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Yoga offers mental, physical benefits

By: Chelsea Low, Telegraph Staff Writer
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FOLSOM CA - From Vinyasa to Bikram to Yin, it’s not a secret that Folsom has no shortage of yoga studios in the area. Some of the greatest benefits, however, are lesser known. Enter Cathy Connors of LEAP Yoga and Anne Marie Kramer of ZUDA Yoga, co-owners of two Folsom studios. “At ZUDA, we like to sweat,” Kramer said, referring to the type of yoga the two studios primarily teach, called Power Vinyasa. “You’re getting cardio because you’re sweating and moving. You’re also building strength. Instead of weight lifting, you’re lifting your body weight, so you’re getting the stretching and flexibility but you’re also building strength,” Connors said. And since it’s a workout, Connors said it can help get people into shape. “Yoga is my main physical activity,” Connors said. “You can get so many health benefits from practicing yoga. It’s a way to heal on all levels: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.” Kramer agreed. “If you have a daily physical yoga practice, you will see results in your body,” Kramer said. “In addition to losing weight and increasing strength, this practice helps alleviate depression. It gives you tools to rise above the stress in life.” Still, the owners said the thought of going to a yoga studio for the first time can be intimidating for some. “Let yourself be new,” Kramer suggested. “Everyone in the class started as a beginner. If you want some foundations before you dive in, ZUDA offers a ‘Beginners Series’ and ‘Yoga 101’ workshop.” LEAP has similar classes—Connors suggested their weekly “Yoga Flow 101” class, “Beginner’s Workshop” or a “Vinyasa Basics” class. “It’s intimidating to try something new as adults and we tend to be really critical of ourselves,” she said. “Our hope is that students can let go of that critical voice and feel supported and safe on their mat.” Connors said it is helpful to let the teacher know you are new, and always listen to your body by taking rest whenever you need it. “Yoga is the practice of being in tune with your body and trusting yourself. Back off when you need to and don’t force yourself into a pose that doesn’t feel right for your body,” Connors said. “You can make this practice whatever you want,” Kramer said. “You can adjust the poses however you need to make them accessible in your body.” Busy parents can make it work too with the variety of class options offered at both studios. “Over time, it becomes apparent how essential it is to take care of yourself so you can take better care of your children,” Kramer said. “The investment in time and effort leads to a parent who is calm, vibrant, present and happy at work and home.” ZUDA will soon be offering a “Kid’s Camp” session that occurs simultaneously with adult classes to accommodate these parents. Connors said LEAP also offers adult and kids classes at the same time. She said she found it difficult to fit in practice, so when she opened LEAP she was inspired to help other parents by offering both classes. “Your mind is free for an hour,” Connors said. “If you don’t nurture yourself, you won’t be available to the people around you. Self-care is not selfish; it’s the most important thing you can do for others.” Yoga also reaps holistic benefits. “If you want to know if your yoga is working, ask your friends. Are you more patient? Compassionate? Open? We like to think of yoga as transformation through self-observation. It is a moving meditation that asks you to observe your mind without any judgment about what you come across,” Kramer said. Connors also said it is more than just a physical practice. “It’s a way to connect with spirit, open your heart and grow a healthier relationship with yourself,” Connors said. “Growth can only occur in an environment of support and compassion. It is my hope that every student who walks into the studio feels a sense of belonging and acceptance.” “The basic premise of yoga is love and kindness,” she said. For more information on ZUDA at 220 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, call (916) 985-4428 or visit zudayoga.com. For more information on LEAP at 1725 Iron Point Road, Folsom, call (916) 608-5327 or visit leapyoga.net.