Park Yoga proves a big hit after a successful summer at Queen’s Park, Burnley – the north’s first and only venue
Outdoor Yoga has proved a big success at Queen’s Park in Burnley – the first and only park in the north of England to host the free weekly gathering.
Called Park Yoga, it has only been staged in 30 parks across the south so far, but thanks to funding from Burnley Leisure and Culture (BLC), we launched it in Burnley in May, with the latest session on September 17th being the last in this year’s series.
We will be re-starting the classes next spring, following this year’s encouraging attendances that saw an average of 75 people taking part each week over the 20-week season.
Cheryl Goodman, our Health Partnership Manager, says: “As a local charity, we are keen to continue to invest in our community. Park Yoga is a fantastic example of something that’s for everyone and encourages residents to visit and make use of one of the town’s amazing parks.”
Park Yoga perfect for beginners
Like its parkrun namesake, Park Yoga takes place on the same day and at the same time every week: in this case 9.30-10.30am every Sunday. Everyone is welcome regardless of their age, ability and experience level.
The pace of the sessions and the movements are gentle, making them perfect for people wanting to try yoga for the first time.
Dr Shine Babu, an experienced registered Hatha Yoga instructor, who led the sessions, says practicing yoga outdoors is noted for supercharging all the benefits of doing it indoors – reduced stress, depression, anxiety, and blood pressure, whilst it can help improve mobility, psychological wellbeing, and quality of life.
One participant, Paul, comments: “I was apprehensive to try Park Yoga at first, as I’m not the most flexible person. I’m very glad I did though, as I soon realised that most people there had various abilities and without standing out in the crowd, I became very comfortable very quickly and benefited from every session I attended.”
Another regular, Julie, says: “Having practiced yoga for over 45 years, I have found Shine, the Park Yoga teacher, to be one of the best I have encountered. He has made the Yoga sessions so inclusive, with his kind, caring and compassionate style.
“I have loved every session and to be able to practice outside in nature has been so beautiful and beneficial. I’m already looking forward to starting again next year! Thank you to everyone who made Park Yoga happen in one of the beautiful parks in Burnley.”
And Mark says: “Speaking as a novice where Yoga is concerned, I couldn’t have enjoyed Sunday mornings more than I have.
“Shine is a brilliant teacher because he understands people have varying abilities and fitness levels and tells his students to listen to their own bodies and so either modify some of the postures or take a rest. He even walks among us and gives encouragement.
“The venue at Queen’s Park is absolutely brilliant and being outside in nature in what turned out to be mostly sunny Sunday mornings was fantastic. A big thank you to Burnley Leisure and the council for organising this for us, it is so appreciated.”
Some more comments we have received
“Never been in Queen’s Park before. Park Yoga encouraged me to explore more and have since been for runs in the park.”
“It’s not for experienced people, it’s for anyone starting at the beginning. No equipment needed; a towel is fine.”
“It’s friendly and welcoming. There is a real mixture of abilities and Shine makes sure the session is suitable for everyone.”
“Not what I expected at all, but I thoroughly enjoyed the class, the teacher and the surroundings.”
“Being outside and listening to the surrounding nature offers an extraordinary peace and calm to body and mind.”
“Park Yoga makes you a better park runner.”
“I can’t wait for it to start again next year.”
Extolling the benefits of Yoga
Yoga is known for its beneficial impact on physical and mental wellbeing and is recognised by the NHS as good exercise for helping to build strength and flexibility.
Melanie de Meester, Health and Wellbeing Coach at Burnley West Primary Care Network, says: “The goals and values of the Park Yoga are very much aligned with our local priorities of increasing access to enjoyable and inclusive ways to be active.
“Additionally, the fact that the sessions are held outside, supports our focus on creating more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors via Burnley’s #OutdoorTown campaign, which simply means we focus on promoting the wonderful outdoor spaces we have throughout the borough.”
Kieron Roberts, Parks Development Manager at Burnley Borough Council, adds: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Burnley Leisure and Culture and the NHS to facilitate free yoga in Queens Park. The turnout this year has been amazing, and it’s been great to see so many people using the park for health and wellbeing purposes.”
To find out more and discover when the sessions return, follow Park Yoga Burnley on Facebook, or visit the website www.parkyoga.co.
Meanwhile, the 5k Burnley Parkrun continues at Towneley Park, Burnley, every Saturday morning at 9am.