Tall Trees Yoga and Pilates Studio is situated on the outskirts of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in the beautiful grounds of St Catherine’s House. It was set up seven years ago when founder Mike Hammond, a former prison officer, had a dream to create a space where like-minded people could forge a place for spiritual wellness, bringing together the best instructors from around the area to share their teaching.
“It was always my idea that Tall Trees should be more than just a place to practice yoga,” he tells OM. “It needed to be a place for everyone, a link to the community. That’s why there is so much variety of classes available, from dynamic Rocket through to meditation and workshops covering all aspects of holistic wellbeing. A place for people to feel safe and at home.”
Tall Trees has two beautiful ground floor studio spaces, both with double aspect widows and French doors with magnificent views of the surrounding parkland. All the windows open fully and supplementary overhead heating has been installed so even in the coldest weather students can enjoy plenty of fresh air while practicing. Subtle use of wall drapes, indoor planting and a natural wood floor makes the union of outdoor and indoor space seamless.
There are also two lovely therapy rooms, where treatments such as massage, reflexology, facial care and foot care are on offer. After classes, clients are encouraged to sit a while in the airy reception area where complimentary tea, blended locally, is served.
St Catherine’s House itself was originally built for George Banks, a local industrialist and former Mayor of Leeds, and in 1928 was bought by the Ministry of Health.
It has always had its roots in the care of mental illness and this ideology continues to this day even after it was converted for use for a range of commercial purposes and brought under the management of Flourish Enterprises. It took three months of hard work to convert the former hospital wing into the beautiful space that is now Tall Trees Yoga studio.
Currently, the studio has 13 teachers who teach 35 classes every week (restrictions allowing), as well as personal, 1-2-1 classes — plus the Virtual Studio with all the classes recorded from the studio by its teachers. Instructors are also encouraged to bring any other talents to the studio in the form of workshops. Although 2020 was fragmented, the studio still managed to hold workshops that included Sound Bath Therapy, Yoga for Menopause, Mindfulness and Healthy Eating, which all proved to be very popular, adds Hammond.
“Last year was incredibly tough but it gave me time and space to re-evaluate the direction Tall Trees was heading in, and a chance to work differently, and this led to the Virtual Studio and the schedule of 1-2-1 classes.”
This year sees the birth of The Tall Trees Teacher Training programme and an amalgamation with Public Health Doncaster to help deliver its ‘Get Doncaster Moving’ and ‘Street Games’ projects. “These neatly complete the circle and make Tall Trees more than just a place to practice yoga —it is a place for everyone, a link to the community.”
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