Two local former Primary School teachers have set up a yoga studio to support people’s mental health – as well as young people with additional needs.
Sonja Anderson and Ruth Hollis set up Sonshine Hollistic in Murieston, Livingston – opening their doors for the first time just last week.
Ruth worked at Whitburn Primary School, as well as Fallahill Primary School in Fauldhouse – while Sonja worked at Deans Primary School in Livingston.
The pair have been building up their own independent yoga businesses for a few years in West Lothian after moving on from primary teaching.
They initially created a programme for local schools, called ‘Lotus Learn Yoga’ but decided to go in for a studio together after seeing how well they worked together.
Ruth said:“It was really hard to run a yoga business during lockdown, as you might imagine, transferring to online was quite a difficult time,
“So myself and Sonja thought we would be stronger together, so we merged our two businesses in March of last year – a year on we have our own studio and our wee community of people!
“It’s been a winding road to get here certainly, but we were able to open our doors last week!
“I believe following on from lockdown we’re all very aware of our physical and mental health, as well as possibly still feeling a bit isolated from that time – which is why it’s great we have a space for people to come and feel nurtured and connect with other people.
The pair are passionate about yoga and its potential benefits – Ruth specialises in sports yoga – having worked with Ryan Giggs of Manchester United.
Sonja works closely with children with additional support needs and charities like SignPost and Jak’s Den.
Ruth explains: “Sonja has been working with kids for years – some of the kids she used to teach are adults now, who still love to come along!
“Yoga is really useful for kids with additional support needs or behavioural issues or even those just struggling to focus – which is why we created the programme originally.
“We also put on restorative calming sessions for parents from Jak’s Den – it’s fundamental to our business to be as inclusive as possible, putting on parent and child sessions and yoga classes for men.
“Generally yoga is all about flexibility, working on that flexibility and keeping your body and spine especially in good shape.
“It also gives us all these little tools for our mental health – tips and tricks for when you’re feeling overwhelmed – it all ties in with mindfulness, breath work, and meditation.
“Yoga to me is managing your life better, and helping to feel better on a daily basis – once you get into it, it filters its way through your whole life – its a way of living, a way of thinking, and a way of breathing.”
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