How yoga helped Norwich woman lose weight
Better strength, flexibility and stamina – the benefits of yoga are well known but one person has found it has helped her with weight loss and body toning, says Abigail Saltmarsh.
It has been about two years since Caroline Rogerson, from Blofield Heath, first began to notice the difference yoga was making to her body.
Caroline, a mum-of-three and former recruitment consultant, found herself at her heaviest and most lethargic a few years after having her last child. So she took up sessions with yoga teacher Kerry Radley, from Salhouse.
'I am 5ft 6in tall and was always between about 9st 7lb and 10st in weight,' Caroline explained. 'After having my youngest child, however, and going through an early menopause, I found myself at about 12st 7lb.
'I felt devastated at that time. Although I did not want to have another child, I felt old and really struggled to keep my weight down. I had aching limbs and I felt like a little old lady.'
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Caroline, now 48 with children aged 15, 13 and nine, began to consider her options but it was not until her youngest child was at school that she felt she had time to really seek a solution.
'I had done yoga before and started to think about taking it up again. I found Kerry's number and she was very encouraging,' she said. 'It took a lot of courage for me to go to that first session.'
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Kerry, 39, and a mum-of-three herself, teaches yoga in the Norwich area. She has studied anatomy and physiology, asana (yoga positions) and pranayama (breathing control), as well as eastern history and philosophy, class management and first aid, and is certified by the British Wheel of Yoga.
'People come to me for different reasons – stress, ill-health, shyness, weight problems and much more,' said Kerry.
'Footballers, rugby players, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and business professionals all do yoga in an effort to improve their game and careers. Yoga changes not only your body shape, but also your mind and the way you look at yourself.
'The practice can help tone the body and reduce cellulite. It is suitable for people of any age, sex or ability.
'I actively encourage people to practise in a soft, relaxed way with no strain. Then they will work deeper muscle tissue and progress much faster,' said Kerry, who teaches Hatha Yoga, a mixture of styles and techniques, and Yoga Nidra, which helps to attain a deeply relaxed state.
'It's all about breaking the competitive mindset that you so often see at gyms. Yoga helps to reduce stress – and stress affects the metabolism. This can then cause you to retain more calories, which turn into fat.
'Yoga also improves digestion, and so can help with constipation, water retention and bloating, and improve the blood circulation to the major endocrine glands that control the appetite, moods and sleep patterns,' she explained.
'Yoga has helped me and many of my students to improve the self image and become much more self confident – self confidence can often be lost with weight gain.'
Kerry believes diets to be a 'quick fix' where excess weight often went straight back on.
'The yoga tradition is to eat until you are three-quarters full and to tone and strengthen your body. This works really well.
'I don't diet myself. I eat well and I do have treats, but food doesn't rule my life. I am very toned with the right amount of girl's fat in the right places.
'It is a nice feeling pushing 40 and being fit and strong. I have a better figure now than I had 15 years ago – and I have had three kids since then!'
Caroline started noticing the difference in her body shape and weight almost immediately.
'I began to feel much more energetic as soon as I began yoga, and, as I became fitter, also started to feel better about myself.
'I have found through doing yoga three or four times a week I have lost about a stone and a half. I don't do stupid diets but, because I feel better, I am eating much better,' she said.
'I would like to lose a little more weight but this is a great way to do it slowly and sensibly. Through Kerry's classes I have seen my cellulite reduce and my body tone up. I have no intention of ever stopping now. I have found something that is safe, healthy and really works for me.'
For more information on Kerry's classes at Sprowston, Salhouse, Spixworth, Wroxham, Horstead and Blofield, call 01603 784705 or 07747 014164, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.norwichyoga.co.uk