Saints Wheelchair Rugby side were treated to a wheelchair yoga taster session from former ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Kristina Rihanoff on Saturday.
Rihanoff – who appeared as a professional dancer on the BBC series for seven years – has recently opened up new yoga studio Soo Yoga in Sol Central alongside her partner, former Northampton Saint and World Cup winner Ben Cohen.
The hour-long session focused on stretching and breathing techniques that are not only suitable for wheelchair users, but also helped encourage awareness and concentration skills that are key within competitive matches.
“As a Club we are always keen to support and engage with the local community to showcase the benefits of joining in with a team sport like wheelchair rugby.”Jamie Higgins, Saints Wheelchair Rugby head coach
The class was set up by Graeme Wilson, Disability Development Officer at Northamptonshire Sport, and was open to Club volunteers and also the players’ carers and partners.
“It was a real pleasure to do this with the team,” said Kristina. “It was an honour to teach the wheelchair rugby team, and demonstrate we are a wheelchair-friendly business.”
Jamie Higgins, head coach of Saints Wheelchair Rugby, added: “This was a brilliant opportunity to introduce our players to an activity they had not tried before, which not only could support them with wheelchair rugby, but the wider benefits of yoga can also help them in living with a physical disability on a daily basis.
“Yoga can lead to anxiety relief and improvements in range of motion, so for wheelchair users it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise.
“It was great to see our players’ carers and partners trying yoga too – they are a major part of the team and it’s really important they get involved whenever they can.
“As a Club we are always keen to support and engage with the local community to showcase the benefits of joining in with a team sport like wheelchair rugby.
“We want to show our players that we can offer them even more than just weekly training sessions and matchdays as a part of Saints Wheelchair Rugby; there are so many social opportunities out there within our Northampton community for them, and Soo Yoga is just one example.”