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When you think about yoga, you might picture rows of perfectly flexible people in matching workout gear, effortless and not breaking a sweat. But in reality, yoga isn’t about the fancy clothes you wear or the body you’re in. Yoga is all about how you feel.
As I walked into my first yoga class at THRIVE Wellness, I was welcomed by warm smiles coming from people stretching out on their mats, preparing for the class to begin. I was comforted by the diversity of body types, race and genders exhibited in the class. As we began, it was apparent that every person was at a different stage in their yoga practice. Some had done it before, their poses practiced and careful. Others were unsure, relying on their neighbor’s examples for guidance. Still, there was no judgment.
As we moved from one pose to another, I could feel a mixture of strain and a sense of connection with my body. The environment was comfortable and accepting enough that I felt comfortable to taking breaks when my body became too tired. Cheryl, our yoga instructor who has been part of THRIVE Yoga for the past two years, was careful to take note of the skill level in the room and adjust the poses so that everyone felt challenged.
Finally settling into our last resting post, also known as savasana, Cheryl encouraged us to set an intention for our yoga practice. Whether you were feeling down or just needed an outlet to relax and get lost in your thoughts, she reminded us about the power of a positive outlook in connecting our mind and body to a peaceful state.
“For me, yoga has three components,” Cheryl explained. “It’s the asana, which is the movement. It’s the community, the people together, as you can see I always try to engage everyone. Then it’s the inquiry—some sort of thought-provoking message to leave people to think about. All three of those together is yoga.”
Finishing the practice, I felt a sense of connection with people who were previously strangers. My mind also felt refreshed. Working through the motions with a thoughtful message helped me think clearly. Throughout the rest of the day, I was grateful for taking the time out of my day to care for myself. I had more energy and carried a sense of accomplishment.
“You never regret practicing yoga. Whenever you go, you are happy that you went and feel better for it,” Cheryl concluded and I couldn’t agree more.
THRIVE Wellness hosts Yoga every Monday at 10:00 a.m. and Tuesday at 6 p.m. Evergreen’s THRIVE program is designed to help patients manage their health conditions by addressing emotional, nutritional, physical and social needs. All primary and specialty care patients are eligible to participate in THRIVE programs. Call us at 716-847-2441 and ask to speak with someone at THRIVE Wellness for more information.