It offers an hour of calm and quiet. No phones, no tweets, no e-mails, no texts. It provides experiences focused on strengthening, stretching, movement, and breathing. It can be a memorable — even mystical and magical — mind and body adventure that is fulfilling in many ways.
Indeed, yoga, which continues to grow in popularity in the United States, is essential to many people today, an integral part of their life-style.
YogaStream, the new yoga studio at 44 Spring Street (in the rear of the Judy King Interiors building, with an entrance on North Tulane) offers Yoga Alliance-certified instruction with a focus on alignment, core strengthening, movement, and breathing.
Founder and owner Lara Heimann has more than 15 years experience teaching yoga in Princeton, as well as a master’s degree in physical therapy. She completed her 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification in 1999, and continued her yoga study in more advanced teacher trainings. Her great interest in anatomy and creative movement led her to develop her own style, YogaStream.
“YogaStream is an energizing, alignment-based and core-focused style of yoga that taps into your innate current of strength with each practice. Our classes incorporate a variety of playful exercises and inversions to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance,” explains Ms. Heimann. “Each practice starts with core work and inversions to ready the body for the flow. In the flow, a series of sequences are ultimately streamed together. It is basically vinyasa-style yoga combining movement and breath. It is based on creative sequences that make sense and flow. This fluidity sharpens your focus, empowers your body, and clears your mind.”
Yoga is both calming and energizing, she adds. “You feel more alert and awake when you leave, more connected. Yoga is a connection of mind and body, and gives us mental and physical strength.”
Ms. Heimann’s classes typically consist of five to 28 students. The attractive, sunny, light, and roomy space afford an opportunity for clients to practice without being crowded or cramped. Classes last an hour and 15 minutes, with a special lunch time “Expresso” class available for one hour.
Students are primarily women, but men enjoy yoga too, and a class just for guys, “Dude”, is provided Sunday morning.
Ms. Heimann offers 18 classes a week for different levels of ability and experience. Level 1/2 or “Smooth” is for students with some experience and can be challenging; Level 2/3 or “Move”, focuses on more arm balance and inversions; and Level 3 or “Groove”, is very challenging.
In February, Ms. Heimann will start a new class, “Source” for beginners, which will be available for five weeks.
“I teach to the highest potential of every student,” she notes. “People can do more than they realize. I also have students with particular conditions, such as tendinitis, arthritis, and back problems, etc. They can all benefit from yoga. Because of my experience as a physical therapist, I understand the muscles and how things work.
“Many of our students come three to five times a week,” she continues. “Once a week is better than nothing; twice a week is more toward maintenance; and three times a week is when the magic happens — when change occurs. People lose weight, get stronger, and have fewer injuries. Because of proper alignment, they have better balance. And alignment also helps you grow and improve. People can achieve different and more challenging postures.”
Because one is concentrating intently during a yoga class and is basically free from anxiety, it can help reduce stress, adds Ms. Heimann. “It gives students a sense of empowerment. Another thing, our classes have cardio and weight-bearing exercises. There is no better work-out than YogaStream.”
Classes are $20 each, and $15 for students and seniors. A mixed level community class at 6:15 p.m. on Mondays is donation-based, with all proceeds going to HomeFront. “Budget can be an issue, and we want to enable as many people as possible to come,” she explains.
Way of Life
Gift cards are also available, and are an excellent way to introduce people to the benefits of yoga.
A special open house will be held on Sunday, January 13, with refreshments and two complimentary classes, from 11 to 12:15 and 1 to 2:15.
Over the years, Ms. Heimann has had many students for whom the practice of yoga has become a way of life. “Practicing yoga with Lara has absolutely changed my life,” says a long-time student. “Sometimes I master things in the studio, but more often, I master things that I can take out of the studio and into my life.”
Adds another: “I’ve learned more in Lara’s 2-hour YogaStream workshop than I did in a full year of regular yoga classes.” And according to a third: “Lara’s compassion and love for teaching comes shining through in every class. In her class, I have never felt overweight, out of shape, slow, lazy, or ‘less than’; and after her class, I feel renewed and alive.”
And, as Ms. Heimann says, “What we have here is a real sense of community. There is a true bond. People often stay after the class to be together and talk. When they come to my class, students know they will have quality instruction, but also this sense of community. I look forward to building our yoga community and exposing more people to quality yoga.
“I am so passionate about it. It’s a life-style. You are more connected to things that matter. It’s transformative and life-changing. I am so lucky I get to do something I love!”
In addition to the regular yoga classes, YogaStream offers workshops, retreats and teacher training. (609) 947-5335. Check the website for hours and further information. www.yogastream.net.