DALLAS — It’s been over two decades since I practiced yoga.
So, I was a little nervous when I covered an informational yoga class at the pavilion at AppleTree Terrace at Newberry Estates on May 9.
I remembered the relaxed feeling I used to have after yoga class, but I am no longer 20-something. Could I still participate? Would I be able to keep up with the class? I did lose 15 pounds since last summer but would I be flexible enough for yoga?
And, just for kicks, let’s add the fact that a newspaper photographer was scheduled to be at this particular class.
I arrived at the pavilion and met up with a diverse group of 15 women who ranged in age.
Certified instructors Pam Stevens-Snyder and Lisa Galico greeted everyone.
They explained the purpose of the evening session was to gauge the interest of their idea to hold three six-week yoga sessions at the pavilion during the summer starting in June.
Tonight, there would be no downward dog poses, just information and demonstrations of poses included in the sessions.
Whew. I felt less stressed already.
“We want to bring yoga out to the community,” Stevens-Snyder said.
Stevens-Snyder wants to hold once a week beginner yoga classes tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. starting June 11 every Monday to July 16. She specializes in all levels of Gentle Flow, Anxiety-Reducing Flows, and Beginner Yoga.
Galico intends to hold Chair Yoga class planned for a once a week at 10 a.m. starting June 13 and held every Wednesday to July 18. She is focused on Chair Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa, Gentle Flows and Equine Yoga.
Galico also plans to hold a Morning Flow yoga class, a step up from a beginner class, at 8:30 a.m. starting June 13.
The pavilion provided a nature-infused backdrop for Wednesday’s class. Attendees sat in chairs and listened to the instructors explain what yoga is and what it is not.
Yoga is a sequence of physical movements, breathing and meditation to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response, to create a calming feeling, Stevens-Snyder said.
The ultimate goal of yoga is to find inner peace, Stevens-Snyder said.
“Yoga is about building a relationship with yourself,” she added.
The duo then aimed at dismissing many misconceptions about yoga, some of which crossed my mind as well.
”Some of the common fears are that you are not flexible enough or strong enough,” Galico said. “That is like saying you can’t learn French because you don’t know French.”
Yoga allows each individual to move at their own pace, Stevens-Snyder said, adding it does not matter if you can bend as far as the person sitting next to you for the same amount of time.
Many would-be practitioners feel they are too old, Galico said.
“You are never too old or too young to start,” Galico said. “My oldest student is in her 80s.”
Another common concern is a “fear of being judged,” Stevens-Snyder said.
“The teacher is not there to judge you, but to make you safe,” she said. “We are often our own worst critics.”
As if to prove that point, Galico guided the class through simple breathing and yoga chair exercises, which included slow head rolls, shoulder rolls, and back stretches.
I made a mental note that such exercises would be perfect for the office.
Stevens-Snyder had the group stand and get into the “Mountain Pose” or Tadasana, which requires you to stand and find your center of gravity. The pose is designed to help with posture and balance.
After the hands-on demonstrations, classmate Jess Morgan, a resident of Newberry Estates, hoped they would have regular yoga classes.
Morgan explained she just finished physical therapy for a degenerative disk and wanted to resume a yoga practice.
“I’ve done yoga before,” Morgan said. “I found it to be calming and did increase my flexibility. I did it for several months.”