Living here in Suffolk is great.
For a number of reasons, of course , but one of the best reasons for living here is that you’re never too far away from the beach.
No matter what time of year it is, it’s always a great idea to head out to the coast and take a calming stroll on these sandy shores.
But what about doing a spot of yoga on the beach?
That’s where Lindsey Franklin comes in. Keen to make yoga more accessible to all, this local instructor has recently taken to the beach to offer low-cost yoga sessions on the sand, open to anyone who wishes to take part, regardless of age or ability.
Yet where did her love affair with the time-honoured discipline stem from?
Originally from London, Lindsey moved to Los Angeles when she was in her early 20s – and it was there she discovered yoga.
“It was LA during the 80s, so everybody had a bit of yoga in their lives, and that’s how I found it. A friend of mine invited me to one associated with her classes, and until then I’d never thought about it myself. I always associated it with more of a hippie vibe – but when I got there, I found out it was a lot more than that. ”
Lindsey admits at first she found yoga ‘a bit slow and boring’, but as she kept at it, she soon discovered the many benefits it brought.
“Through yoga, I found meditation, and it’s the yoga side of things that I’ve really enjoyed over the years. And, of course , the physical practice has been great for keeping strong and supple. ”
Lindsey has kept the practice up ever since, and doing yoga at home for 10 minutes at a time, three to four times a week.
After the girl time in LA, Lindsey moved back to London and worked various jobs before becoming a primary school teacher – and it was during this time that she sought further solace in the discipline.
“The stress of primary teaching got me into practising daily, and that’s when I became very serious about yoga. ”
And eight years ago, Lindsey qualified as a professional trainer, swapping her school teaching career for something more spiritual.
A technical teacher, Lindsey is trained to teach Hatha yoga, hot yoga, plus Ashtanga. In addition , she is also qualified in yoga massage therapy and gong healing.
“My classes include meditation and relaxation, offering a blend of styles from gentle to demanding. I’m a technical teacher, which means I’ll adjust you and teach you each pose carefully so you know what you are doing and why, ” she says.
And what was this that inspired her to leave the hustle and bustle of London for Suffolk?
“I first moved to Hadleigh as a single parent, and it’s a lovely little space to be, and a nice place to bring up a child. ”
The more Lindsey became acquainted with Suffolk, the more attuned she became with its natural beauty – which in turn lent itself to training yoga outdoors.
“My time in LA inspired me to teach on the beach. And after qualifying, I wasn’t able to find many outdoor courses. So that’s why I moved to Felixstowe, so I could deliver my own classes outside.
“Being outdoors is such a completely different experience. Yoga can be lovely indoors, of course , but there’s something about doing it outdoors that is so fun and freeing, and I think that tends to inspire people to give it a go. ”
Lindsey often finds that people join her classes after watching her teach on Felixstowe beach.
“They come along and get involved – I think it’s the relaxed informalness of it that I really love. ”
But what are the benefits of yoga, and how can it help improve your overall wellbeing?
“I’d say one of the main reasons why people say they don’t do yoga is because they can’t do the poses or that will they’re not flexible enough. What I say to people however is that it’s not about flexibility or mobility – but rather promoting strength with versatility, ” Lindsey explains.
“We take our bodies for granted, and we always think they’re going to work in a way we want them to. But if you want to keep your body useful and still do the things you want to do in your later years, you’re going to need to find something to keep everything mobile. And yoga is an one-stop-shop in doing that just. It’s calming, and the breathwork is good for your lungs, as well as your overall body and mind. ”
So how does a session with Lindsey on the beach work?
“Every teacher is different, and you need to find a teacher for you. But the way We work is that I start the session with deep breathing. I call it ‘arriving around the map’. We all sit down in the space we’re in, and take some breaths and allow ourselves to let go everything that came before it, so we’re really in the practice.
“Everyone’s mind wanders off, so what I say is that if you catch yourself wandering off, come back to your breath. Meditation isn’t about clearing your mind and thinking about nothing, it is about being in the moment and not in your thoughts. And the best thing about the beach is that you can ask people to hear the waves, feel the breeze on their face, and the sun on their skin. ”
Lindsey starts her sessions with around five minutes of breathwork before moving onto the more physical aspect of yoga.
“Yoga is for everyone. I’ve taught children, all the way through to octogenarians, plus everyone in-between, of all levels and abilities. If you’ve got limited mobility, even if you can not use your legs, there’s always something you can do. It’s all about finding the right teacher and talking to them to discuss what you need from yoga.
“I tell people they’re in charge of their body, and if some thing hurts, don’t do it. Don’t do anything that’s likely to compromise your body. ”
If beach yoga exercises sounds like it’s for you, why not give it a go?
Lindsey can be found on Felixstowe Beach opposite Fludyers Hotel most Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings, weather permitting. There is a £10 suggested donation for about an hour of exercise.
To find out more about Lindsey and her sessions, visit www.yoga-attic.co.uk or get in touch by emailing [email protected] com
Yoga at a glance
Yoga refers to a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices which aim to control and still the mind as well as strengthen the body. Practised worldwide, yoga offers roots in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Some of the most commonly practised forms of yoga include Hatha yoga (yoga that teaches physical postures), hot yoga (yoga performed under hot and humid conditions), plus Ashtanga (an energetic style of yoga that synchronises breath with movements).
Studies have shown that regularly practising yoga has a myriad of health benefits – including increased flexibility, muscle strength, and tone; improved respiration, energy, and vitality; a more balanced metabolism; an improvement in cardio and circular health; improved athletic performance; and protection from injury.