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Giving yoga a go

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Want to give yoga a try but not quite sure where to start? Yoga teacher and locum vet Chloe Hannigan says there are plenty of ways to see if this form of exercise might make a difference for you.

1. Visit YouTube and follow a five-minute sequence

Go to Chloe’s YouTube channel (google ‘YouTube VetYogi’) and you’ll see a selection of five-minute yoga sessions to follow along with. The length is, she says, a very conscious choice.

‘What I try to bring to my yoga and meditation practices with vets is a healthy dose of realism. I know it’s hard when you’re low on energy and you’ve worked ridiculous hours to find the motivation for a 90-minute yoga class.

‘So just jump on YouTube – if you’ve got a sore neck, you can find the five-minute neck video; if you’ve got sore shoulders, the five-minute shoulders one. If you’ve got more time you can just link them up. It gives people a bit more freedom and I guarantee you’ll feel better afterwards.’

In addition, Chloe’s website – vetyogi.com – offers written tutorials for different yoga poses as well as for a variety of meditation methods.

2. Consider attending the WellVet Weekend

Running from 6 to 8 September in Cambridge, this event focuses specifically on helping attendees find ways to bolster their wellbeing. Yoga and meditation sessions run throughout and are combined with workshop and discussion sessions as well as various sports activities. Find out more at wellvet.co.uk

3. Find a yoga teacher or class in your area

The Yoga Alliance has a helpful website – yogaallianceprofessionals.org – with a searchable directory.

And if you’re thinking you may not be flexible enough for yoga, Chloe says you’re not alone – and that it’s a mistaken belief. ‘I hear this all the time. I’m teaching a course for local vets in Lancashire, where I’m working at the moment, and one of the vets said to me: “I can’t come, because I’m not flexible.”

Saying you’re too inflexible for yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to take a shower

‘And I said to him the same thing that I say to everyone who says that to me, which is a lot of people: saying you’re too inflexible for yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to take a shower. If you’re not flexible, that’s why you need yoga! If you’re too stressed, that’s even more reason to engage in things that are going to lower your stress.’

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