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Life’s great up north – Issue 56

Jonathan Schofield heads north for a change of scenery

It’s not always how you do it, but where you do it. And, sometimes it adds a little spice, interest, and edge to do it outdoors in unusual places.

So, with a few days to myself in the far reaches of the great north I set off to into a remote part of Scotland’s Grampian Mountains to explore some ancient stone circles. I’ve done this before, but not since starting out on my yoga journey. If, like me, you spend a lot of time on London’s underground, staring at computer screens in vast offices and sitting for long periods every day, it’s a terrific antidote to be able to head out and embrace all that fresh air and wide, open space.

Yoga in a village hall, or in an office meeting room where most of my yoga sessions now take place, is okay; it keeps the back from seizing up and the demons from my mind, but as environments go, neither are particularly invigorating places.

But if it’s an invigorating place you’re looking for, head for the Grampian Mountains. Some time ago I took a dog I’d rescued from the Australian outback for a five day walk across the Grampians – one of the most meditative, cathartic experiences of my life – until said Australian dog brought down a stag on Royal land (that dog is now long gone and the stag incident fine paid off!).

And so I set off across a familiar rugged land towards the Tomnaverie stone circle.

Surrounded by ancient stone put in place by Neolithic people some 4,000 years ago, I sat in the centre of the circle and went through my rather limited yoga repertoire. Sun on my back, a gentle, sweet, pine-scented breeze drifting down from the mountains – this is as far away from the everyday life of commuting and work as you can possibly get. The complete silence, under a big sky, was perfect for meditation, something I usually struggle with.

There are more than 100 stone circles in this part of Scotland. If you’re looking for somewhere different to invigorate your yoga then head for the Grampian stone circles…but do it soon, it’s getting cold up there now.

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