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Yoga at Pennswood: A Focus on the Physical and Mental

Posted on November 2, 2017 in Community Highlight, Staff Profile

“It becomes part of your life,” says Pennswood Village resident, Bill Strong, about practicing yoga. “We are our own best doctors if we unveil ourselves to the opportunities we have here. It’s all a plus.”

Pennswood Village hosts four different types of yoga classes for residents to choose from including regular yoga, restorative yoga, chair yoga, and a combination of yoga, Pilates and tai chi (PiYoChi) in the swimming pool.

“When you finish your practice, you’re so relaxed,” says resident Jenny Hollingshead.

The regular yoga class is a mid-level class offered every week on Fridays, while the restorative yoga class is focused on gentle stretching, both on the floor and in chairs. Chair yoga is a yoga class that alters traditional yoga poses for those who wish to practice in a seated position, while in PiYoChi, participants are supported by the water.

“We’ve offered yoga classes for over 10 years,” says Becky Popik, Pennswood’s Fitness and Aquatics Manager, “but we’ve recently added restorative yoga and PiYoChi.”

Yoga classes are taught by Pennswood’s instructor Maria Wadley.

“Maria is extremely dedicated. At one time, she went to New York City for 3 months to earn additional certifications as a yoga teacher and to get more experience. She just gives her whole heart to it,” says Bill.

“Maria always reminds us to listen to our bodies,” says Pennswood resident, Carolmarie Gorka.

The Benefits of Yoga

No matter the class you choose, the benefits of yoga are immediately apparent, both physically and mentally. Yoga increases flexibility, improves joint health, promotes bone health, calms the mind, reduces blood pressure and anxiety, improves sleep, and much more.

“It can help people sleep more soundly, which is sometimes an issue as we age,” says Becky. Yoga is also beneficial for older adults because it is a low impact exercise that improves balance, and strengthens and tones without using any weights.

“You’re using muscles you typically don’t use,” says Bill, “and that enables you to maintain the health of your muscles.”

Yoga is beneficial for posture, too, because there is a focus on strengthening postural muscles. It also focuses on breathing. There is often a tendency for people to breathe shallow, while yoga shifts the focus onto being aware of breath. Yoga has even been known to have a regulatory effect on the hormonal system and to boost energy levels.

“It helps with coordination between your brain and your body,” says Carolmarie. “I apply these practices to my long walks, coordinating my steps with my breath.”

No matter your fitness level or goals, there’s a yoga opportunity for you at Pennswood Village. Carolmarie adds, “It’s not about trying to compete against anyone else. Compete against yourself and try to do better each time.”

For more information about health and wellness opportunities at Pennswood, please give us a call at 866-740-4977.