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Getting the right balance

Yin, yang yoga, ballet barre and more in a peaceful countryside gym in Timsbury, just outside Bath

What puts me off most gyms is the fact that they’re so often packed with (young, fit, super-toned) people plugged into headphones or noisy, frenetic places with rows of treadmills and stuff. Eek. Enter Balance, the countryside gym, an altogether different kind of place.

Small, peaceful and in the village of Timsbury just outside Bath, it’s like having your own personal training space or yoga studio, where you can take a variety of small or one-to-one classes with their instructors.

Dedicated sportswoman Sue Jackson set up the gym to pass onto her passion for fitness in a setting far away from the bustle of the city.

The view – even on a grey day – puts you in a good mood.

All sorts of classes are held in the studio, from yoga (yin, yang, for teens) and ballet barre to personal training and pilates.

I tried out a yin yoga class, a slower, passive form of yoga which targets the body’s connective tissues. It involves bending and stretching whilst lying or sitting down (wear warm clothes – they provide blankets) and holding poses for longish periods of time, sometimes using blocks or bolsters for support. A newbie to any form of yoga, it was gentle, easy to do and incredibly relaxing.

The changing room has a cunningly disguised shower. Just pull that little knob on the mirrored wall towards you.

See how I did that?

When the weather’s good, classes are held outdoors.

There are plans afoot to build a new studio in the gardens (watch this space).

Been there, buy the T shirt (or vest top, sweat shirt). Sip on a cup of herbal tea. Stroke their dogs.

They’re also running a fabulous-sounding yoga retreat in Tuscany this summer, with delish grub, twice daily yoga, exercise classes and as much lounging by the infinity pool as you like. Book me in right now.

But if you can’t wait for Tuscany, check out the latest timetable in Timsbury.  Classes include yoga for adults and teens, kettle, boxercise, boot camp, high (and low) intensity training, ski fitness, personal training, gentle 45-min classes for those recovering from injury or just starting out. They can help with posture and back pain and advise on nutrition. All bases pretty much covered. And if you can’t find what you want, they can set up a dedicated class for you and a few friends.

Balance, White Lias, Loves Hill, Timsbury, Somerset, BA2 0EU. balancethecountrysidegym.co.uk

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset