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Yoga studio moves into historic building of former Ipswich pub

PUBLISHED: 18:48 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 18:48 05 November 2020

Julia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Julia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A Suffolk yoga company is preparing to take its classes online once again after recently moving into its new home at the former Sorrel Horse public house in Ipswich.

Julia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJulia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Yoga has been growing in popularity since it was set up in 2015 and was taken over by Julia Fairbrother in 2017, moving to a large new building – which was once Sorrel Horse public house – in hope of becoming the town’s wellness centre.

Sorrel Horse House, off Grimwade Street near the Waterfront, has a colourful past and is understood to date back to the 17th century, though it was much altered in the 18th century, according to The Ipswich Society.

Licensees are listed from 1812 and the pub is believed to have closed after 1977. In the 60s it was Barnard Brothers animal feed shop.

Now it is home to Suffolk Yoga, whose vision is to offer not only yoga but pilates and personal training, counselling, sleep therapy, children’s mental health counselling, hypnotherapy and their latest offering: Childosophy.

The Sorrel Horse public house was close to the corner of Grimwade Street and Fore Street. This photograph was taken in October 1948.  Picture: FRED BANTICKThe Sorrel Horse public house was close to the corner of Grimwade Street and Fore Street. This photograph was taken in October 1948. Picture: FRED BANTICK

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Owner Julia Fairbrother hopes she can “change the perception of yoga” with the centre – and aims to become a hub where people can switch off.

“It is crucial that because Covid is not going away, that we look after not just our physical health but our mental health too,” she said.

“It is the chance to spend time with oneself, and to slow down and reflect. It’s a way to make sense of what is going on around you as we take on new challenges.”

Julia said that taking time out is no longer a luxury, investing in your health and staying well in these Covid times must now be a necessity. Julia took over Suffolk Yoga in 2017, two years after the company was launched. She lived in Singapore for a few years, where yoga is done by everyone and has no stigma attached.

Julia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJulia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She said there is a bit of resistance to yoga in the UK, and people associate it with being bendy and flexible as shown on Instagram, which she says is not the purpose of yoga.

“It is not about touching your toes,” she said. “But it is about looking after yourself and your body and giving yourself chance to slow down.”

Julia’s team have moved all the classes online overnight during the second lockdown – after a successful few months of virtual online classes earlier in the year.

Moving forward, Suffolk Yoga will continue to combine online with in studio classes. Julia says their community are really enjoying being able to connect through zoom with their regular teachers from the comfort of their own homes.

Julia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJulia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Julia said: “We are going to be doing things similar to last time, moving our classes completely online.

“This has its benefits and downsides. For some people it means they can come to more classes, it’s more convenient, they can wear their pyjamas and they really love it.

“But for others, for example people who live on their own or are struggling with loneliness, the in studio classes offer a nice sense of community.

“It is nice to see people online, as many are holding onto doing things that they are used to. The routine of going to a class is great during lockdown, it makes you feel like you are still part of something.”

Julia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJulia Fairbrother, owner of The Suffolk Yoga Studio. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

During the first lockdown, Suffolk Yoga was voted ‘Lockdown Heroes’ by Suffolk Active for keeping people active and well.

To find out more about Suffolk Yoga and their classes, see here.


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