Yogging? A combination of yoga and jogging. It may sound like a bizarre concept but it is the latest fitness craze to hit the streets, and indeed the beach at Whitby.
Over recent weeks you might have spotted a group of people lunging, squatting, stretching and sprinting their way across the sand on West Cliff beach and wondered what the hell they were doing.
Well this is it.
It is a class put together by self taught fitness enthusiast Heather King who has been a qualified yoga teacher for three years but has been practising it for 11 years.
The idea is this - use the benefits of short bursts of running for fat burning along with the yoga moves to counter balance the effects of running and help improve flexibility, balance, strength, stamina, relaxation and muscle toning.
Heather (31) came up with the idea when she was living in London and running around the local park before doing a yoga class afterwards.
It was also around the same time that the British Military Fitness bootcamps, outdoor classes run by military personnel, were becoming established and sweeping the nation.
She said: “I was doing a lot of fitness and would put my headphones in and do laps of the park to keep fit rather than go to a sweaty gym and there were other women running and doing yoga later if the weather was nice.
“I wanted to join a running club but did not have a lot of spare time so it is like a two in one for busy people. Yoga on its own does not get you fit and does not get the heart rate going but running does.”
So she created a logo for ‘yogging’ and has had it protected and after moving back to Whitby, she launched her first classes last year at Whitby Leisure Centre.
Around 16 people were turning up to each session, which are all held outdoors whatever the weather, but admittedly they were all mainly women.
This year there is much more of a mix of regular yoggers which includes men.
There was a time when your average bloke would have rather stepped in front of a bus than be seen at a yoga class but even the most hardened sportsmen are now using yoga as part of their everyday fitness and training regime.
It is well documented that part of the reason Manchester United player, Ryan Giggs has been able to carry on playing at the top flight into his late thirties is because he uses yoga moves to repair and improve his muscles and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is also said to be a fan.
Heather’s main consultant is Alec Duffield, who works with Olympic triathlete Alistair Brownlee.
She has tried out her concept on rugby players and also takes influence from her sister Lydia who is a personal trainer.
She said: “When I was working at Purple Mountain that was my first class with the cyclists and sporty people there. A lot of rugby teams do yoga and the meditation side of it to see if it would get them mentally strong. I had about eight people who were sporty and would not miss it.
“When they are diving for the try line they balance on one leg and throw the ball down. It is about the centre of gravity. Yoga is also good for injury prevention. They are tiny little movements, it relieves tension. It is intricate but effective.
“There are lots of disciplines that yoga has and I was interested to see how rugby players adapted it.”
Heather has also adapted the various disciplines of yoga to create the type of class that would appeal to herself and like minded people wanting to get fit in a fun way.
She trained in Hatha yoga - the most basic form - and also used to do Bikram yoga when she was in London, which is often in a hot sauna because the method is based upon heat in the muscles.
“The thinking was instead of having a sauna, we get the muscles warm by generating our own heat because if they are cold they can snap. That is why we do the running first because in England it is too cold and we might cause more damage. The science for that came from bikram. It is quite a craze in London and Russell Brand and Fearne Cotton do it.”
Classes stay true to these movements and that of Ashtanga yoga which is active and yin yoga which involves holding postures for a long time.
Heather added: “It takes a while to get your confidence up when you are teaching. Some people come and do yoga in a very spiritual way but because I am sporty I focus on the actual physicality of it really.
“I am interested in the whole thing but for me it is how it helps with sport and sporty people.”
However, you can’t deny that there is something pretty special about working out on the beach on a sunny evening with the backdrop of the sea. She said: “The beach is the perfect place for it. Obviously, with yoga there is an element of inner strength and spirituality and doing this on the beach - you can’t deny that. You get out what you put in and it is important to keep moving.”