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New Class: Yoga 4 Life ~ Functional Yoga

Shine-y Friends I want to make sure you know about a new class that will be happening on Tuesday mornings at Shine. Wendy is still teaching the 9:30 - 10:45 Mixed Level Class and I am taking over the Tuesday late morning class and am revamping it a bit. It is called "Yoga 4 Life." It's a class near and dear to my heart and that will combine my love of Yoga with my appreciation for the way the Functional Exercise effectively improves quality of life and movement. Please read more below about the inspiration of the class and how I hope it will help the students who will be able to participate.

Before I was a yoga teacher, I was a college athlete, springboard diving coach, and then a fitness trainer & group exercise teacher. I have never been a killer coach nor have a been just a cheer leader for my clients. I tend to find the middle path, or as Henry David Thoreau writes in his poem The Fisher's Boy "My life is like a stroll upon the beach, As near the ocean’s edge as I can go; My tardy steps its waves sometimes o’erreach, Sometimes I stay to let them overflow." My work as a "coach / trainer / teacher / mentor" has always been about helping people cultivate greater harmony and empowerment in their lives. While I love the artistry and exercise aspects of Asana practice, it has always been yoga's capacity to promote better health, heartier happiness, and clearer connections that has kept me a steady practitioner for close to 20 years now. While I love leading a fun and strong Asana class, I have come to realize that my specialty is helping a wide variety of people to appreciate their own unique life forms and make the most of what they have to work with and what they have to give to others.

Rather than me heading out in search of it all, much of my yoga path seems to have revealed itself to me. For awhile I straddled the fitness world and yoga culture feeling like they were two different philosophies and I often felt as though I was drawn in two distinct directions. Until.... Functional Fitness Traning found me on my path. Functional Fitness Training utilizes a more holistic approach to exercise in which emphasis is placed on balancing the body in a way that will improve physical fitness at the same time it encourages movements and activities that will improve the overall quality of life. There are many exercise activities (including some yoga practices) that have the potential to break the body down and wear it out rather than to build it up. The repetitive actions of many yoga postures can damage joint capsules and increase wear and tear through the spinal column. Alignment Yoga practices like Iyengar, Anusara, and styles that have been inspired by the original alignment yoga practices go a long way to promote a healthy balance of core stability and joint mobility but I have found that new developments in the field of exercise science go even further to help students take the benefits of yoga off the mat and into their daily lives.

The primary focus of "Yoga 4 Life" is to improve musculoskeletal health for all fitness levels. I am inspired by my own personal experience and by the many cutting edge teachers I've been privileged to learn from as I worked to overcome my own joint discomfort and back injuries. Even though I was working as an elite athlete, I had adopted movement patterns and habits that were causing injury and discomfort. While I was able to continue on and push through the discomfort, they were diminsihing the quality of my life and were prematurely damaging my joints and spine. This experience at an early age motivated me to be more aware and respectful of my body. Through Yoga I developed the sensitivity and wisdom that is necessary to move and act in a way that is harmonizing. I'm happy to share the fruits of my experiences with my students.

This class is perfect for anyone who recognizes the value of true self care. This class will help you improve joint balance, core stability, and healthy movement patterns which can improve your overall quality of well-being and can help to prevent repetitive motion injuries and joint degeneration. We will work in a methodical way to improve joint balance for greater body comfort and improved range of motion. We will work to improve core stability which in turn improves coordination, balance, and efficiency in all of your body movement patterns. Though this class will move at a mindful and moderate pace, students should be able to get up and down from the floor without assistance. "Yoga 4 Life" is offered specifically to help you take better care of your joints and to improve your movement patterns so that no matter what you hope to do in your life, you will feel better and will have an easier time doing it!

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