A DUNFERMLINE yoga teacher is raising money for a mental health charity after facing her own challenges.

Nicola Hunter would normally be teaching classes from St Andrew's Erskine Church but after the pandemic hit she stepped out of her comfort zone to provide online classes on Facebook.

The group has now grown to more than 200 people and includes students from as far away as New Zealand and Canada but amid it all, Nicola was struggling with her own mental health during lockdown.

The full-time accountant, who lives alone, couldn't hide her anxiety from her students any more and had to take a break.

But something told her not to give up and during Mental Health Awareness Week she came back to do a fundraiser for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

Nicola, 37, told the Press: "I believe now, more than ever, yoga will help people cope and that's why I started the group.

"During the past few weeks, even I’ve struggled with lockdown; I’ve been low, only being able to see my family through the window, and sometimes you just want a hug!

"This has been something that I couldn’t hide in my Facebook live classes so I took a break thinking I would come back stronger.

"Unfortunately, that was not the case and I felt even worse.

"It would have been easy for me to stop the classes; I know my students would have understood this as they are all such a wonderful group but that option just didn’t feel right.

"Then I noticed it was Mental Health Awareness Week and I thought this was perfect timing!

"Instead of cancelling my classes, I decided to do a class a day to aid my mental wellbeing and to help support others out there who may also be feeling the same.

"The Justgiving page has reached over £1,000, which is just overwhelming, and, happily, my mood has also started to improve, which is wonderful too!"

Nicola has been providing her online classes for free but many of her students wanted to give a donation for her time.

The fundraiser has provided the opportunity to donate for those who can but for those who are facing financial challenges, they can still join in with classes.

"I've experienced anxiety and stress before but for some people, they might not have gone through this until now," Nicola said.

"Many people are struggling to pay the bills right now so I wanted to make sure my classes were free because I know yoga has been such a helpful tool for my mental wellbeing.

"But I know others wanted to give something so fundraising for SAMH is great because we know so many people will need them in these coming months.

"Lots of the group were really chuffed we were supporting them because they know lots of people who work in this area and the difference it makes.

" I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this cause along with me.

"I intend on closing this fundraiser at the end of the month to coincide with the end of mental health awareness month so the funds can then be put to good use in the community. Any further donations would be welcomed."

To support the fundraiser, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/loveyoganic

If anyone would like to join the group Nicola's yoga group find LoveYogaNic @ Home on Facebook.