Healthy Living: Classes bring yoga to the little ones

Tots Yoga Class at the Dore & Totley United Reformed Church,Totley Brook Road
Tots Yoga Class at the Dore & Totley United Reformed Church,Totley Brook Road
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Yoga is usually considered the perfect practice for grown-ups - a relaxing way to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

But a series of classes have now started in Sheffield which bring some of the principles of yoga to little ones aged up to seven, with a child-friendly twist.

Liz Swann runs the sessions - called Tatty Bumpkin - at Dore and Totley United Reformed Church, and plans are in place to expand into Ecclesall and High Green soon.

“The yoga aspects include postures where children explore the different shapes their body can make, which are great for healthy joints and muscles, “ said Liz, aged 42.

“The classes encourage confidence, balance and co-ordination that are such important foundations for other activities like dance, tennis, football and learning in general.”

Tatty Bumpkin’s unusual name comes from the central character of the classes - a loveable doll who lives on fictional Wobble Farm’.

“Each lesson is a magical adventure - they’re fun, yoga-inspired stories,” added Liz, who grew up in Dore and was once a professional ice skater, touring across Europe and South America.

“As a child my main passion in life used to be ice skating. I trained as an ice skater from the age of seven, and when I left school at 17 I joined Holiday on Ice as a Professional Ice Skater.

“For the next 10 years I lived out of a suitcase and in hotels. It’s a brilliant life when you are in your 20s!”

Liz added: “I ‘retired’ from the skating career at 28 - it’s a short lived career - and came back to Sheffield to get a ‘normal job’.”

Liz spent time working in project management for firms such as Atos and Capita, as well as Hallam University.

“Five years ago I had my daughter and when she got to three I thought something needed to change, my working day didn’t fit in with family life and I needed a new challenge.

“That’s when, through an old skating friend, I found Tatty Bumpkin. I fell in love with the concept.”

“Once my daughter had settled into school in September, I started really progressing the business.”

Liz bought the rights to run the national franchise in Sheffield, and said her focus is now on progressing the business’.

“I’m also chatting to several nurseries about coming to give classes, “ she said.

Following the classes, children are given worksheets to reflect on the techniques they have learned, and are encouraged to discuss and demonstrate their yoga at home.

The sessions are also fully linked to the Government’s Foundation Stage education framework.

The Dore and Totley URC classes run on Mondays at 1pm, while the Ecclesall classes are starting on January 6 at the Scout Hut on Botanical Road, and will also take place on Mondays, at 9.30am.

Classes are starting in February at Angram Bank Children’s Centre, High Green, on Thursdays.

Email or call 07742958585 to reserve a place.