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September 13, 2012

Celebrate National Yoga month in September

MICHELLE MILLER
STAFF WRITER

—   September is National Yoga Month.

  It is a national observance designated by the Department of Health and Human Services designed to build awareness of yoga’s proven health benefits and provide people with actionable guidance and tools to enhance their own well-being. According to the Yoga Health Foundation, which coordinates National Yoga Month September, this grassroots awareness campaign inspires both youths and adults to take responsibility for their well-being by focusing on prevention and healthy lifestyle choices.

Since 2008, Yoga Month has expanded into a nationally recognized awareness campaign and national observance, contributing tools to inspire health and harmony in life through yoga.

  Locally, former Cooperstown fitness instructor Lori Wrench will be starting her own classes. Wrench has been trained and certified by Sierra Bender in the Goddess to the Core Workout and the Sierra Bender Empowerment Method.

  Wrench said she has known Bender for eight years and has participated in her worships at the Kripalu Center and Omega Institute of Holistic Studies. Bender is certified as a prana yoga and Kripalu yoga teacher, Kripalu body worker, massage therapist, personal fitness trainer and energetic healer, according to Wrench. Wrench said Bender is also trained in exercise physiology, nutrition, aromatherapy, addictions and abuse, and has blended her knowledge and training to create the 4 Body Fit, a holistic fitness, health and healing program designed specifically for women.

  “The 4 Body fitness program has been my personal workout for the last two years,” she said. “After working with Sierra and her program, I wanted to share her message with women. I think there are many women who are interested in incorporating yoga into their lifestyle but don’t understand what it’s about, except as a form of exercise. That was my biggest stumbling block.”

  Wrench said her sister is a massage therapist and holistic practitioner and was always encouraging her to do yoga and acupuncture for her hip and lower back pain.

  “I have a mild scoliosis and all the years of running and pounding my body into the ground resulted in back problems that I couldn’t resolve and I don’t want to resort to medication for my muscle spasms. So when my sister and I attended Sierra’s weeklong program at the Omega Institute I began to understand what I was doing, why I was doing it and how it was affecting me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.”

  Wrench said she believes Bender’s philosophy is what makes her program unique because, as she explains it, in addition to a physical function, every organ, gland and system also holds an emotion. For example, Wrench said there are many poses and postures that work one’s liver.

  “On a physical level the liver is responsible for filtering and detoxifying the blood, but on an emotional level the liver holds anger, trauma and addictive behaviors,” Wrench said. “That’s why some women may cry or have an emotional response during yoga because according to Sierra you are changing cellular memory by releasing things that are no longer of service to you.”

  Once Wrench understood yoga wasn’t about trying to muscle one’s way through a pose, but about releasing, surrendering and going into the posture through breathing, she then was hooked, she said.

  The workouts provided by Wrench will include yoga, meditation, fitness and breathing exercises to challenge, heal, restore balance and harmony to all four bodies – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical, she said.

  “No matter what your fitness level, the 4 Body approach will help you experience strength and vulnerability, determination and receptivity self reliance and intimacy, action and rest,” she said.

  The workouts will be held on Thursdays form 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church chapel in Cooperstown beginning Sept. 27. The chapel is located behind the church office on Church Street.

  Classes will begin at Fit to Be Tied Yoga, located on the third floor of the Key Bank, on Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. beginning on Oct. 1.

  The cost is $5 per class, with 20 percent of the fees donated to the Girls on the Run. No prior yoga experience is needed. Wrench said she does have a few extra mats and weights, but encourages participants to bring their own.

  Wrench said private classes are also available for small groups, organizations, or “yoga parties.”   For more information call Wrench at (315) 858-2597 or email her at lcwrench@gmail.com.

   This year, the Yoga Health Foundation, the nonprofit organization coordinating Yoga Month, plans to offer an unprecedented number of one week free yoga passes. New students can get One Week Free Yoga, which can be redeemed at one of the 1,800 plus participating yoga studios in September and October, according to the organization’s website.

  Here is how it works: Start by selecting from participating yoga studio, print out a Yoga Month Card that will include the participant’s name and the studio contact information and Yoga Month special offers and then go to the selected studio to redeem the card and enjoy a free week of yoga. This Yoga Month Card coupon can be redeemed only once at participating studios from September 1 until October 30. Visit www.yogamonth.org to find a participating studio.

  Experience is a powerful teacher, and that is why people across the country are being given the opportunity to try yoga for free, said Yoga Health Foundation founder Johannes R. Fisslinger in a media release.

  Wrench said she will not be participating in the Yoga Month promotion since classes are just getting started at the end of the month.

  Another way the Yoga Health Foundation is trying to promote healthy lifestyles is through its Yoga-Recess national campaign that aims to bring yoga into classrooms. According to a media release, the foundation is providing free online resources like instructional videos and lesson plans that will make it easy and fun for school teachers to integrate yoga into their teaching schedule. The national campaign will peak with Yoga-Recess Day on Friday January 25.

  “Since we started Yoga-Recess two years ago more than 10,000 school teachers expressed interest in bringing yoga into their classroom. With the new Yoga-Recess in School campaign we encourage school teachers to integrate breathing, stretching and other short yoga exercises into their daily class schedule.” Fisslinger said in the release.

  The media release states: “According to the University of Indiana’s Sound Medicine, children who practice yoga, often experience healthier sleep patterns, which allow them to relax more than children who don’t practice yoga. A study conducted by the Journal of Attention Disorders found that ADHD children who practice yoga are much more likely to remain focused and are less hyperactive, which in turned reduced the amount of emotional outbursts and their oppositional behavior. A Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study showed that people who regularly practice yoga have fewer chances of gaining weight and are more likely to lose weight. Additionally, yoga allows asthmatic children to maintain a healthy lifestyle without fear of a high-intensity exercise induced asthma attack.”

  For more information, visit http://yogahealthfoundation.org/yoga_recess.

  The Yoga Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters an awareness of yoga’s health benefits and provides individuals with actionable guidance and tools to enhance their own well-being.