Wellbeing

Learn, Laugh, Move with u3a

People cycling down a road


As part of our movement-wide initiative to stay fit, keep moving and improve our general well-being hundreds of u3a members are showing us how to Learn Laugh Move.

From Cycling to Yoga there will be a different focus every month.

Cycling

Groups across u3a, are taking part in all forms of cycling from cross-country, inner-city, easy-riders, social cyclists & electric bikes for up-hill assistance.

Here’s an example:

Wirksworth u3a, East Midlands – Cycling for Fun
by Jeremy, Group Leader

The title tells all. This Group is inclusive and is made up of cyclists with different levels of skill, fitness and age.

Wirksworth is situated at the southern end of the Peak District, about 14 miles north of Derby, and we ride every fortnight from April to November. We ride on trails, canal paths and other traffic-free fairly level routes. Our members are of varying ability and the group takes care to accommodate all levels of performance.

The social side of the rides is important to us and we always include a café stop.

The rides are designed to be enjoyable and interesting and at the same time, as well as beneficial to our physical and mental well being.

We have riders on all types of bikes, from road bikes to mountain bikes, including folders and electric-assist bikes. There is no competition between riders and we support each other should have a breakdown. No one is ever left behind. Sometimes we will break into two groups with a slower ride as an option.

We find that local u3a members are good at finding our group through our website and by word of mouth. We encourage members who have bikes in sheds, unused for years and years, to dust them down, get them safety checked, and come to join us on the open trails in and around the beautiful Peak District.

You can share your stories and photos on cycling, be inspired and find out more on our Learning Pages. For support and advice for starting and running a cycling group, contact the Subject Adviser for Cycling

Yoga

u3a yoga teachers and group leaders have come together to share their experience and experiences and help you build yoga into your own health and wellbeing self-care.

Our yoga subject adviser and group leaders have offered their time and expertise in the following:

• A series of national yoga workshops for all members- book via Online Events
• Health benefits of joining a u3a yoga group
• Find the right style of yoga for you and tips on how to get started from the u3a group 

Here’s an example:

Sue – Iyengar Yoga – Edinburgh u3a

I’ve been a student of yoga for more than 30 years and have enjoyed teaching yoga for the last 13 of those.

I trained as a yoga teacher in Glasgow, have been to India twice and attend regular classes in Edinburgh, where I now live. I continue to develop as a teacher by attending workshops with senior teachers when I can. Originally

I taught my work colleagues in my former career as a structural engineer. After my retirement in 2017, I started a U3A yoga group.
Iyengar yoga is named after BKS Iyengar who is largely responsible for bringing yoga from India to the West and making it accessible for everyone.

It is a form of hatha yoga which is distinguished by its focus on alignment and the use of props, enabling students to work correctly in poses. This makes it ideal for beginners. Iyengar yoga is beneficial for developing strength and wellbeing and for exploring how the body, mind and breath can work together for the benefit of each.

NEVER PRACTICED IYENGAR YOGA?

• It’s never too late to start
• Talk to the teacher and find a class which is right for you, preferably with someone who has been practising for a long time and understands from experience how to adapt teaching to the ageing body
• Make sure that you have the right equipment (an Iyengar teacher will advise on what equipment /props you will need)
• Try and stay with it once you start because the benefits of Iyengar yoga reveal themselves slowly – it can be quite challenging to start with.

When practising yoga in your own space always;

• Clear the decks and create a safe and comfortable space so you can move freely (if using Zoom make sure your screen is appropriately positioned to see, be seen and to hear)
• Spread out a clean mat, towel or rug (not slippery) for your practice
• Have a stable chair to hand in which you can sit upright comfortably with your thighs parallel to the floor
• It’s your time for health and wellbeing, so make sure you won’t be interrupted during your practice by anyone or anything
• If on Zoom, ensure your video is on and that your screen is appropriately positioned for the teacher to be able to see so that they can instruct or correct you. Expect to be put on mute during the session and that you may be asked to unmute for a few minutes of chat at the end
• Expect the Zoom group leader/teacher to ask you about your experience, general fitness and any health issues you may have so that they can ensure your practice is safe and beneficial. If you have significant health issues you may be asked to check with your GP before joining.

You can share your stories and photos on yoga, be inspired and find out more on our Learning Pages. For support and advice for starting and running a cycling group, contact the Subject Adviser Yoga