Marking its 10th anniversary, the Yoga Alliance of Red Deer (YARD) is gearing up for a month-long celebration which includes spreading the word about the benefits of the activity.
As organizers point out, YARD is unique in that it is a non-profit society which provides yoga classes, teacher training and workshops throughout the year.
Things got off to a comparatively smaller start 10 years ago when the studio offered 13 classes each week. Currently, 29 classes are offered weekly including Hatha, Ashtanga, Restorative, Kundalini, Yin, Vinyasa and Prenatal yoga.
Trish Campbell, the organization’s president, has been with YARD since its inception. It was started privately under the name of More Yoga by Jim Moreau in 2000, and there were about six instructors at the time.
A couple of years later, Moreau decided to move on, and the instructors and students rallied together to keep the doors open. As Campbell explained, they recognized the challenges of running a yoga business so they opted to create a non-profit organization. A board of directors was formed and YARD was launched.
To help mark 10 years of teaching, YARD is hosting a week of free open classes to let folks sample the various levels and styles and get to know the instructors. This special week runs from Sept. 9-14. Campbell said anyone can drop in – there is no need to register or call ahead.
Another way for the public to check out various aspects of yoga will be on Sept. 12 from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. during ‘Yoga with the Mayor in City Hall Park’. Mayor Morris Flewwelling will be participating in the session which will feature several kinds of yoga and a chance to meet volunteers with YARD as well.
“A number of teachers will be there monitoring and participating.”
On Sept. 22, YARD is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the studio. Highlights of the day include music, dance, food and of course yoga. A number of give-aways are planned as well – folks are encouraged to visit the web site for more details.
For those new to yoga, these events through September are an ideal chance to see what it’s all about, said Campbell. “There really is something for everybody. And it’s a very supportive environment. It’s not competitive; it’s not scary.”
Campbell emphasized that men are welcome to take part as well. It’s by no means restricted to women. “We have many men in our classes.”
Campbell said the organization also has an outreach program which includes teaching in local schools and partnering with Canadian Mental Health and the Remand Centre as well.
“I think people learn a lot about their own bodies through yoga, and they can find ways to deal with stress through the breathing, concentrating and being able to clear away the clutter of daily life.” The physical benefits are plentiful as well, from strengthening to building greater flexibility. Socially, a strong sense of a supportive community is created during sessions as well, she said.
“It’s a shared yet individual experience at the same time.”
For more information, check out www.reddeeryoga.ca.