Over the past few years, Hayley Holland has developed a warm yoga community in Castlecliff with classes in the picturesque beachfront Duncan Pavilion.
Now Hayley has stopped running the classes, but Simone Summer Higgie is continuing them and keeping them affordable and accessible, thanks to the support of Progress Castlecliff.
After 10 years in Australia, Simone has recently moved back to hometown Whanganui, to live in Castlecliff with her partner Ivan Vostinar.
"I am thrilled to become part of this wonderful community and to contribute to it by nurturing people's yoga practice. The physical movement, breathing, and meditation aspects of yoga can enhance health and well-being, for example by improving the immune and digestive systems, soothing the nervous system, and by increasing mental clarity," says Simone.
She began learning the basics of yoga movements and breathing in Whanganui 12 years ago. Since then, yoga has helped her stretch, relax, and recover from the stress of her postgraduate study at the University of Queensland and from the physical exertion of her rock-climbing hobby.
"But, completely unknown to me at the time, it wasn't until I was grieving for my much-loved Grandmother that yoga hugely helped me. My yoga practice gave me the space, time and awareness to learn to live with the loss of one of my main pillars in my life."
For the past five weeks and continuing until the end of June, each of Simone's yoga classes are in exchange for a donation to the NZ registered charity Yoga Education in Prisons Trust.
The charity provides education for prisoners with the time-tested techniques and tools of yoga and meditation, to enable personal change and development.
Yoga provides techniques that empower practitioners to change negative behaviour and thinking patterns, setting the precedent for life out of prison.
Further, the charity provides released prisoners with ongoing education and training.
"This is a valuable service not just for NZ prisoners and thus prison staff, but for every single Kiwi. Personally, I think it should be government funded since it improves the situation for everyone in society.
"But until then, it's great to make a small contribution to help the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust. I don't have any money to give, but can give this time and donate the yoga class fees for seven weeks. It's also a really great way of introducing myself to the community and to settling into the classes, which are not about making money but about sharing yoga, and keeping it accessible to those who are interested."
Classes are in the Duncan Pavilion and are open to everyone on a first in basis. Each class lasts an hour and run on Sundays at 4pm, Mondays at 9.30am, Thursdays at 5.30pm, and Fridays at 9.30am.
Until the end of June, each class is for a donation, after this the classes will continue for $5 a class.
Mats and blankets are provided.