United Kingdom

Ex-rumba star Kristina Rihanoff is now teaching yoga on a windswept tennis court

Once she was to be found strutting her stuff amid the sequins and sparkle of Strictly Come Dancing.

Now, however, Kristina Rihanoff has sidestepped into a new career – teaching yoga on a slightly chilly tennis court in Northampton.

The Russian-born dancer, 43, has retrained and now runs a wellbeing centre with her husband, former England rugby international Ben Cohen, whom she met on Strictly.

Currently, however, yoga lessons have to take place outdoors to comply with the Government's Covid regulations.

Strictly Come Dancing's Kristina Rihanoff, 43, has sidestepped into a new career – teaching yoga

The Russian dancer and her husband, former England rugby international Ben Cohen, run the Soo yoga centre in Northampton

It's another challenge for Miss Rihanoff, who admits that she and her husband have had to work hard to prove to naysayers that their yoga project is more than just another celebrity fad.

'We invested everything we've ever had,' she told the Daily Mail. 

'We went into business for very serious reasons, we'd never refer to ourselves as celebs, like, 'Oh I'm going to do some wine business or cheese business just on the side for fun'. It wasn't like that for us.

'I've got qualifications in about ten different styles of yoga – post-natal, pregnancy, traditional... I didn't just think, 'Oh I'm going to do yoga now'. 

'I've practised for 20 years. I did my first yoga class back in Seattle in 2001. I've been a yoga devotee but I still wanted qualifications.'

She and her husband run the Soo Yoga centre in Northampton, with classes being held on the tennis court until they can reopen indoors on May 17.

The dancer, left her job on Strictly in 2015, holds yoga lessons outdoors to comply with the Government's Covid regulations

The pair, whom met on Strictly, launched the centre nine months before the pandemic forced the closure of their seven-studio yoga centre

Miss Rihanoff said that while it was true she has had to prove herself to critics: 'I wanted to almost prove it to myself that I can do it. When we opened, I don't think people thought it would be serious.

'I'm all about getting the next qualification. I love yoga so I knew I'd always go back to it. It helped me to build my body after pregnancy.'

Cohen, 42, left his wife Abby for Miss Rihanoff after they were paired together on Strictly in 2013.

The couple have a four-year-old daughter, Mila. 

Miss Rihanoff, who left her job on Strictly in 2015, is stepmother to Cohen's 13-year-old twin daughters.

They launched Soo Yoga in June 2019 – nine months before the pandemic forced the closure of their seven-studio yoga centre which also offers dance, meditation and pilates. Cohen teaches high intensity interval training, or HIIT.

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