Bin the chocolate, have some yoga for lunch: Manchester ‘Yoga Express’ class opens for busy city workers

By Ruth Dacey

A yoga guru to the stars is set to open express classes to accommodate busy Mancunians in the city centre on Monday.

The owner and director of Yoga Express Manchester has tutored celebrities including Manchester United brothers Gary and Phil Neville, Russell Brand, and Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott.

The yoga expert extraordinaire, Matt Ryan, has been teaching for over 15 years after packing in his career as a DJ, and believes his expert knowledge of ashtanga yoga will greatly benefit the public.

“This method of yoga involves synchronising the breath with a progressive series of postures which results in improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind,” the 44-year-old said.

“The express yoga sessions are specifically designed to build strength and flexibility and this form of yoga does this more so than any other which is extremely important.

“Yoga is now in a new phase which has made it more accessible to the public.  Whereas previously it has been associated with the rich and famous when people such as Madonna and Sting came out and said they practiced it, now it is regarded as available for everyone which it should be.”

Mr Ryan, a former DJ at the Hacienda nightclub, was inspired to introduce express classes after he became a father last September and time was hard to come by.

“I used to run long sessions usually lasting 90 minutes but when I became a Dad I just didn’t have the time and this is the case for many people in Manchester, especially in the city centre,” he said.

“Lots of people in and around town during the lunch hour haven’t got a long time to spare so this fits in perfectly with their daily routine.

“It takes people out of their environment for a 45minute period and all the stresses and strains of the day are left at the door.  It is a period clear of problems and headaches that come up in an average day.”

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, who has 13 Premier League titles in his trophy cabinet, has credited the longevity of his career to yoga and Mr Ryan is certain members of the public will also reap the rewards concerning their mind and body.

“The practice itself will be helping create a stronger, steadier body and also we will be teaching how to understand mental tensions which can manifest into problems such as tight, strained shoulders and severe pains in the back,” he said.

“When people get stressed, the body is directly affected and a lot of pain can be felt so the express sessions are designed to loosen physical and mental tensions.”

Despite Mr Ryan being an expert instructor his principal aim is to make Express Yoga Manchester classes accessible to all members of the public.

“It will be a condensed sequence of ashtanga yoga but it will be open to everybody of any standard,” he said.

“When instructors are demonstrating at the front they will show the simplest position but we will also be on hand to instruct those experienced I and show them more challenging versions.

“One of the main benefits of class is that for beginners considering yoga it can seem very daunting as a lot of classes are an hour or longer so this length eases people in and allows them to dip their toe in the water in the yoga world.”

Yoga Express Manchester has trialled classes at Church Street in the Northern Quarter and individuals such as Philippa, a full time mum, enjoyed having time to relax.

“As a full-time mum, I’m usually on my feet all day, but it’s important for me to have some time on my own,” she said.

“Yoga Express Manchester classes suited me very well. They’re fun, flowing and make me sweat but without excessive heat. The best posture is the relaxation at the end.”

Simon, a photographer in Manchester, said: “I have to carry equipment around all day. My back has really taken some strain over the years, as a result.

“Having a short class in the city centre is ideal for me. I like the flexible times of the classes – pre-work, lunchtime and post-work because I’m often on jobs at different times and in different places, so it’s hard for me to commit to one slot every week.”

For more information about Yoga Express Manchester click here:

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