The class is made up of women of a certain age - although the occasional man does show up. It is a small group, perhaps six or seven regulars, and we are all just trying to stay limber and balanced.
We started out doing the poses in a chair, but now we have graduated to the mat. There is no competition, we laugh often, and breathe, breathe, breathe.
I am not one for group workouts, but I enjoy this class, rarely miss it, and have seen some healthful changes in all parts of my life. The instructor is calm and soft-spoken and I trust her.
So I was attracted to a small book on the library's New Book shelf: Yoga Sparks - 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute of Less. It is written by Carol Kurcoff, a yoga therapist at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Her book incorporates not only physical Sparks - simple poses that can be done anywhere from at your desk to in your car to standing at the kitchen sink - but spiritual and mental practices as well.
There are five main sections outlining practices that can be performed: Anywhere, Around the House, At Work, On the Go, and With Others.
Within each section are the Sparks that focus on four aspects of yoga practice: Posture (with helpful drawings), Breathing, Meditation, and Principles. So not only did I learn a few new stretching poses, but I also got tips on deep abdominal breathing to relieve stress, how to still my mind (I need a lot of work on that one!), and thoughts on the ethical and moral values in the yoga tradition.
I was delighted with this book. It reinforces some of the techniques that I have learned in the class and offers some new poses. The author is clear with her instructions and encouraging with her words so it is perfect whether you are a beginner or have been going to formal classes for some time. I have already added some of her practices to my own daily round.
No special clothing or yoga mat needed.