Yoga practitioners find many benefits along the ‘journey’

Posted: May 14, 2012 at 3:11 am

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The burning Indian fragrance is an incense called nan champa, and the music that sets the mood is a mixture of Kundalini meditation music. The lights are low, and the moment Shannon Workman Lanier starts the class, all chatter becomes a sudden, focused quiet. Lanier has been practicing yoga for 10 years, but it wasnt until this past summer that she became a certified yoga instructor through YogaFit.

Lanier said whats important to remember about yoga is not to have any specific expectations, and to be open to whats new and different. Let go and honor your body.

While there are many forms of taught yoga, Lanier teaches a version called Hatha (ha in sanskrit means sun and tha means moon), which dates back to the 15th century and was founded by a sage in India as a way to intensify the meditation experience through stretching exercises. Hatha Yoga is the basis for other various yoga techniques taught today, said Lanier.

While Lanier guides her students through various poses from Childs Pose, which is a kneeling position on the floor to the several standing Warrior forms she instructs them on when and how to use their breathing techniques.

They say we take 5,000 breaths a day, said Lanier, And how many of those do we pay attention to?

What she also notes about yoga as compared to other exercises is that yoga is very adaptable to the individual participant. She keeps the routines flexible in case anyone is having specific issues with joints or muscles. For example, she said, shoulder expansions and forward folds will do well to stretch out kinks in the back, neck, or shoulders. Also, certain positions can be made to adapt to a persons experience and flexibility level, which is why, she points out, yoga can be accessible to all ages and body shapes.

One of Laniers students during a Wednesday class said she is able to use what she learns from yoga and apply it to horse riding and shows. Anne Demirjian, 46, a former registered nurse, has been practicing yoga for 2 years. She also does aerobics and weight training. She said it helps with balance and keeping flexible for riding, specifically down dog, which stretches out her heels. It also allows her to mentally focus and visualize what she needs to do.

It calms you, explains Demirjian, And, in turn, it calms the horses.

While Laniers classes consist mostly of women ranging in age from 30 to 60, a recent one at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center, which offers a yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, was made up of students in their early 20s. Of the eight who attended, three were men.

One session in early March at the DISC was run by T.J. Kuster, 22, a Millikin student from Warrensburg-Latham.

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Yoga practitioners find many benefits along the ‘journey’

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May 14th, 2012 at 3:11 am

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