Yoga classes back

Carla Neu, who has been living in Hay River since last January, teaches weekly by-donation yoga classes.
– Angele Cano/NNSL photo

A new yoga instructor is filling a need for people who want to learn the art.

The desire for the westernized exercise of eastern origins was never more apparent than at a recent free one-and-a-half-hour yoga workshop at the Don Stewart Recreation Centre – 28 people were in attendance on Jan. 16.

Instructor Carla Neumann took participants through a series of flow postures during the class. She said she offered the workshop in response to a need she saw and repeated requests for her to teach a class in town.

Last year, two yoga teachers cycled through town and offered short workshops over one- or two-month periods. Yoga instructing is not usually a career that can pay the bills right away, so teachers could only offer short-term classes.

This is where Neumann saw a need that could be filled. She took a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training course in Inuvik in 2011. Once she became certified with the Yoga Alliance and the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association, she decided to enhance her own practice and then start teaching a weekly class in Hay River. Neumann moved to Hay River in Jan. 2012, and began offering a yoga class in November.

“When I first moved here and told people I was a (yoga) teacher, there was definitely a lot of interest,” she said. “People wanted to see yoga classes in the town and it seemed to be the way of things that classes were not all that consistent because of circumstances.”

So far classes are by donation and have been well-attended, by people from all backgrounds, body types and fitness levels. Neumann said the by-donation classes will continue until spring.

Hay Riverite Jackie Karp has gone to each class faithfully and practises the postures every day for several reasons.

“It’s been a bit life-changing for me,” she said. “I’ve taken it on board as more than just exercise. The very first time I practised it I felt different afterwards. I thought it might have just been in my head, but then I did it again and felt the same way. All the stress of the day was gone.”

Some people have responded to the classes extremely well, said Neumann. Karp particularly noticed an increase in her flexibility, some weight loss, and the ability to push herself. She’s also combined the exercise with regular meditation.

“It isn’t about how long you can hold the pose but more about taking it as far as your own body will allow – not trying to compete with the person next to you in a class” said Karp. “Each week I find I can twist a little better, or bend a little lower.”

Weekly by donation yoga classes will continue to be held at Aurora College on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.

– Angele Cano