Yoga and mindful movement are popular practices for people of all ages. If you’ve never tried it yourself, finding the right class can be a little daunting. Heather Haslem is a health coach and certified yoga instructor who teaches Mindful Movement classes at Renown Integrative Primary Care.
Could you tell us more about the health benefits of mindful movement and yoga?
Mindful movement is a complementary medical practice that can help strengthen your mind-body connection while focusing on positions and movements to help achieve your mobility goals. It can reduce stress and the physical effects stress can have on our bodies. Yoga in particular has health benefits that include increased strength and flexibility, better balance and coordination, improved reaction times, better lung function, heightened cardiovascular conditioning and weight loss.
At Renown, you teach this practice in an approachable way. Tell us more about this class.
Yes, we have a class called Mindful Movement and Chair Yoga. A certified yoga instructor and integrative medicine health coach lead this small class in an open, modern office space. When you think about yoga, you might imagine people bending into all sorts of shapes that no one should be able to do. However, chair yoga demonstrates just how accessible yoga is and allows you to practice yoga from the comfort of your chair.
Yoga is a great practice because it can be modified to suit anyone’s needs. We work with your body, not against it, which can be an effective way to improve your strength and flexibility.
The class is offered Mondays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. and the cost is $15 per class.
What advice do you have for someone who is new to yoga and interested in trying out the basics?
- Let go of your expectations of yoga. It’s not about touching your toes or stretching as far as you can. Yoga is highly personal, and it’s a process. If you feel at peace and pay attention to your breath, then you are practicing yoga.
- Look to your yoga instructor for guidance, and always ask questions when you have them.
- Enjoy it. If you aren’t enjoying your yoga practice, it’s more likely you won’t continue with it. There’s no better way to learn than by doing, so pick a frequency and style that work for you.
- Make sure you are staying safe to prevent injuries. Pay attention to your body’s vulnerable areas, such as knees, hips and spine, and if you feel any pain, make sure to adjust or come out of the pose. Talk to your care provider so you are aware of your physical limitations.