Make Yoga a New Year’s Resolution

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If one of your New Year resolutions includes getting in shape, you might consider joining a yoga group. Yoga can provide mental and spiritual fitness through  breathing and meditation, and physical fitness with stretching and exercise.

Last fall, FENCE started free yoga, thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation. And FENCE is the perfect setting for a stress reducing exercise. The short drive to their center, through the quiet countryside of open fields and groves of trees, creates a calming prelude to the class.

The fireplace in the great room, although not lit, suggests warmth and coziness. The view of the woods and mountains from the large windows along one wall, offers escape from the oft-felt mayhem of everyday life.

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Rhonda Giles has been the teacher and class sizes can vary from a few to eight or ten men and women attendees.

“I focus on fitness in my classes and each week can vary. Some weeks we concentrate on Yin Yoga that holds one pose for an extended period of time. Another week the exercises might flow more from one pose to another. Yoga is like a ‘fountain of youth’ as it is good for the body and joints. Focus is on breathing, in and out through the nose into the belly. The deep breathing helps to clear the mind,” Rhonda says.

Attendees bring their own mats. They are most often barefoot, unless the room is cool, and then socks can be worn. Clothes are generally easy, stretchable fabrics, so there is no restriction to movement and stretching. Yoga focuses on full body flexibility and deep breathing.

The room is kept dark, setting the atmosphere, and soothing music is played during the exercise. Some exercises have specific names for the pose such as “table top,” “downward dog,” and “trees.” People are able to work at their own level, some being more agile and limber than others.

FENCE ended their classes in December with hopes of receiving a new grant in 2017. It’s suggested that interested parties call 828-859-9021 in the spring to inquire about classes restarting. •