This Life: Taking a flexible approach

ANE Brown is a yoga teacher with a difference. She runs classes for pregnant women.

The 56-year-old from Leeds teaches dru yoga, which focuses more on harnessing internal energy and uses soft, flowing movements rather than the fixed static poses associated with traditional yoga.

Neil Hudson spoke to her about growing up on a farm, kicking smoking and how she climbed 10,000ft up the Himalayas.

The one thing I couldn't live without is yoga. The main difference between dru yoga and ordinary yoga is that dru yoga places much more emphasis on the internal energy systems of your body. Whereas ordinary yoga is more to do with your physical body and has a lot of fixed postures, dru yoga has a lot of flowing sequences. It can be done by anyone, whatever age they are and whether or not they have a disability. Dru yoga is based on controlled breathing and visualizations, it is a fantastic way to de-stress and learn to take pregnancy in your stride. The classes take women through relaxation and massage, which helps relieve stress and tension with gentle movements and stretches. Common pregnancy discomforts are eased with special exercises. I've been teaching for about four years.

My first job was in a psychiatric day centre teaching therapy, helping long-term patients develop social skills and rehabilitate themselves back into the community.

I love living in Leeds, it's completely different to where I grew up, which was on a farm in Somerset. It's more down to earth up here, people are more straightforward. I love the mix Leeds has in terms of things to do in the city and the fact the countryside is just 15 minutes drive away.

I grew up on a farm with two brothers and two sisters and we did absolutely everything from driving tractors to milking cows to welding. We had about 100 cows. In some ways it was tough but on the other hand we got to do all sorts of things no-one else did. Everything was outdoors and we were strong and healthy. When I moved from there and went out into the world, it was a bit of a shock.

I am most proud of my children, I have three, aged 33, 24 and 20. I am also proud of the fact that last summer I trekked 10,000ft into the Himalayas to the Tiger's Nest Monastery in the kingdom of Bhutan. That was definitely an achievement for me as the air was very thin and it's something I have always wanted to do. I completed the journey with my husband.

To relax, I do all sorts of things, like travelling, gardening, walking, seeing friends, going to the theatre and art galleries, or just opening a recipe book and cooking something from it. I love anything Italian but one thing I do not think I could eat regularly is a Bhutanese dish, they have plates full of very hot red chillies.

I have never been good at taking advice – ask my parents. I have always been very determined to do whatever I am going to do.

My philosophy on life is about kindness and nurturing. I work in homeopathy and have been involved in caring for people all my adult life. I like to take the time to really address what's going on rather than just managing what's going on. It translates to what I do with dru yoga. In the last 10-15 years neuroscience has confirmed a lot of things about how the human mind works and how it develops, particularly in children. For example, babies learn the tone of their parents voices while they are in the womb, so you are really caring for the baby from the moment it is conceived. Dru yoga is very nurturing and relaxing and helps give mothers-to-be the strength needed for labour and motherhood.

The last time I cried was today, because my mother is dying. She is 85 and has been unwell for about three years and is coming to the end of her life.

Something that might surprise people who know me today is I used to smoke about 20 cigarettes a day. I gave it up about 20 years ago, I just decided to stop one day. In the beginning, I hated it, but I am really glad I stopped.

If I could meet anyone it would

be someone like the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa or Desmond Tutu, all people who have had to overcome immense personal difficulties and have been inspirational in the way they act. They are just good people who are genuinely kind. If everyone else in the world was like them, there would be no problems.

Food: Italian or Thai

Book: Why Love Matters, Sue Gerhardt, or Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl, a book an Auschwitz survivor

TV Programme: Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David, who I think is a comic genius

Actor: Judi Dench, she's brilliant in whatever she does, whether it's Shakespeare or James Bond. It's scandalous how the film industry discards female actors once they have lost their looks and I think she stands out as someone who can still do anything

Star sign: Virgo

Jane runs dru yoga classes at the Friends Meeting House, Adel, and can be contacted on 07725 814947 or janeabrown54@gmail.com.

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