As the new year approaches and you are looking for new ways to keep fit, the Bonifas may have just the class for you: yoga. The Bonifas is offering one free Ashtanga yoga class for anyone who would like to try it — on Monday, Jan. 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
“People can come to this class and see what yoga is all about, and kind of get a feel for it,” Instructor Heather Bruss said.
Bruss has been practicing yoga for 20 years, and has owned her yoga business, Gemini Yoga by Heather, for nearly six years. According to Bruss, yoga provides a great way to strengthen and tone muscles along with increased flexibility.
In this class, students will learn how to synchronize breath with standing postures to increase the benefits of their workout.
“Ashtanga yoga is a series of postures, and helps with balance, stress and anxiety reduction, and also incorporates meditation,” Bruss said. “Using the same sequence each time, the practice becomes more meditative, and as you continue to come to class, improvements are easy to see. Therefore, you become more focused on your breath and more relaxed, which gives you power and energy, and you are able to hold poses longer.”
Bruss said students can take their time learning the poses and build up to doing more difficult poses.
“I had one elderly couple in their sixties or seventies, who, when they started taking my class, couldn’t do the poses, but after a month or two, they were doing all of the poses,” she smiled.
Heather noted that everyone is welcome to try her class, but added that it’s quite physical, so she works with beginners on doing the poses, and can modify them for her students if needed.
Bonifas Education Coordinator Irina Bruno said, “Heather has taught yoga classes at the Bonifas for six years, and is very talented, knowledgeable, and passionate about yoga.”
Studies by the National Institute of Health have proven the effectiveness of yoga for mental alertness, stress relief and increased immune system function.
Bruss doesn’t need studies to tell her how effective yoga is. She experiences the benefits of the practice in her daily life.
“I love it. It’s amazing what it’s done for me, both physically and mentally. It’s a great way to relieve anxiety and stress.”
Students taking the class should bring along their own yoga mat and block, but if someone does not have their own, there will be a limited number of yoga mats to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis.
After the free Jan. 8 class, the regular yoga classes are every Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (In 2017, the class was at 6 p.m.) The walk-in fee is $15 for any Monday class, or $27 for the month of Jan. 2018 — Jan. 15, 22, and 29 — for members or $36 for nonmembers. To register for the class, call the Bonifas at 786-3833. For more information on Heather Bruss’s yoga classes, visit geminiyogaby-heather.com.