LSPAA Winner's Profile - Ann Riddell
Ann Riddell won the Health & Wellbeing Award at this year’s Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards for her fantastic work engaging the community with yoga through Ann's Yoga Lounge. The Health and Wellbeing Award recongnises significant achievements in using physical activity to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing, emphasising how being physically active plays an important role in supporting good mental health.
Ann has been running Ann’s Yoga Lounge in Heckington for 4 years. The award judges recognised the contribution that Ann had made to the health of the local community. Over the last year she has helped over 300 local people increase their mobility and wellbeing offering a variety of classes to suit all ages & abilities, delivered in a friendly, personal way. Alongside this Ann has been offering yoga to North Kesteven District Council; Employees working from home hunched over computers have particularly benefited from these lunchtime movement breaks. Ann has worked on the Fit for Life programme with Chair Yoga for the less mobile and delivered seated yoga to this year's Lincolnshire NHS Practice Manager Conference too.
Find out more about Ann, her passion for yoga and her future plans below:
How did you first get into Yoga?
I took up yoga in my late teens and after many years of attending sporadic classes (there wasn’t a lot around in Lincolnshire back in the day) I rediscovered it when I started running in my late 40’s, using it as cross training. Around this time I also had a stressful job and found myself called to yoga more and more to experience the more spiritual side of calm and relaxation. I totally caught the yoga bug and, eager to learn more, decided to take teacher training to deepen my own practice and explore all that yoga can offer. More recently I was diagnosed with a rheumatic condition and find that yoga is a form of physio for my aches and pains. I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others and seeing how yoga benefits their mobility and wellbeing.
Can you share some of your biggest personal successes from the last year?
I’ve offered lunchtime yoga to local businesses including North Kesteven District Council for the last three years. I recently provided a seated Chair Yoga session as part of a Sleaford Fit for Life programme for the less mobile. Just last month I provided an ‘un hunch before lunch’ Chair Yoga session to 90 delegates at this year’s Lincolnshire NHS Practice Manager Conference.
But the biggest successes are my students. I love seeing them progress and feel the benefits of yoga.
Here’s what they say.. “As I laid on my mat I realised just how peaceful your lounge is compared to my spare room, it was lovely” Another lady wrote 'I am a beginner but already feeling the benefits in this old body’ One of my students used to walk with a stick and now can stand on his head!
I also offer free 4 day yoga and meditation challenges every month in my Facebook Group. These have included 4 days to learn a sun salutation, improve your balance, be strong like a warrior, yoga for happy hips, and yoga for a happy back. A recent one was 10mins slow Yin Yoga before bed. A participant wrote: ‘It is working wonders. It will also discipline me not to check my phone in that ten minutes which is the worst thing you can do to a get a good night’s sleep’
What challenges have you experienced over the last year or so?
The pandemic hit my business hard. Not everyone was keen to join the online classes I set up and people’s habits and perceptions changed through the Covid times. I now offer in person and online classes (some people still love the convenience of practicing at home) but I find people reluctant to plan or commit ahead of time. Another problem is that people think they have to look a certain way or be young and bendy to do yoga, which is absolutely not true!
What does 2023 hold in store for you?
I’m continuing to offer my classes, private and corporate sessions plus my free challenges with both in person and online variations. I am trained in a variety of Yoga styles (Hatha, Yin, Restorative, Yoga Nidra) and am a qualified meditation coach. I offer a mixed range of weekly 45min-1hour classes, all very beginner- and back-friendly. My monthly events will continue too, which include my free 4-day mini yoga and meditation challenges, and my relaxing Restorative Yoga afternoon session with cake. I will also be running seasonal workshops.
Coming up I have my usual weekly classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. Plus there’s a Restorative Yoga session (where everyone has a slice of home made cake afterwards) on the second Sunday of the month ( next one is January 15th). Then there’s always the Free monthly challenge, which is just 10 minutes a day, for four days, and is suitable for all. Our December challenge will be Yoga for Happy Shoulders. January’s challenge is being planned at the moment and will be a week of Yoga Nidra (relaxing guided meditation enjoyed lying down). I’d really encourage people to give yoga a go.
Yoga is for EVERY body, not just the young, slim and bendy
What advice would you give to people wanting to be more active and take up yoga?
All my sessions are very beginner friendly and my yoga lounge is warm and inviting. I know you can do yoga on YouTube for free but the instructor can’t see you and offer cues for your body or adapt a session to suit, for example if you have a painful hip. Join a class and be welcomed into our community - yoga is so much more than a few stretches. The full experience can really boost your whole wellbeing!
Finally, What does winning this award mean to you?
Winning this new Health & Wellbeing award has been an enormous boost for me personally. More than that though it recognises and promotes the important role of yoga and meditation overall in benefitting our community’s physical and mental health.
Find out more about Ann's classes at www.annsyogalounge.com
Read more about the Lincolnshire Sport & Physical Activity Awards, and our 2022 winners here.