Mrs. Mass.: Yoga Center of Lawrence helps students find peace

Yoga is the practice of connecting the mind and the body to achieve a state of spiritual tranquility. In fact, as I’ve learned from my yoga instructor, the term yoga is Sanskrit, and it means “to yoke.”

By focusing on breath during asanas — or yoga poses — students of yoga can quiet the mind and enter a state of peace. I’m a big advocate of yoga — in all of its health benefits and warm fuzzies — and so this week, I’d like to share with you my experience at the Yoga Center of Lawrence (YCL).

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Jessica Pauly/Special to the Journal-World

Find Yoga Center of Lawrence at 920 Massachusetts St., Suite No. 4, 830-YOGA, yogacenteroflawrence.org.

The Yoga Center of Lawrence specializes in Iyengar — a form of Hatha yoga — which focuses on body alignment (often with the use of props). It’s peaceful, focused and slightly challenging, too. What begins with quiet meditation turns into engaging strengthening and stretching poses, and finishes with a relaxing floor pose (called Savasana). Class always concludes by honoring the divine within; we say “Namaste.”

I’ve been attending classes at YCL on and off for about two years now, and it is easy to see the benefits! I feel much more centered and light, in both body and mind, after a 90-minute yoga class (that’s a typical session at YCL). This is, of course, with much thanks to the patient teachers.

YCL instructors demonstrate the pose beforehand and are quick to adjust students’ alignment when need be. In fact, after hearing from some of the regular YCL students, one of the most popular comments had to do with the personalized attention each student receives in class. This unique and highly beneficial aspect of YCL makes it especially appealing.

As for the class sessions, they span about 10 weeks, and drop-ins are always welcome. If you’re brand new to the practice of yoga, you may want to start with one of the Yoga Center’s free classes, which take place five times a year, between sessions. And if you’re especially reluctant, thinking, “yoga isn’t for me, I can hardly touch my toes,” well, you’re wrong!

Remember how I said Iyengar yoga utilizes props? Blankets, straps, blocks and even a rope wall (yeah, it’s pretty rad) come in handy and are used often to allow different body types to settle into a pose comfortably.

The Yoga Center of Lawrence makes it easy to love yoga. I think Ashly LoBurgio Basgall, who has been a YCL student for 12 years now, said it best when she explained, “The Yoga Center studio is well-managed, peaceful and welcoming; it is a wonderful resource for the Lawrence community.”

Namaste.

— Jessica Pauly, aka Mrs. Mass., gives her thoughts on shopping, urban living and what’s new in Lawrence in CheckOut weekly and on her blog, mrsmass.com.

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