BELOIT—Yoga instructor Kathy Larson wants to make it possible for everyone to have a chance to practice something that provides lifestyle and health benefits.
Larson started teaching yoga three years ago, but practiced before that for nearly two decades.
After two back surgeries left her unable to run regularly, she said she sought out yoga.
“Yoga is one of the practices of one of many for a healthy body—we have to look at this as a mosaic,” Larson said.
Larson says the most important thing about teaching yoga to her is making it more accessible for people of all backgrounds.
“Accessibility to me is the most important thing,” Larson said. “It’s about making sure that you aren’t afraid or intimidated when you first come in. I think yoga is about finding a place of safety for your body and calming for your mind and a place of connection for your spirit so that you have a personal experience.”
Larson is part of Spirit, Mind and Body studio that offers classes out of the Stateline Family YMCA in the Beloit Ironworks campus from five different instructors and around a dozen types of yoga classes.
“That’s what is great about the Y,” Larson said. “We are very diverse and the program is all about making it easier for people to interact with what we teach.”
Yoga is known to help reduce stress, anxiety and may lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength, along with helping reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Type of yoga offered at the Stateline Family YMCA:
Comasivo Yoga: This class includes an equal blend of warm ups, postures, breath technique, meditation, and deep relaxation that encourages students to completely embody their practice from head to toe with self-compassion.
Hatha Yoga: Each class focuses on a specific body part (legs, shoulders, core) or pose (hip openers,twists, inversions) and uses a variety of asanas (postures) to achieve a deeper understanding of that focus.
Gentle Yoga: This class is accessible for all and incorporates effective yoga postures, along with basic breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation.
Vinyasa Flow: Vinyasa links breath and movement promoting harmony of mind, body and spirit. This class focuses on dynamic sequences of flowing yoga postures.
Yin: Yin practice focuses on increasing flexibility, range of motion, strengthening the joints and decreasing deeply held physical tension with a focus on relaxing the muscles, in order to gain a deeper access to the joints and connective tissues.
Accessible Yoga: This beginning class is ideal for those that need a more adaptive and accessible approach to yoga or anyone that wants to find new ways to practice.
Intro to Yoga: This one-hour workshop covers everything you need to know before joining a yoga class.