No sympathy. And I’m not expecting it.
Part of my job in the beautiful Yamhill Valley is writing a blog about how beautiful it is here, and how there are so many fun things to do. Thus, part of my job requires me to walk, bike or drive around, eating terrific food and savoring delicious beverages. And then what? Why, I go home, sit on my sofa, rest my laptop on my coffee table and my feet on my dog and do one of the things I love best — write.
Hard row to hoe, right?
Don’t judge me. I get stressed out just like anybody else. Which is how I came to be dressed in comfy clothes at 4 on a Tuesday, attempting yoga with my girlfriend Jo.
Well, comfier clothes. I had to change from jeans to sweats. No dress code in the Discover Yamhill Valley Secret Bunker.
I’m a yoga newbie. My idea of flexibility is not making reservations for dinner. Since I wasn’t sure what I would make of it and didn’t want to make a time and money commitment, I dropped in on one of Yogis Studio‘s many donation-only community classes.
The studio offers classes in yoga, tai chi, qi gong and pilates, all “rooted in the eastern tradition of movement, meditation and relaxation,” owner Laura Pedroni told me. Classes blend strengthening and stretching, she said. The community class is “a pretty good sampling” of the various techniques.
“There’s a stereotype that yoga is just about relaxing,” Laura told me. But it can “get the heart rate up.” Some classes are more strenuous and incorporate work with balance balls and medicine balls — “things you’ve seen in the gym before,” Laura said.
That said, Laura decided to go deep into yoga because she loves the stress-free way it makes her feel. She regards a yoga session as a workout for mind as well as body. Yoga “unites body, breath, state of mind and emotion,” she said. “If you’re relaxed and balanced, you’re better equipped to go out and face the problems of the world.”
Whether your muscles feel relaxed or relaxed and strong, your decision-making skills will be improved. “Strength of mind creates strength of purpose,” Laura told me.
She knows what she’s talking about. She’s been practicing yoga for 22 years — 5 of those spent teaching in McMinnville. But just in case you doubt her certainty, she brought backup: It’s a 5,000-year-old tradition, she pointed out. A tradition anyone can participate in. “Everybody does it. Pro athletes do it,” she said. Thirty to 40 percent of her students are men, she told me.
Oh, really? Well, I’m no pro athlete, and I did all right. Indeed, any given yoga class can be done with any degree of intensity to fit body and mood. “Yoga here is different each day,” Laura said.
Kids can do it, too. In fact, when Yogis hosts its monthly kids’ night, parents can drop the kids off and go out to dinner.
How did McMinnville become home for Laura? The short answer is, it reminds her of Italy. She has family in Italy and lived there for a while. McMinnville’s food, wine, scenery and pace reminded her of her time there. “There’s a lot of parallels,” she said.
The yoga community here is growing, too, she said. She’s right. There are plenty of places to practice. Yogis is a good place to start. Excell Fitness in McMinnville and Newberg offers classes. If you’re in Newberg, there’s also First Street Yoga. Or just look around — yogis are everywhere.
While you’re doing your body and soul good, think of others, too. Besides the donation-based community classes, Yogis offers several classes that benefit Yamhill Community Action Partnership.
And you will do your body good. I made it through class without toppling over, which is kind of a big deal for me, and I spent the rest of the day feeling relaxed. Recommend!