Volunteers help at specialist yoga class

Yoga teacher Celia Grieve helps student Pam Harrison at the class at Yorkshire Yoga Centre (S)
Yoga teacher Celia Grieve helps student Pam Harrison at the class at Yorkshire Yoga Centre (S)

Spending all her time in a wheelchair, Pam Harrison says any chance to get out of her chair “feels like flying”.

Pam was diagnosed with MS almost 40 years ago, and now regularly goes to an exercise class held at the Yorkshire Yoga Centre in Knaresborough, run especially for people with disabilities.

“I get up every morning and am lowered into my chair, then at the end of the day I get back into bed. There is never any time when I am not in my chair.

“To get out of it in this class - it is like flying.

“I haven’t got the words to express how it feels.”

The class is run by professional yoga teacher Celia Grieve, who has adapted yoga techniques to help people who have lost the movement in their limbs.

Celia works with the yoga centre’s founder Laura Bissell and fellow yoga teacher Jenny Howsam to run the class once a week but relies on volunteers to help the students individually.

While the centre has overhead hoists to help students get in and out of their wheelchairs, volunteers help the students with their yoga movements on the mats.

The classes offer many different health benefits, Pam and Celia said, including improved circulation and breathing, and relaxation techniques.

It is the only class is the only one in the area suitable for disabled people, and people come fromas far away as Ilkely to attend it.

For students like Pam, it is the only chance they have to move and stretch their muscles.

She added: “We really should do this all the time.

“I used to go to yoga before I had MS, so when this class started it was a great gift.”

Another regular student, Julia, added: “When you sit in a wheelchair and don’t move much, it can be bad for the circulation.

“Being stretched and moved helps that, and a lot of things.”

But the classes are struggling with a lack of volunteers, nd Celia and the yoga centre are appealing for more people in the community to get involved.

The class runs from around noon to 2.15pm on Thursdays, and regular volunteers can attend some classes at the centre for free.

Current volunteer Kym Boothroyd has been involved for around 14 months.

She said: “It’ very rewarding and very humbling, but it is also a lot of fun.

“There’s a great bunch of people here, and we have a bit of a laugh.”

Volunteers do not need to have any experience with yoga, Celia added.

Anybody interested in volunteering can contact the Yorkshire Yoga Centre on 01423 864343 or through the website on www.yorkshireyoga.co.uk.