Jenny Marra, Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Equalities participated in a yoga session with children from Langlands Primary School, Forfar at Heart Space Dundee Yoga Studios today to celebrate a new programme of free children’s yoga classes.

The Young Yogi’s project set up by Finlay Wilson of Heart Space Dundee has provided free and subsidised weekly yoga classes for young children, children with special needs and families since 2012.

Young Yogi’s has since introduced over 2,500 children in the area to regular yoga exercise believed to improve wellbeing, confidence and concentration and will continue into its third year thanks to part funding from the Big Lottery Communities and Families Fund.

The successful local project will now provide three free weekly classes for children, three subsidised classes for families until July 2016 and have recently introduced £3 classes for teenagers and secondary school pupils to the programme.

During the 45 minute children’s classes, children are taught basic yoga poses with focus on play and teamwork.

Said Jenny Marra, Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Equalities :

“Yoga is sometimes thought of as a specialised and unaccessible form of exercise. Finlay and the team at Heart Space Dundee have worked with communities and schools to break down this view by improving accessibility to yoga and demonstrating the multiple health benefits. The free classes are a great thing for the area to encourage healthy living and let people try a new activity.”

Said Finlay Wilson, co-founder of Young Yogi’s and Heart Space Dundee:

“We know our project makes a big difference to the children who participate. Many teachers reported back that the ‘Young Yogi’ children had improved focus and behavior in class whilst parents have told us their children’s moods became calmer which benefits the whole family.”

“The Young Yogi’s project works closely with children with special needs. Our work with Langlands School is one of the highlights of my working week. The classes have given the children a structured routine around breathing, mindfulness, respect and physicality. As soon as they arrive on their mats they are sitting up ready for the breathing exercises and almost always beat me to the punch saying “namaste.” Finding out all they can do at yoga when some daily tasks are a struggle has really made an impact. They go home and they share what they can do with their family and friends.

Increased interested in yoga from local nurseries, schools and in particular Special Needs units within schools, underline the need and interest in the health and wellbeing service that Heart Space Dundee and Young Yogi’s provides.”

Heart Space Yoga studios is a converted church hall at 9-11 Scott Street, Dundee often referred to as KoKo’s from when it was a children’s activity centre.

To find out more about Young Yogi’s Project classes contact Tel: 01382 669352.

Further media information contact: Jennie Patterson Tel: 07773 849586