A YOGA instructor hopes to use her own experience of tackling depression and anxiety to help others after launching outdoor sessions with a chilly twist at an Inverclyde beach.

Leanne Hogg’s ‘Soulful Sunday’ sessions at Lunderston Bay see participants enjoy half an hour of stretching before taking a dip in the cold water of the Clyde.

Afterwards, the group gather round a fire to have a chat over tea and coffee.

Leanne, 38, trained as an instructor after seeing a significant upturn in her own mental health when she started attending similar sessions in Luss.

Greenock Telegraph: Leanne HoggLeanne Hogg (Image: Leanne Hogg)

The mum-of-four noticed a decline in her wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020, which left her ‘scared to leave the house’.

She said: “I was pregnant during lockdown and I was scared to let anybody near me.

“I made myself a little safe bubble in the house.

“I was just so isolated that it became too uncomfortable to go out again. I knew I had to do something.

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“My cousin took me along and it was January, so it was baltic and I was thinking, ‘I can’t do this’.

“It was like it ignited something in me that day. I just felt alive.”

Leanne spent three months completing a 200-hour qualification earlier this year before launching her group in August.

She chose to host her sessions at Lunderston Bay as she and her family regularly visit the beach.

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Men and women of all ages, from teens to those in their 70s, have been attending since they started.

Leanne hopes her story will inspire others to give the activity a go even if they think it might not be for them.

She added: “You can see people transforming in front of your eyes. That's probably my favourite part of it.

“I can’t believe that I couldn’t leave the house last January and am now standing in front of others now.

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“So many people come along and they’ll say, ‘I don’t know if I can do this’, but they come out with the biggest smile on their face.”

Soulful Sunday was created by Natalie Valenti in 2021, with just her and four friends taking part initially. 

Sessions now run at 14 locations across Scotland.

The Lunderston Bay group meets most Sundays, with timings varying depending on the sunrise.

The next session will be held on November 12 at 8am. To book, go to soulfulsunday.co.uk