan for 6 years, where she worked as a nursery nurse for 1 year before her first son was born. She has qualifications in Gardening and Floristry – but found her real passion when she trained as a Yoga teacher in 2017. She never intended to teach, just to learn more, but “when you see the benefits of something you want to pass it on.” Since then she has taken her Yin 50 hour training and completed her level 1 I-rest Yoga-Nidra training. “I continue to learn and hopefully pass on what I do. My main wish is for people to leave my classes feeling calmer, but also gaining the many physical benefits yoga brings.”
Contact Nicola for her live classes:
Contact Gemma for her live classes:
As Live Well with AiR Gemma has produced free wellbeing workshops which can be accessed on You Tube. Here are the links:
Gemma Supple Strength Week 1
Gemma Supple Strength Week 2
Gemma Supple Strength Week 3
Gemma Supple Strength Week 4
Gemma Supple Strength Week 5
Gemma Supple Strength Week 6
Gemma Supple Strength Week 7
Gemma Supple Strength Week 8
Gemma Supple Strength Week 9
Gemma Supple Strength Week 10
Gemma Supple Strength Week 11
Gemma Supple Strength Week 12