Yoga class strikes pose

Yoga teacher Roger Hooton G120421-2a
Yoga teacher Roger Hooton G120421-2a

IF you’ve ever wondered how Madonna and Sting stay in such good shape it might be worth taking a peek at what goes on twice a week at St George’s church hall in Gainsborough.

On Monday and Wednesday evenings Roger Hooton can be found teaching ashtanga yoga, the keep fit regime followed by the famous.

The 55-year-old first learnt the techniques about 10 years ago in Ireland and in 2008 spent a month in India studying the discipline and practising seven hours a day.

“There are many, many benefits with this type of yoga,” he said.

“It improves flexibility and makes you stronger, it’s great for rebalancing the skeletal system, it gives you core strength which supports your back, and teaches you how to breathe properly and deeper.”

“It also improves your concentration and helps with relaxation.”

“I absolutely love it and wish I had started when I was eight.”

Roger teaches primary level ashtanga yoga and he describes his classes as being like a sandwich, with the middle part of the session placed between starting and finishing sequences.

He begins with the sun salutation, a series of standing postures to loosen up, before moving on to the ‘filling’, a series of seated postures.

“Then we have a finishing sequence of postures designed to bring you out of the practice. The whole lesson lasts for an hour.”

“I teach using the mysore method, which is letting each individual work at their own pace, rather than having the whole class doing the same thing at the same time.”

“It’s like having a private lesson within the class. Some people have strength but need to improve flexibility, and vice-versa. They learn the salutations and then I leave them to practise for a little while and it’s a gradual build-up.”

“I also do Pilates so if someone has a back problem for instance, I can modify things for them.”

Jean and David Langford, of Westgate, Scotton, have been practising ashtanga yoga for nearly four years.

Jean, 59, said: “A family member in the south practises it but not a lot of people do it in this area so I was absolutely over the moon when I found out Roger was doing it.”

“It’s a way of keeping fit and can be quite tiring but it’s doing me the most good of anything I have done before.”

“I’ve got improved muscle tone and can bend more, I can touch my forehead on my knees now.”

She said David, 60, had restricted movement because of health problems but he was also able to do more now than he could when they started. “You have to think about what you’re doing because the breathing is so important, so it forces you to focus,” added Jean.

Julia Cullen, 46, of Highfield Terrace, Glentham, goes to the classes with her 13-year-old daughter Molly.

“I was very inflexible, I couldn’t touch my toes at all, I couldn’t get past my knees hardly,” said Julia.

“Molly does gymnastics and is much more flexible but she decided to come along with me one day and she enjoys it as well.”

“You get out of it what you put in, it’s about pushing yourself.”

*For more information call Roger on 07961 909017.