Take a deep breath, it’s time for yoga | NevadaAppeal.com

Take a deep breath, it’s time for yoga

Abby Johnson

I’ve finally found a formal physical activity that I can do — breathing.

Breathing is one of the three elements of yoga, which I’ve started to learn at Sun Mountain Yoga in downtown Carson City.

The other two elements are stretching and concentrating.

It sounds easy, but it isn’t for this left-right-PE-challenged person. Here’s a typical move. “Sit cross-legged. Now reverse your legs. Breathe in, right hand to left knee, left hand behind and parallel to your left hip. Stretch right, breathe into the left ribs.”

Breathe into my ribs? At least it’s near my lungs, unlike “Breathe into your left knee.”

When I’m doing all that, there’s not much else to think about. Bringing awareness to the body gives the mind a mini-vacation even as the brain is trying to tell left from right.

The body gets a workout too because yoga promotes flexibility of limbs and joints. I’ve discovered muscles that have been dormant for decades. But after a day in the garden, I now can walk upright; before yoga, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to.

When you’re fully concentrating on breathing (not just any breath will do), holding the pose, balancing and remembering to breathe in the special way, there’s not much room for the grocery list or Yucca Mountain.

I also like yoga because it is egalitarian. Each of us can do something well and each of us cannot do things well. Who can do what is unpredictable and of infinite variety. My yoga abilities and disabilities surprise and amuse me at each class.

Sun Mountain Yoga is hidden away in downtown Carson City, in an alley off Fall Street just south of Thai Spice Kitchen and around the corner from Java Joe’s, steps from the capitol complex and city hall.

Co-owner Angela Wright does most of the teaching, although four teachers are affiliated with the center. Angela is a certified yoga instructor who taught for six years at Western Nevada Community College before launching this private venture with co-owner Kathy Randolph. Angela’s classes focus on breathing, alignment and balance. She also specializes in prenatal yoga.

Before each class she canvasses the students to check on aches and pains, areas of vulnerability and weakness, to ensure that the exercises help and do not hurt each of us.

Angela defines yoga this way: “Yoga is the practice of physical postures (asana), breathing techniques and meditation. The asana practice is perhaps the most perfect form of exercise because it cultivates cardiovascular health, muscular-skeletal strength and flexibility, turning every organ system in the body …. The breathing and meditation practices calm the mind, allowing the practitioner to remain present, relaxed and focused.”

It sounds intimidating, but I have found the atmosphere at Sun Mountain studio to be friendly and nonthreatening, even as a left-right-PE-challenged person.

Sun Mountain Yoga will hold an open house on April 26 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. Molly’s Gourmet Catering will provide the food. The public is welcome to tour the facility and meet the teachers who are making Sun Mountain Yoga a downtown destination for a growing number of us who are enjoying developing the mind-body-spirit connection in our hometown.

The yoga center offers classes six days a week; it is closed on Fridays. For a class schedule, call 775/888-YOGA or consult the website: http://www.sunmountainyoga.com

Abby Johnson consults on rural community development, public involvement, and nuclear waste issues. She is married, lives in Carson City, and has one middle school-aged child.