Meet the Heald Green pensioner behind the highly successful yoga app for pregnant women

PUBLISHED: 22:06 14 April 2013 | UPDATED: 19:35 15 April 2013

Anna White and Elle Shenton

Anna White and Elle Shenton


Even her children call her the ‘APPy’ Granny.

The nickname follows pensioner Anna White’s mission to utilise the latest developments in computer technology, to bring the benefits of the ancient Eastern practice of Yoga to pregnant women world-wide.

The 65-year-old Heald Green mother of three and grandmother of two has produced an App called ‘Pregnancy Yoga’ which enables expectant women to improve their breathing, posture and mental approach, by taking part in a virtual yoga class from the comfort of their own home.

Anna has drawn on her years of experience in the Oriental art to create a pregnancy yoga class that is being accessed by thousands of women across the UK as well as Mexico, Egypt, Russia, Cyprus, Australia, the USA, Holland and Lithuania.

‘It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, you can still reap the benefits of this class as long as you have access to a computer,’ said Anna who admits to being ‘delighted’ by the success of her first IT initiative.

‘I can’t believe that so many people around the world have bought my app already. It’s being snapped up day in and day out and I couldn’t be happier. Even my children call me the ‘Appy’ Granny.’

But where did a Cheshire pensioner with a passion for yoga get the detailed IT knowledge to produce a successful App?

‘From a good friend,’ laughed Anna. ‘David Gilligan, a retired historian I know used to be an IT teacher and has an incredible knowledge of computers. He lives in Heald Green and got totally involved in putting the App together with the App designer I employed. I can’t thank him enough.’

With his continued support Anna has also posted two short films onto You Tube and is in the process of producing a DVD designed to help pregnant women make the most of the build-up to the birth of their baby.

‘We’re already talking about another App,’ added Anna who first practised yoga when she was in her twenties, but then gave it up when her children arrived.

‘I was re-introduced to yoga in my 50s at a time when I was suffering panic attacks due to the menopause. My GP suggested yoga might help so I enrolled in a class run by the renowned teacher Miranda Michaelides. I fell in love with yoga all over again. I felt so much better and became fascinated by the technique.

‘It was Miranda who encouraged me to become a teacher. She recommended I study with Swami Premananda who was an excellent teacher and I qualified for my British Wheel of Yoga diploma in 2005.’

Not long after, Anna heard about a Yoga for pregnancy course and decided to study for that qualification too.

‘I’d suffered through pregnancy, like many women, and I was fascinated with the idea that yoga could be used to improve the experience for women and their babies.’

Soon after completing her diploma, Anna’s teacher Miranda retired from teaching and asked her to take over two of her classes which she is still teaching today. However, Anna didn’t have a pregnancy class of her own but covered classes for other teachers in the area.

‘My first pregnancy class was teaching pregnant teenagers at a special school in North Manchester. Very challenging but enjoyable. Then in 2008 a colleague emigrated to Spain and offered me his pregnancy yoga classes which I was thrilled to accept.’

Before long Anna was busy running a growing number of classes. But having honed her business skills helping manage four paint and wallpaper stores with her ex-husband and then having gained invaluable business experience running property management companies over the following years, she was in her element.

Today Anna runs nine yoga classes every week: five pregnancy, three general classes and one post-natal attracting more than 100 students. Over recent years Anna has taught thousands of women the benefits of yoga.

But her expansion into on-line is already beginning to increase the size of her world-wide audience.

‘Yes, my yoga classes are a thriving business but it’s more than just that to me. I love yoga and I love welcoming people to my classes, because it’s the people who attend that make my job so wonderful.’

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