Yoga class breaks down language barriers for older people

Women residents at a Derwent Living housing scheme for Asian elders in Normanton are feeling the benefits of free yoga classes courtesy of the Derby-based housing provider.

The classes, which started last month, are being offered to female residents at Derwent Living’s Rawdon Street site which is a dedicated sheltered scheme for people aged 55 and over and whose second language is English.

Riffat Liaquat, scheme manager at Rawdon Street, says: “We decided to set up the classes because a lot of the female residents at the scheme don’t get any exercise at all, mainly because a large proportion don’t speak English very well and are put off by external classes because they don’t understand the language.

“The lady who takes the yoga classes speaks Punjabi and Urdu and is able to speak in these languages during the classes and explain how to work on breathing and exercise techniques. So far, the women who have attended are really enjoying it and are now regulars. It’s a really nice way for them to socialise too, and we are hoping to set up an afternoon class to attract more women to come along.”

Earlier this year, Derwent Living was nominated for the Equality and Diversity Award by the Midland region’s Tenant Participation Advisory Service and is always proactively seeking new ways to encourage residents of all ages and ethnicities to get involved in their communities.

The classes are being run by Disability Direct, which is funded by the National Lottery Fund.

Mitch Allseybrook, resident involvement manager at Derwent Living, said: “Yoga is a great way to relax and unwind. In fact, it has many health benefits including increased flexibility which can help to prevent pain, increased strength and muscle tone and it also helps improve mental calmness which, in turn, reduces stress.

“By offering these classes in a number of languages, we are ensuring that we aren’t leaving anyone out, and people aren’t putt off from doing things they might enjoy.”