Exercise, Stress Relief and Self-Awareness Are Among the Benefits of Gratitude Yoga
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away,
A sordid boon!”
That was what William Wordsworth had to say in 1806. Imagine what he might think today!
Because of a world “too much with us”, many people are enjoying the calm and tranquility available in an hour session of yoga. It has been increasing in popularity, with practitioners participating in a variety of different yoga styles. The desire for calm and quiet is often the initial attraction.
“I just wanted to find a quiet place for an hour, where the phone wouldn’t ring,” says a Princeton resident, who has additionally discovered the benefits of exercise and toning the practice of yoga also brings.
One of the newest yoga studios on the scene is Gratitude Yoga at 27 Witherspoon Street. Opened last January by certified instructor Gemma Farrell, it offers several types of yoga in an attractive spacious setting at the back of the Holsome Tea & Herbs location.
“People have come to see yoga as a means of exercise that is sustainable,” points out Ms. Farrell. “It combines strength and flexibility, and it emphasizes the core. This is very important.
“There is also a spiritual component. It is very calming and tranquil, and we help our students to be in the moment and to be aware of their body. I love the opportunity to connect on this level and help people develop compassion and understanding of themselves.”
Ms. Farrell focuses on Vinyasa yoga, which emphasizes flow, she explains. She also combines it with aspects of other types of yoga. “Our current approach fuses the alignment precepts of Iyengar with the freedom and creativity of a Vinyasa flow practice, and incorporates the deeper release stretching and meditation aspects of Yin yoga.
Iyengar, power, hot flow, and Baptiste yoga are all available at Gratitude Yoga. Classes include gentle to strenuous, and students of all levels, from beginners to advanced, participate.
“There are typically 30 in my classes, and they are men and women and all ages, from teens to people in their 80s,” reports Ms. Farrell. Classes are usually one hour and 15 to 20 minutes, and are offered in the morning and evening, although there are some afternoon classes, including the popular noon lunchtime 45-minute session.
“Some people come several times a week,” she adds,” and some even come every day. Others come on a weekly basis. It varies from person to person.”
Teachers establish their own hours, and the studio is open seven days.
“Payment is by donation, and people pay what they are able to afford,” she explains. “We have a box for the donations.”
A pre-natal yoga class is also available, as are classes in Pilates, Tai Chi, and martial arts.
Ms. Farrell has been very pleased and encouraged with the response to her studio in such a short time. She is motivated to share yoga’s benefits with as many people as possible. “One of the most important things is helping students to keep in touch with themselves. We are so accustomed to projecting outward. This is a way to look inward and to become more comfortable and compassionate with yourself. And gratitude is so important. Out of the spirit of gratitude, we cultivate compassion for others.
“It is in the spirit of gratitude that I want to share the benefits of yoga so more people can experience it. In yoga, people can practice human connection.”
In addition to the yoga classes, Ms. Farrell is offering the “Gratitude Cleanse, a 21-day program to cleanse your body, open your mind, and awaken your heart.”
The program, starting on June 1, is based on Ms. Farrell’s new book Gratitude Cleanse, which features daily instruction, nutritional information, yoga poses, spiritual reflections, and many raw vegan recipes. As she notes in the book’s introduction, “In addition to working with food to cleanse your body, you also may want to take these three weeks to incorporate other life-style habits that will promote well-being and a sense of inner peace.
“It is encouraging to know that we possess the potential for growth in many different directions. As you adopt some of the diet and life-style changes recommended in this cleanse, it may be helpful to recall the concept of seed potential. Recognizing and touching the positive seed within ourselves and others is the first step in promoting positive changes and in growing a compassionate, expansive, wise heart.”
For more information on the Gratitude Cleanse and Gratitude Yoga, call (732) 642-9721. Website: www.gratitudeyoga.org. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.